Sunday, January 23, 2011

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

(Trigger Warning: Violence between animals)

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris: In a big departure from his normal taken-from-life short stories, Sedaris’s Bestiary features tales of anthropomorphic animals satirizing the most annoying of human behaviors. A chicken tries to figure out the right way to behave in order to never die. An Irish setter wonders what it means to be loyal to his wife. An owl helps a lubricated gerbil into the anus of a hippopotamus to convince some singing leeches to move out. (You may have to just read the book to understand that one.)

Overall Quality: Sedaris is a fantastic author, but I’ll admit this isn’t my favorite by him. I cracked up at a lot of the stories, but a few of them are just too gruesome for my taste. (As in, more than one story involves eyes getting bitten out.) If you have a slightly more twisted sense of humor than I do, and a much higher tolerance for violent imagery, you will absolutely love this book.

Bus Readability: Short stories make for perfect bus reading, since you can often finish a whole story on one ride. You might get strange looks from your neighbors though, if they see some of the illustrations. (Like the mink who sold his skin for booze talking at the AA meeting.) The book is quite small, so it’s easy to read one-handed and tuck into a purse when you disembark.

Cocktail Party Conversation Starter: You could always tell the limerick about the rat with AIDS… Actually, that would be a bad idea.

TL;DR: Great for the bus, if you don’t mind a little cruelty to animals.

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