Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snapshot Book Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest BestiarySquirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming to this book with fond memories of laughing out loud at his writing (particularly essays in Me Talk Pretty One Day and When Engulfed in Flames, I fully expected Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk to be yet another humorous look at life, only this time from the vantage of animals. I was correct about the vantage point, but dead wrong about tone of the book.

Rather than giggly-funny, the stories in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk are dark, sardonic, grim, and sometimes flat-out shocking. They are funny only in the sense that they are ironic and that they use animals to so fittingly mock human traits, opinions, and ideals. Yet, the book is extremely well-written, with each animal's story told uniquely and with both a distinctive voice and moral or lesson. In this way, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk reminds me of writings by Roald Dahl, particularly darker children's stories such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, and Witches, as well as his adult story collections such as Skin and Other Stories.

Ultimately, this is a well-written collection, but Sedaris fans should be forewarned so as not to be disappointed: this is not typical comedic Sedaris fare.

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