The Fine Lines Between Genre

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The Fine Lines Between Genre
David Sedaris, America’s pre-eminent humorist, is also a diarist, radio commentator, and essayist. Author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris has his own twist on humor and autobiography. Currently a speaker for National Public Radio, known as NPR, David Sedaris has entertained millions with his witty anecdotes and nerdy voice. His radio audience of college-educated liberals, chuckle to his podcasts, attend his plays, clamor for his lectures, and devour his book oeuvre including Barrel Fever, Naked, and Origins of the Underclass. According to Alexandra Jacobs, a writer in the New York Times, “David Sedaris has become a requisite part of American middle-aged, upper-middle class urban life”(Jacobs). In addition, David Sedaris, as an openly gay celebrity, reaches out towards the homosexual community. His New Yorker pieces have established him, and his brand of high-brow humor, into the sacred halls of literary life. Sedaris is a prolific writer and his books have sold over seven million copies. This essay will focus on  Me Talk Pretty One Day which is typical of his slant on life writing as seen throughout his other works. His rough childhood dealing with maladjusted parents, lost identities, and several bad jobs resulted in the comedic short stories that he now reads and writes. Hannah Sampson wrote of the Sedaris family in the Miami Herald that, “Their home may have been frenzied and their children destined for therapy, but they gave us the shrewd and unconventional David Sedaris, who has created a successful career of telling hilarious, heartbreaking stories about his dysfunctional family” (Herald). These caustic stories have created a strong bond between him and his followers, allowing his audience to trust and understand him. According to Stephan Metcalf, “Sedaris is a little like Woody Allen—he is physically small, self-obsessed, and has spun from his own humiliation a charming and very marketable persona” (Metcalf). This...
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