Naked

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Press:Hachette Audio Grand Central Publishing; Abridged edition (October 1, 2001)
Publication Date:2001-10-01
ISBN:9781586212230
Author Name:David Sedaris
Language:English

Content

In Naked, David Sedaris's message alternately rendered in Fakespeare, Italian, Spanish, and pidgin Greek is the same: pay attention to me. 
Whether he's taking to the road with a thieving quadriplegic, sorting out the fancy from the extra-fancy in a bleak fruit-packing factory, or celebrating Christmas in the company of a recently paroled prostitute, this collection of memoirs creates a wickedly incisive portrait of an all-too-familiar world.
It takes Sedaris from his humiliating bout with obsessive behavior in A Plague of Tics to the title story, where he is finally forced to face his naked self in the mirrored sunglasses of a lunatic.
At this soulful and moving moment, he picks potato chip crumbs from his pubic hair and wonders what it all means.
This remarkable journey into his own life follows a path of self-effacement and a lifelong search for identity, leaving him both under suspicion and overdressed.

From Library Journal

Sedaris (Barrel Fever, LJ 5/1/94) has fashioned a funny memoir of his wonderfully offbeat life. 
To call his family "dysfunctional" would be enormous understatement and beside the point; Sedaris's relatives and other companions become vital characters on the page.
We see his mother serving drinks to the string of teachers who want to discuss her son's compulsions to lick light switches and make high-pitched noises.
We travel with Sedaris and his quadriplegic hitchhiking companion, listen to his foul-mouthed seat mate on a long bus trip, and accompany the author on a hilariously self-conscious visit to a nudist colony.
Sedaris's humor is wickedly irreverent but not mean.
Traveling with him is well worth it for the laughs and his generous human sensibility.
Highly recommended.?Mary Paumier Jones, Rochester P.L., N.Y.Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Readers familiar with Sedaris' hilarious National Public Radio commentaries will hear his distinctive radio voice in their minds as they read his newest collection of wicked autobiographical writings, but few if any of these unnervingly frank, cynical, and explicit tales are suitable for the airwaves--and therein lies their power. 
As Sedaris chronicles the low points of his life, from his suffering as a boy from debilitatingly compulsive behavior (licking light switches, counting steps) to his earliest, terrifying intimations of his homosexuality, to some near-death hitchhiking experiences, he goes further than he's ever gone before, leaving his readers breathless with laughter and wide-eyed with wonder at his daring both out in the world and on the page.
A self-described "smart-ass," Sedaris is a gifted satirist with an uncanny knack for re-creating dialogue and revealing fantasies.
And his targets are always worthy: people of wretched insensitivity and prejudice, be it sexual or racial.
Brutally honest and brilliantly eloquent, Sedaris is positively tonic.
Donna Seaman

From Kirkus Reviews

In this collection of essays, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris tops his anarchically hilarious miscellany Barrel Fever (1994) by inventing a new genre: autobiography as fun-house mirror. 
From the first sentence (``I'm thinking of asking the servants to wax my change before placing it in the Chinese tank I keep on my dresser''), Naked pretty well clobbers the reader into dizzy submission.
Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., Sedaris had disruptive nervous tics that only disappeared once he took up smoking, which, ``despite its health risks, is much more socially acceptable than crying out in tiny voices.'' The author volunteered at a mental hospital and spoke solely in Shakespearean English for a spell.
One Christmas his sister brought home a coworker who moonlighted as a prostitute: ``From this moment on, the phrase `ho, ho, ho' would take on a whole different meaning.'' Sedaris's best humor is generally rooted in misery: At college he befriended ``a fun girl with a degenerative nerve disease'' and confined to a wheelchir, with whom he successfully shoplifted (no one stopped them) and hitchhiked (everyone stopped for them); he astutely illuminates the weird mixture of altruism and vanity that motivated him to become his friend's caretaker.
Sedaris's extensive r‚sum‚ of hitchhiking trips and dire jobs has provided him with an absurd array of distressing incidental characters, like the belligerent, legless Jesus freak for whom he worked making jade clocks in the shape of Oregon.
The author's wisecracking mother emerges as a full-blown comic heroine, and the essay discussing the months before her death achieves a brilliant synthesis of solemnity and humor.
Only at the end, when describing a visit to a downscale nudist camp, does Sedaris disappoint, as he seems to have gone on the jaunt solely to acquire filler material.
Sedaris applies the same deadpan fastidiousness to his life that Charlie Chaplin applied to his shoe in The Gold Rush--this is splendid stuff.
-- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

Review

I recently made the mistake of reading David Sedaris while I was eating lunch. 
Fortunately, I was alone in my office, so there were no witnesses when I spewed a mouthful of pastrami across my desk.
Not one of the 17 autobiographical essays in this new collection failed to make me crack up; frequently I was helpless.
-- The New York Times Book Review, Craig Seligman

About the Author

"David Sedaris is the author of the books Barrel Fever, Naked, and Holidays on Ice and is a regular contributor to Public Radio International's "This American Life."

From AudioFile

David and Amy Sedaris romp through the former's jocular essays of personal humiliation and quotidian folly. 
David, bestselling author of Barrel Fever, has a high-pitched, pimply, woebegone delivery, befitting the tone and subject matter of his reminiscences.
He's a better raconteur than writer.
Indeed, the readers' mischievousness adds considerable enjoyment to a mildly amusing text derived from and better done by others (for example, Jean Shepherd, Woody Allen, Dave Barry).
Y.R.
(c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Tags

Books on CD,Humor,Biographies & Memoirs,General



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Comment

 
 

Comment List (Total:14)

  •     Get ready to belly laugh.
  •     I read this book in two or three sittings. I had over half of the book left to read and planned on reading it slowly but I became hooked and polished the rest off in one night as though it were a delicious dessert. David's story became so exciting that I was mesmerized. I couldn't help liking him. He made me care about him. Picture yourself as a child inflicted with a severe case of OCD--the counting, touching, and checking exhausts you by the end of the day--you retreat to your room to lie on your bed and rock. Picture yourself as a young person with homosexual feelings in a world filled with hate and prejudice towards minorities and particularly gay men. Imagine yourself with parents who fill up their home with baby after baby but have no aptitude for parenthood--a mom who sees her son's frailties as fodder for comedy, a dad who's more in love with golf than his family, a mom whose addiction to cigarettes and alcohol is stronger than anything else. Imagine working in a mental hospital or attending a college with handicapped people and having to care for your roommates' needs. Picture yourself feeling so disenchanted with life that you find yourself shoplifting, taking drugs and distributing them, and going from one menial job to the next.Sedaris decides to take off and leave his family. This is when he travels all over the U.S., hitchhiking, working side by side with migrant workers, and seeing a side of life that is so seedy that suddenly his home life is looking a lot better. As you might imagine, taking so many risks brings him into some unimaginable situations. I was reminded that men too can be harassed by sexual predators.He returns home to take on some unusual jobs, meeting some memorable characters along the way. The final chapter when he decides to spend a few days in a nudist camp is the icing on the cake. I loved it. Nudists are a hoot!If you're like me, you'll find yourself rooting for Sedaris and laughing a lot. Sedaris has a talent for making the bizarre seem outrageously funny. But I didn't find the entire book to be "side-splitting." At 67, I was still naive enough to be shocked by some of the characters and situations. I felt like a social worker looking at some appalling people and then from time to time it was all just too funny. Some readers won't laugh, some will laugh as I did--just some of the time--others will roar with laughter throughout the book. It all depends on your sensitivities. I'm the kind of person who doesn't want everything sugarcoated for me. I don't scream TMI all the time. I can take a dose of the bizarre because my life wasn't always a 50s sitcom. If nothing else, this book could make you feel as I did that my life wasn't so bad. If you laugh, it's a bonus.
  •     I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Mr. Sedaris. I run hot and cold while reading his work. When he hits, I laugh aloud. When he misses, I often feel more than disappointed.
  •     David lived with challenges and then turned them into a purely poetic childhood - in his 20/20 hindsight.
  •     This is not the first book I have read by David Sedaris, and like the others it is both very humorous and insightful.
  •     wonderful writer
  •     I got this book because of a good New York Times Book review. I did not like it at all.
  •     Liked it but it was definitely a strange read... I did laugh out loud several times. Saw the author speak in my town. He is hilarious!
  •     Naked had been sitting on my shelf for at least a year before I decided to read it. I have a bad habit of not reading books after I buy them, so this should come as no surprise.As a memoir, Naked is an unbelievably good collection of autobiographical essays. As you make your way through Naked, you just find yourself in disbelief at Sedaris' dysfunctional family. Everyone out there claims to have some sort of dysfunctional family, but Sedaris' truly takes the cake. From the authors childhood filled with his nervous tics and OCD habits to his teachers visiting his home while being offered alcoholic beverages while watching his mother make mock impersonations of her son. It makes you really feel for the author. The best part of Naked by far is the Ya-Ya, Sedaris' grandmother. It makes me wish I had at least one grandmother just like her growing up. If you don't find yourself laughing out loud at least once, you don't have a sense of humor :). Then the authors tales as a long-time hitchhiker while doing a wide variety of manual labor jobs give readers like myself hope that haven't quite figured out who they are or what they want to do in life. On a personal level, these tales were really what I liked the most about Sedaris. The fact that he's come out of all of the hell and many years of uncertainty/wandering to become a successful author and playwright is truly inspiring. It just goes to show you anything is possible, even if it takes until much later in life to figure it out.My gripe with Naked comes as a "side-splitting" and "hilariously entertaining" memoir. For me, the humor started to die around the time Sedaris goes away to camp for a month. From that point on, the novel's comedic aspect drops off significantly. Granted, the novel definitely takes on a darker tone up until the last few chapters, but it was my expectation that it'd be funny for more than just half the book. In that regard, the reviews and descriptions of the book disappointed me.Overall, it's definitely a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to be genuinely captivated by another persons trials and tribulations as well as how they overcame them. Just don't expect to be a comedy from start to finish. I wouldn't quite give it 4 stars, but more along the lines of 3.5 stars. As it's been out for about 14 years now, Naked is certainly a bargain for the price. So if you end up not liking it as much as you thought, it won't have burned a large hole in your wallet. :)-Travis S.
  •     Didn't think it would be about discovery of a male being gay!
  •     Not the best Sedaris I've read, but very funny overall. He has the ability to find the quirky aspects in the "everyday".
  •     David Sedaris fan here, so I'm gonna love it. Just the right mix of dark and light, humor and pathos, real and bizarre.
  •     As memoirs go, this collection of essays appears at first glance to be somewhat disjointed, and in fact I waded through the first two without any idea of what I was reading. That's one of the drawbacks of a kindle book, sometimes-- you decide to read it based on a sample, or a brief description on the Kindle version of "the store," or perhaps you l8ike the author and haven't read that particular book. Then "Whispernet" dumps the book into your Kindle and you start on the first page of the text. Not the cover, not the dustjacket blurb, the contents page, or any of the other references that you page through when reading a printed book. "Naked" was particularly disorienting, but once I got the hang of it I sat back and enjoyed a terrific ride through American subcultures that took place a little later than my own. The writing is pure genius, and I love the way Sedaris captures the essential nature of widely divergent groups, and in the process lays his own soul bare for inspection without fear or shame. That's what's "naked" in this little autobiography, and why it rings so true, HIGHLY recommended for any child of the 20th century, but do start with the cover!
  •     Totally laugh till you cry, sidesplittingly hysterical!!! You just cant be in a bad mood when you read this book, David Sedaris at his finest! I've read this book about five times and its still so funny!

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