Monday, December 13, 2010

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
Little, Brown & Company, September 2010
Hardcover, 159 pages
ISBN-13: 9780316038393
very highly recommended

From the Publisher
Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.
In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.
My Thoughts:

The very first fact you need to understand is that Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris is NOT a children's book. Forget the cute illustration on the cover. While, admittedly, the book does feature short allegorical fables told by animals, be forewarned that the subject matter and lessons here are very much adult in nature. Also note that you wouldn't want children to see several of the illustarations.

The topics covered in the stories include some harsh realities (and language), including a toad, turtle, and duck in line at some bureaucratic agency, a dying lab rat, a cat attending AA meetings in prison, a dog discussing cheating spouses, and a mouse with a pet snake. These stories feature dark satire as the animals in the stories display universal human foibles. As Christopher Muther in the Boston Globe said, Sedaris is "a connoisseur of human nature at its worst."

Table of Contents:
The Cat and the Baboon
The Migrating Warblers
The Squirrel and the Chipmunk
The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck
The Motherless Bear
The Mouse and the Snake
The Parenting Storks
The Faithful Setter
The Crow and the Lamb
The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat
The Cow and the Turkey
The Vigilant Rabbit
The Judicious Brown Chicken
The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig
Hello Kitty
The Grieving Owl

Sedaris' black humor may not be for everyone. This collection is Aesop's Fables for grown-ups.
Very Highly Recommended

Thanks to Hachette books for sending me this won-in-a-give-away copy.


Friends had warned them that their romance could not possibly work out, and such moments convinced them that the skeptics were not just wrong but jealous. pg. 16

"This is my second time in this line, can you believe it?" groused the duck. "First they told me I wouldn't need any ID, then, after I waited almost three hours, this ball-busting river rat goes, 'I'm sorry, sir, but if you don't have some form of identification, there's nothing I can do.' " pg. 24

Plenty of animals had pets, but few were more devoted than the mouse, who owned a baby corn snake - "A rescue snake," she'd be quick to inform you. pg. 41

The stork flew off, and her sister, shaken, watched her go. They'd both had the same parents and had both left the nest at roughly the same time. They lived in the same town and drank the same water, so how was it that she herself had turned out to be so smart, while her poor sister was so confused? pg. 54

On top of that, birds had to be homeschooled, not like sheep or cows, who learned junk from one another. pg. 75

A she-rat I had as a roomie
said illness just strikes if you're gloomy.
Since she was injected
with AIDS, I've detected
an outlook a lot less perfumy. pg. 89

It was the stupidest thing the cat had ever heard of, an AA program in prison. pg. 131


Jeanne said...

I loved this--Sedaris' usual sardonic sense of humor really works with animals.

Lori L said...

I loved this too, Jeanne, and was thrilled to win a copy. It's probably a good time to reread some of Sedaris's holiday stories too.