The American humorist, author, and radio contributor shares his most memorable work in a collection of stories and essays that feature him shopping for rare taxidermy, hitchhiking with a quadriplegic, and hand-feeding a carnivorous bird.
This is the best thing Sedaris has ever written ... No point planning a heist; Sedaris has opened the vault himself. The genius of The Best of Me is that it reveals the growth of a writer, a sense of how his outlook has changed and where he finds humor ... It is miraculous to read these pieces placed close together, the earliest written without any knowledge of where things would lead, the last guffawing at the ridiculousness of where they did ... You must read The Best of Me. It will be a new experience, knowing that enough time has passed to find humor in the hardest parts of life. More than ever — we’re allowed to laugh.
OK, so technically, there’s nothing new here. But The Best of Me is an excellent introduction to Sedaris’ work if, somehow, you’re not among the millions who have made him a mainstay on bestseller lists and flocked to his ticketed readings. Even if you’ve read or listened to every word he’s ever written, it’s a terrific highlights reel and a chance to view the arc of Sedaris’ development as a writer over 25 years ... In general, he’s moved from the often outrageous, escalating rants of unhinged characters, in which he takes an off-the-wall idea and runs with it, to more deeply personal material ... a well-earned victory lap.
He’s hilarious and poignant at the same time, honest and ridiculous ... As a fan, it is fun to have a chance to survey Sedaris’ writerly tics ... The dead women in Mr. Sedaris’ life, his alcoholic mother who died of cancer and his younger sister Tiffany who committed suicide, are the subject of his most powerful pieces ... In what is supposed to be a humorous critique of a kids school performance ('Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol') he criticizes the casting of a young Black boy saying, 'It’s a distracting move, wrongheaded and pointless.' Likewise, Mr. Sedaris’ mockery of those from more impoverished backgrounds than his own in 'The Understudy' and 'The Girl Next Door' just felt cruel, especially coupled with this insensitive piece on television about how customers should be able to fire customer service workers. For David Sedaris fans, this may not be his best, but it is still funny. Readers will have to decide if that is enough reason to purchase the text or if they should just stick with the audio versions—from the library.