Book Review: Calypso

When this book was first released last summer, many of the reviews included the words “different”, “darker”, or “more serious” in describing it in comparison to his other work. I am a huge David Sedaris fan so these words were major turnoffs to me in deciding to pick it up, but finally I threw it on on audio and I’ve been laughing ever since. What words would I use, you ask? Maybe “same old Sedaris humor, with a little less outrageousness, a little more timely political commentary, but definitely DEFINITELY the same amount of laugh out loud jokes.”

Calypso is the latest short story collection from David Sedaris – a true comic genius in my opinion. These stories are primarily autobiographical and range from conversations with family to observations on his travels. But knowing Sedaris, they’re never just straightforward stories. Each one will have you laughing out loud at the hilarity that can ensue when you view every day situations with the mind of David Sedaris.

In his previous works, Sedaris has let it be known that he’s very liberal, but he’s never totally come out right and talked about the present political climate. This book is different in that regard, and instead of using negative words like “dark” or “serious”, I want to highlight that this is one of the parts of the book I enjoyed the most. The chapter on the 2016 election titled “A Number of Reasons I’ve Been Depressed Lately”, and the chapter on the supreme court decision to legalize gay marriage (A Modest Proposal) are easily two of my favorites in this book — along with the nonpolitical US Travel Guide (Your English is So Good) and story of a man pooping on a plane (I’m Still Standing).

While we’re here, now seems as good a time as any to did a quick review of Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris’s Christmas collection. I was given this for Christmas and I quickly tore through it. The stories have all appeared previously in other collections, but luckily I didn’t remember any of them.  The stories aren’t specifically holiday themed, but they all mention Christmas at least once. These stories definitely contrast to the ones mentioned above. The ones in Calypso are kind of “haha” funny, but the ones in this collection struck me more as “holy crap, did you just say that?” funny. They’re hilarious in their outrageousness and inappropriate nature. I highly recommend them – especially “Season’s Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!”, “Based Upon a True Story”, and “Jesus Shaves”- but please approach this book with your best not-easily-offended sense of humor, or this one may just rub you the wrong way. 🙂

Clearly I’ve been on  a bit of a David Sedaris trend recently, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed them all. I listened to a lot of the stories in Calypso on audio (which I  highly recommend!), but flipping through the book to find some of the titles, made me want to reread it print sometime soon! I just can’t get enough!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Calypso

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