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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk – David Sedaris – Not For The Faint of Heart

If you’ve read David Sedaris before, you know how he can be.  He is dark, humorous, and honest about people and how they act – even if they are animals.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if he has issues with his mother.  But of course, there is a story in this book that has a decidedly discriminating tone towards homosexuality, and we have to assume the openly gay Sedaris doesn’t have a problem with homosexuals.

This collection of stories points out recognized human failures, but translates them into the animal kingdom.  He recreates the every day imbalance of good versus evil, using fuzzy little forest creatures that we should know and love.

In the title story, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, the chipmunk finds herself in a young relationship with a handsome squirrel, but the relationship is completely unacceptable to her family and friends because of their obvious cultural differences.  During the course of a date that has way too many awkward silences, the squirrel announces he likes Jazz, something the chipmunk has never heard of before.  She agrees to liking it as well, but when discussing it with her sister later on, after thinking herself she may have just agreed to liking anal sex, she decides to break it off, blaming the wishes of her mother for the end of the relationship.  The regret is almost overwhelming later in life, when she comes to realize what Jazz really is and what she may have given up by ditching the squirrel due to the bigotry of her family.

And the other themes in the book run similarly to this – some sexual in nature, so don’t give the book (which has a very Kids book look and feel to it thanks to illustrator Ian Falconer, of the Olivia story books fame) to your 10 year old.  The lessons, if they get them, are valuable ones, but that doesn’t mean they should learn them at the pen of David Sedaris.

I laughed, a lot.  I won’t lie.  And I had to take a look at myself as a mom, trying to make sure that the egregious errors made by several of the moms in the book are not errors I make myself on a daily basis.  But someone’s mom is making them, or they wouldn’t be there to make fun of and draw attention to.  That is a sad reality in this book, but I suppose there is a lot of sad reality in this book, if you can see it through your tears of laughter.

So on that level, the book was a bit disturbing to me, despite the humor.  Holy crap, how we can mess up our kids!

Read the book.  I am recommending it (although with much more thought than went into recommending it to me – sorry, Dr. V!), but only if you can stomach the violence, the perversion, and the mirror it might hold up in front of you.

It’s good to laugh at ourselves now and again, but beware that with this book, it might be more nervous laughter than rolling on the floor laughter.

8 Replies to “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk – David Sedaris – Not For The Faint of Heart”

  1. I’m looking forward to reading this, though I am already expecting it to be a little dark, and you’re right, his stories are (mostly) not really for kids. I wanted to comment, though, that he has told a lot of stories about his mom and his dad and his sisters and brother on This American Life, and I get the impression that although their family is pretty quirky (his famous sister Amy is another example!), they seem like they are close, even though they are all different. He has talked about the fact that although his mother was definitely not the Leave It To Beaver type, she was sort of the hub of their family, and he told some very touching stories about her death from cancer and what the family went through. I have also always gotten the feeling from his stories that his mother is really where the quirkiness and humor in the family came from.

    1. I would read it again – and I probably will – especially knowing some background on his mother. But I have to say, Moms in this book come across as selfish, self serving, inappropriate, and just downright despicable creatures! Not that it detracts from the book as you read, but I certainly took a step back to make sure I’m none of the moms portrayed in the stories.

    1. If you’ve read David Sedaris before, you know how he can be. He is dark, humorous, and honest about people and how they act – even if they are

  2. @beautygirlsmom I’m reading it now! @hanscooks & I consider him southern twisted humor like us. This bk is not for faintoheart like u say!

    1. @lumpling @hanscooks If you like David Sedaris, you might like Flannery O’Connor – she was the original dark, wicked Southerner! #

  3. @beautygirlsmom @hanscooks Oh lordy yes, Flannery is dark & a Savannah girl like me! I wanted to train chickens when I was little like her!

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