~ A Capsule Book Review by Allen Kopp ~
David Sedaris (born 1956) is a well-known American humor writer. He has written a dozen or so books of “essays,” which in reality are first-person short stories that he writes about his own life and experiences, his large family, and his “long-time companion,” a “handsome” man named Hugh. (Yes, David is gay, but he’s more a writer “who happens to be gay” than a “gay writer.”)
I first became of fan of David Sedaris’s books back in the nineties and even, at one time, spent over an hour standing in line at a book-signing in St. Louis to get him to autograph my copy of his book—copies of two of his books, in fact, both of which I still have. In David’s own pointed brand of humor, he admits that he does so many book-readings and book-signings all over the world because he makes money from them—enough money, I would imagine, to sustain an opulent lifestyle. More power to him.
David Sedaris comes from a family that provides much of the material for his writing. He had four sisters (one of whom committed suicide) and one brother, who is five feet two and sounds like a lady on the phone. David also, he admits, is taken for a woman on the phone and is frequently called “ma’am.” David’s mother died of cancer of age sixty-two; his father, at the writing of Calypso, was still living and in his nineties.
Among the topics David Sedaris writes about in Calypso are:
- His family’s vacation home at Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
- A large snapping turtle with a tumor on his head.
- A wild fox near his home in rural England that he bonds with.
- Buying unusual clothes in Tokyo, including culottes for men.
- Having an abdominal tumor removed by a stranger after one of his book-signings.
- Having a stomach virus.
- Being on a plane with a fellow passenger who craps his pants.
- Flying in first-class with an obnoxious woman with a loud voice.
David Sedaris’s books are breezy reading and entertaining. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t read every new one that comes out. They’re not for everybody, of course, which might be said about anything. I wouldn’t, for example, recommend his books to a person who has no sense of humor and is unable to laugh at the absurdity of life.
My one complaint about Calypso is when the author discusses politics and certain political figures. He stands to offend a large segment of the reading public who doesn’t agree with him politically. Not everybody is of the same political stripe. And besides which, I hate politics. The best politics is no politics.
Copyright © 2022 by Allen Kopp