David Sedaris, well-known for his satirical writing style, is back with a “modest bestiary.” Bestiary tales, for those unfamiliar with the term, are moral fables usually told about animals or mythical creatures. Sedaris uses a huge array of all different animals to tell some of the funniest moral tales I’ve ever read.
The book is chock full of these fantastically funny tales: a squirrel who dates a chipmunk, a mouse who thinks a snake is her baby, a grooming baboon, storytelling warblers, rats that live in a lab, storks learning the ropes of parenting and much much more!!
One of the most awesome things about this book was that even in its childlike style, it tackles some larger issues. For example, one of the stories is about a female chipmunk who dates a male squirrel. The chipmunk’s family does not agree with the relationship because they are different species. They force her to break up with him, but over the course of her lifetime she always thinks back on him. Some people won’t read beyond the simple humor in the story, but deeper thinkers can see this as possibly representing a bi-racial relationship. Lots of the stories are like the squirrel and chipmunk story: on the surface they’re fun and humourous tales, but deep down they do have a moral and deeper meaning. Having an adult write a book of morals for adults with a humorous slant is absolutely genius. It takes the problems/issues we face as adults and shows us how to do the right thing, much like how we learned morals in our childhoods.
I would be completely remiss if I did not mention the fabulous illustrations by Ian Falconer. Falconer is most known for the Olivia series he created, wrote, and illustrated. While Sedaris’ writing can definitely stand alone, it is Ian Falconer’s illustrations that truly take the book to the next level. The drawings are just as humorous and twisted as the stories themselves. Sedaris and Falconer are a match made in literary history.
If you have never read a David Sedaris book then I would definitely suggest this one as your first. You will not be disappointed in his writing style at all. The book is a quick, fast-paced read that you won’t be able to put down. Definitely give it a shot!
4 out of 5 Stars