I'm an avid David Sedaris fan. Ever since my friend turned me onto his humorous slice-of-life essays with Me Talk Pretty One Day, I've been hooked.

He just released his newest book, entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, and it's both similar to and unlike most of his other stuff.

Don't get me wrong, the stories are still melancholy and satirical in nature, but the delivery is a bit different this time around. When I first saw the book, I assumed this was a Sedarisian take on children's stories, what with the smaller book size and the animal themes.

After reading most of the book, it's safe to say that impressionable young kids should come NOWHERE near this book. The stories, mostly allegorical tales, don't really have an uplifting tone; more often than not, they're tales of a dark, satirical nature. There's also a lot of colorful language and adult themes, which only made me like it more.

Stories such as The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck, in which the three disgruntled critters bitch and moan about having to wait in a long line at a service desk of some sort (much like the experience we all have at the DMV), takes on an edgy, twisted tone toward the end, and is effective in its portrayal of the same frustrations we experience on a regular basis.

The Faithful Setter explores the dynamic of a dysfunctional marriage between two Irish setters brought about by infidelity. It's a common suburban story, but spun into the realm of domesticated dogs, which is different.

I don't want to ruin the impact of many of these stories, as part of the book's appeal lies in its surprises. You don't really know if the stories are going to have dark, depressing endings or melancholy endings. Part of the impact of stories such as The Motherless Bear and The Cow and the Turkey are best felt after just reading them for yourself.

If you've ever enjoyed a David Sedaris book, then check this out. If you haven't yet indulged in his witty, cleverly-composed writing, check out Me Talk Pretty One Day or Naked, and move on from there. This one will make more sense if you're familiar with his storytelling style.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk isn't for everyone, but if you can appreciate slightly twisted stories about animals that are also about humans, then this book's for you.

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AuthorCheese Sandwich
CategoriesRandom Thought