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Review: Calypso by David Sedaris

Title: Calypso
Author: David Sedaris
Year Published: 2018

Genre: Adult non-fiction (personal essays/stories)
Pages: 259
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (NC)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. 

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny--it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris's powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet--and it just might be his very best.

Review: I have enjoyed Sedaris' books in the past and when I saw him in person years ago so didn't hesitate when this was one of the books on offer from Book Of the Month.

I am not normally a huge short story reader, but Sedaris's vignettes about his family and his life are entertaining. Even when the topic is devastating, like the one about his sister Tiffany's suicide, there is a level of humor and sarcasm that keeps the reader going. And when the story isn't sad, it can be downright funny.

My favorite story in this book is "Your English is So Good," which is about phrases that we all use. He keeps a list and writes this chapter on the phrases, when he hears them and what they say about people.

I also really enjoyed I am Standing Up (a story most of us can relate to about dealing with gastrointestinal issues) and A Number of Reasons I've Been Depressed Lately, which is all about the 2016 election.

I also like that we get to know his family through the chapters as he reveals bits about each of them as we move through the book. His insights into people's behavior are fun.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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