My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Audio Book Review: Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002


Synopsis (From Goodreads):
David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

I have heard much about David Sedaris over the years as an astute observer on NPR and in his humorous books.  I admit, I have two of them, but haven't read them yet.  So, perhaps I am just not used to the author's style.  But I really didn't care for this book.

This is literally just disjointed diary entries made between 1977 until 2002.  They must have some meaning to David Sedaris.  But for me, they were crude, bleak observations of the ugly parts of America.  Filled with scenes of racism, misogyny, and homophobia, this book left me depressed, and I only finished about 50% of it before I couldn't take it anymore.  

What I Liked:
The author is a very effective chronicler of all aspects of the human condition.  Even from these short diary entries, I could instantly get a sense of the people he was writing about.  He also sees the dignity in everyone he meets, from panhandlers to day laborers to his troubled father.

Having the author be the performer was the correct choice for this book.  The distinctive southern drawl of David Sedaris instantly creates a mood for the book.

This is also an effective testimonial to the continuation of chronic poverty that people experience in the United States.  Lots of the early entries are about the author's inability to pay utilities bills, hunger, and his frantic search to find work.  I have some personal experience with the anxiety poverty creates, and he conveyed this forcefully.

What I Didn't Like:
I found his use of the "N" word to be disturbing.  Yes, he wrote it because that was the language of the people he was writing about.  And he did say how uncomfortable he felt when he heard it.  But it made me feel awful that people still spoke this way in America.

The author also wrote about the rampant harassment of women.  He chronicles men catcalling, beating, and belittling women.  Perhaps because of the format, I found it very frustrating to read all of this but not have any follow up or resolution to these small vignettes.  This made it very depressing to read.

Many of his diary entries also seem to hyper-focus on the seedier side of life.  Didn't anything pleasant happen to the author?  Some of the stories are so crude that I felt dirty just listening to them.  Unfortunately, I can't un-hear what I heard.  I think this was the final straw.  

This audio book just kept getting more and more gloomy, and I felt I didn't want to invest any more time with something that was affecting my emotions so strongly.  Finally, I had to stop reading/listening to this book.  It just wasn't my cup of tea.


Release Date:  May 30th, 2017

Genre:  Non-Fiction Memoir

Publisher:  Hachette Audio

Listening Length: 13:59 hours

Page Length:  528 Pages

Performed by:  The Author

Source:  Public Library

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  For fans of David Sedaris, this may be a compelling book.  For me, I found it crude and disheartening.  It was not what I expected at all.




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MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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