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OK – This is really a book of short stories.
What’s it about? - The first half of the book is David’s account of his experiences working as a Christmas Elf in Macy’s Department Store, in New York. The second half is a handful of short stories that all have some link to Christmas.
What can you say about the story telling? – I have to say I was disappointed. Usually I have huge admiration for David Sedaris, who I love listening to on Radio 4. So I went back to read his first book expecting a treat. Although it made me smile, and it was quite clever, the paradox of a grown up in a Christmas world, and the sarcasm and irony of the different customers queuing to see Santa, I didn’t really find it funny. I kept waiting for something to happen in the story, but it never did.
I don’t like short stories myself, and when I realised this was the case I nearly didn’t finish the book. In fairness the stories are unique, and the writing is consistent. But none of it particularly enthralled me.
What did you think of the characterisation? – David is himself throughout, which I love as he is witty and has an amusing outlook on most things. He often writes about his family and you do get a colourful impression of the young Sedaris household. Some of the other characters in the book are very distinctive and believable but I didn’t warm to them. One of the stories involves the murder of a baby, which I was really not expecting.
What was good about reading this book? – I thought we might read it at my Book Club in the run up to Christmas, as a Christmas read. Yes, it was a Christmas read, but not one to get you in the Christmas spirit! Having read this book I feel amazed that David Sedaris has been on such a journey as his more recent work has been outstandingly funny.
What didn’t you like? – I felt disappointed reading the book as I do really admire and applaud David Sedaris, but I really felt this wasn’t his best work.
How did reading the book make you feel? – The book is supposed to be funny, but I didn’t find it was. I’m not a Christmas person so maybe it was me! The short stories centred on a sex worker, a child murder and an believable tale of two neighbours constantly striving to have bigger and better than each other, to the point of ridicule. Not terribly uplifting in relation to Christmas time. I felt sad and rather disgusted by the human race, reading it.
Would you recommend this book? – Sorry David – but No! Someone wrote on Amazon, “Was the guy stoned? Gruesome, cynical and over the top...” I couldn’t have put it better myself!
How many Daisies for overall readability and enjoyment?