Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris

explore diabetes sedarisIt is no happy work to break the hearts of tens, but I can do nothing less than my duty. So here it is: David Sedaris is not funny. He is not clever, observant, witty, pithy, or trenchant. He is not deadpan or droll.

What he is, is not funny.

I do not argue that he has never been funny or that he may never be funny in some theoretical future. I argue that he is specifically, painfully not funny in Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, his latest book of “essays, etc.” (and it’s that “etc.” that should warn you off like a double-red pennant at the yacht basin).

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls has all the penetrating insight of your slightly tipsy Uncle Irv doing his Jerry Seinfeld impression (“So what is the deal with corn on the cob, anyway? I mean, c’mon!”).

Come to think of it, even Jerry Seinfeld would be bored by Sedaris’s hollow riffs on the absurdities of modern life, and that’s a man who would probably claim to find gently ironic humor in a suicide bombing.

A few of the treats in Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls:

  • China. The food isn’t anything at all like what you’re used to from the food court at the mall, plus the Chinese have an entirely different take on personal hygiene, if you know what I mean. Also: did you know they eat cats?
  • Parodies of the illogical beliefs of conservative Christians. A quickie to bulk up the manuscript. Actually two quickies, if we’re counting. I could have done these as fill-in-the-blanks, but it’s my barrel and my fish and I’m shooting them. Get your own book contract.
  • Colonoscopies. Isn’t it weird that they knock you out and stick things in your ass? Some people go to jail for that. There’s an irony for you! Ha ha! Plus a lot of stuff about flatulence—a guaranteed crowd-pleaser if ever my agent saw one.
  • British bureaucracy. Six months to get a stamp on your passport. Is that crazy or what?
  • Online language courses. How come they teach you things like “The hat of my aunt is on the table” and never anything useful? I’ll bet no one’s ever mentioned that to you before, have they? Have they? Huh? Huh? Well, have they?

When I checked this book out from the library, the librarian tapped the cover with her fingernail and said, “This book is so funny. You’re going to love it.”

It isn’t, and I didn’t. This book is David Sedaris getting a hernia in the desperate attempt to be funny, failing pathetically, and still expecting people to send him on book tours and pay his publisher $27 American per hardcover copy.

No wonder our public libraries are going to hell.


Posted on 7 July 2013, in Book Reviews & Literaria and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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