Barrel Fever, David Sedaris
December 17, 2008

I imported this book review from my old blog, Barrel Fever is the first book by David Sedaris. When reading the first stories, I quickly find myself not caring about the characters and their fantasies; then the compilation opens up. The stories are sexually gratuitous (not in a good way) and repetitive – at first. Divided into two parts, that of short stories – afterward essays.

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

The stories are caught in moments of pure fantasy with very timely celebrities of that era, I constantly found myself questioning, “Who is that?” I actually skim read through Parade and just didn’t want to read about Glen’s Homophobia.  In some ways, I understand why Sedaris never again focuses on the short story form.  In his later books, everything is essay. 

The essays are of course brilliant. We see the David Sedaris we know and love. The Christmas story makes me laugh out loud, I will never look at the Macy’s Christmas display in the same way again. As a writer I find great joy in reading first books – because they are just that, the first. The author is still fresh and trying, it’s a literary sandbox.  

Naked is much better, with consistent good writing, I never wrote a review for Naked, since I was hospitalized and just didn’t want to revist the grim time, yet that work gave me must needed diversion.  I’ve also read Me Talk Pretty Some Day, it’s delightful.  Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is an ode to the dysfunctional family.

This book chronicles his fresh voice, When You Are Engulfed in Flames documents that oversaturation and redundancy.