Review - Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, David Sedaris

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For his ninth book, humorist David Sedaris has pooled together stories as diverse and obscure as the collection’s title: Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.

In his signature conversational style, Sedaris meanders quite literally all over the place – from dentists’ rooms in France (where he lived for several years before moving to West Sussex) to Hawaii, where serendipity causes him to lose his passport and thus his UK immigration status. Several essays written for luminaries such asThe New Yorker and The Guardian are published again here, with no loss of their original appeal. Sedaris’s reflections about the relevance of family while watching a kookaburra eat in 'Laugh, Kookaburra', and his revulsion of the offal he encounters in China in ‘#2 to Go’, stir the digestive and emotional juices in all the right places.

An amusing addition is a series of short essays known as ‘Forensics’. A short note at the front of the book explains that they are short monologues, written by high school students, to be recited at competitions. The majority of these pieces, penned by Sedaris, are from the point of view of a person blinkered to their own world-view: an anti-Obama racist, a whining housewife. Dropped in and around his other essays, they jar tonally, but despite this I found them amusing, especially ‘I Break For Traditional Marriage’, from the perspective of a redneck against gay marriage.

Sedaris won’t change your life, but he will make you snigger, especially as a school girl obsessed with Jesus and ruling the world.