Saturday, March 3, 2012

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

From Goodreads: In David Sedaris's world no one is safe and no cow is sacred. A manic cross between Mark Leyner, Fran Liebowitz, and the National Enquirer, Sedaris's collection of stories and essays is a rollicking tour through the national Zeitgeist: a do-it-yourself suburban dad saves money by performing home surgery; a man who is loved too much flees the heavyweight champion of the world; a bitter Santa abuses the elves; a teenage suicide tries to incite a lynch mob at her funeral.

My least favorite David Sedaris book - that was unexpected! I thought Barrel Fever would be just as much of a fun romp as all his other books I have read (and loved!) but it just wasn't. I had to push myself not to lose focus in order to finish some of the beginning stories, flipping forward to see how much longer it would go on. How did this happen? Well, this is (from what I can figure looking online) his earliest book and it has a different feel from his later books in that the bulk of the book is stories that aren't autobiographical but are complete fantasy - that made them hard for me to follow - Who's talking? What's real? What's made up? And it felt like he was trying too hard to be funny and edgy instead of the natural storyteller ease his later works have. Everything changes with the last quarter of the book with the title story "Barrel Fever", and then (YES!) four essays "Diary of a Smoker", "Giantess", "The Curly Kind" and "The Santaland Diaries" - those five made it worth plowing through the rest of it. So now I know - I like David Sedaris' essays, I don't like David Sedaris' stories.

I am trying to reach 100 books this year - I've never done it before although I have come very close, click on the logo to see how I am doing for this year!

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Oh no! I think I bought this one a few years ago. :\