This one- was not funny, to me. I know a lot of it is sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek or exaggerated, but it was often either so bizarre, distasteful or just plain weird I didn\’t find it amusing. The short fiction essays in between longer chapters that were from different viewpoints really threw me off at first. Until I went back to the beginning and read the author\’s note. I got it, but I didn\’t laugh. More like cringed. The parts about living in France and the UK as an American, that was interesting. And those of his childhood, how it was a different era- stricter in some ways, and more lenient in others- and the difficult relationship he had with his father (especially when his dad constantly admired another kid on the swim team, causing streaks of jealousy and resentment that were not at all understood). Reading how he caught small wild animals and kept them as pets- particularly the sea turtles- was distressing. Of course it wasn\’t illegal back then, but the lack of concern when the animals clearly weren\’t doing well . . . Reading how as a teen he wanted to have a black girlfriend apparently just to shock people- made me uncomfortable. His views on politics, health care and the discomforts of air travel- well I share some of those but it felt tiresome. I did like the part where he fed a kookaburra outside a restaurant in Australia- fascinating tidbit. The owl story is one of those weird ones- so strange it must be true, how could you make that up. He was trying to find an owl as a gift for his boyfriend, and the taxidermist showed him some preserved human parts. Creepy. There\’s nothing to do with diabetes btw. I guess he thought the title would grab attention, and it surely did. Even though he makes the sedative effects sound blissful, his description of having a colonoscopy doesn\’t really make me look forward to ever having one myself. I\’m glad he picked up trash along the road around his cottage in West Sussex, but I\’m not sure the essay about it was so interesting. Overall this book is quirky, it definitely catches your interest- how strange and icky and plain senseless life can be- but just not terribly funny, which is what I was kinda expecting from the last Sedaris I read.
I heard an interview with him on NPR about this book, and I had the same reaction you did. It didn't seem funny at all — the opposite. When I had to go have my colonoscopy, I read everything about it online, including his essay. That just reinforced that his writing style really doesn't work for me.
Yeah. I wonder if his humor works better in a different format- I could picture these stories coming across on a stage as stand-up comedy- but then I also picture myself just staring at the screen, not at all laughing- as often happens.