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Book Review: David Sedaris’ ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls’

David Sedaris' 'Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls'
David Sedaris’ ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls’

Fresh off the streets and into the library, Icon Vs. Icon’s Kate Vendetta is back once again with a brand new book review. This time around she tackles David Sedaris’ ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.’

Review: I would be lost at a book club meeting. I’m a thirty-something, wine drinking (guzzling), tanned white woman who stays at home with her children (hellspawn). I enjoy hors d’oeuvres and literature – I ate snacks, read books and wrote poetry and short stories while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nonsense. I wear boring clothing from generic outlets like Gap and White House Black Market. Sounds like it was meant to be, doesn’t it?

Wrong. First of all, I’m introverted to the point where being around others drains me like a pair of AA batteries in your marital aid. Secondly, the book selection is confusing. I, like many others, look to literature for an escape from my demanding life. However, I don’t like to escape to the same place as other ladies my age.
I cannot escape to a World War II landscape, at least not for a while. Why is it so popular these days? There were and are other wars. It was terribly tragic but I’m already sad enough. I don’t need other people’s sadness surrounding me like a swarm of flies.

I had someone offer me a book recently, saying it was, “Life changing.” Am I the only one who doesn’t want to read something that will change my life? I ain’t got time for that and, even if I did, I’m too apathetic right now (or maybe forever).
Then there’s the other person in my life who offers highly intellectual material. I read one recently and while it was good, I ain’t in Contemporary English 403 anymore. I’m not getting credits at a college and trying to earn that degree so leave me alone with your bookish scribble.

So, what’s left? I found it with David Sedaris and “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” or, as Hank calls it, “A Temple With Owls.” Intellectual yet humorous. Not every story has to be spectacular and dramatic. His short stories are humorous, everyday tales yet different – mostly because of the way he sees the world, not specifically what happened. There’s no time travel, no wars, no love stories, no horrific situations. There’s just the fabric of everyday life instead of contrived blockbusters ready to be adapted for the big screen.

Author David Sedaris
Author David Sedaris

The short story aspect is especially appealing because what happened to this source of entertainment? Where are the Mark Twains and Edgar Allen Poes of modern day literature, aside from David Sedaris? I fondly remember a college professor waxing poetic about the glory of short stories. A strong drink in hand, a comfy chair and a short literary reprieve from life.

Sedaris’ mundane life with his emotionally absent father and matter-of-fact mother is so relatable and comfortable. When discussing talking to a telemarketer, he writes, “Hugh would have hung up the moment his name was mispronounced, but I’ve never been able to do that, no matter how frustrated I get. There’s a short circuit between my brain and my tongue, thus, ‘Leave me the fuck alone’ comes out as, ‘Well maybe. Sure. I guess I can see your point.’”

Sedaris goes on in this short story, “A Friend in the Ghetto,” to explain the type of book he most enjoys. “The sales part was a little tiresome, but with that behind us, I hope we could move on to other things, and that listening to him would be like reading the type of book I most enjoy, one about people whose lives are fundamentally different from my own. By this I mean, different in a bad way. Someone who lives in a mansion spun of golden floss, forget it, but someone who lives in an old refrigerator beside a drainage ditch – by all means, call me! Collect, even.”

You can have your housewives of wherever, your Kardashians and divas and models. Give me someone I can relate to, not a book club reading about World War II, racism and despair. No thanks.

About Our Writer
Kate Vendetta, aka Dolores Price (if you really care to know, ask), is a staff writer and editor for the website. She enjoys knowing things and drinking alcohol, reading and watching TV and films, and writing. Furthermore, Kate is a Gemini and enjoys piña coladas and taking walks in the rain. Check her out on Twitter at doloresprice80.