Saturday, July 30, 2011

Naked, by David Sedaris


Another excellent book by Sedaris, though I am still troubled by the undercurrent of contempt and condescension in his writing. The book is somewhat self-effacing, in that he is fairly frank about his ridiculous sense of his own importance, at least in his youth. But the ridicule of others is so pervasive throughout the book that it is sometimes difficult to tell if he's really left the stage of sneering behind. This book delves a little deeper into Sedaris's own troubled past--particularly his obsessive compulsive tendencies--which certainly paints a more complete (and sympathetic) picture of the author. But he writes about others, even his family and his partner, with such a lack of affection that he ends up seeming like a complete narcissist. Which I suppose is a requirement if you're going to write your own memoirs and your name isn't Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. But still. I think I would really love Sedaris if he seemed to actually care about others--any others. Bragg and Lamott and Reichl all seem to really care about and enjoy and appreciate so many of the characters they write about. Sedaris's sarcasm and wit, though amusing, end up robbing his writing of the emotional resonance readers crave.

No comments: