Make no mistake. David
Sedaris's collection of 27 essays in this book are funny. He writes about learning
French, which explains the title, teaching English, and eating in a fancy restaurant. He
describes his brother, his sister, his father and mother, his boyfriend and also a
somewhat demanding friend of a friend from North Carolina visiting New York for the first
These are little stories but are they ever wonderful. Some are even
horrifically wonderful, but you'll have to take my word on that. Just imagine three
pages on a certain episode involving a toilet or another story that ends with his
conversion from technophobe to computer fan due to a somewhat unorthodox
But if you're willing to risk reading this book and you have any
sense of humor at all, you will be well rewarded.
For instance, take
the story at the restaurant, Today's Special. It begins at the table, with Mr.
Sedaris wearing a jacket on loan from the maitre d', "who apparently thought I would
feel more comfortable dressed to lead a high-school marching band." When he receives his
plate, there he finds a "shallow muddy puddle of sauce" that is "roughly the size and
color of a Band-aid" and "topped with a sprig of greenery." When asked, the waiter tells
them they now have a plate of raw Atlantic swordfish served in dark chocolate gravy and
garnished with mint.
"Not again," I say. "Can't you guys come up with
something a little less conventional?"
"Love your jacket," the waiter
And so it goes. Lively writing that never disappoints. What