I got to this book in a somewhat roundabout way… my Mary recommended it to me as a Read-a-thon possibility, but then my library didn’t have it and I had a whole host of other books to read anyway and I figured I’d get to this one eventually. Then I went up to Pittsburgh for a weekend to visit Scott’s family and one of the first things I hear from Sister-in-law the Elder is, “Do you like David Sedaris? Have you read his new book? No? I will lend it to you!” Amazing how these things work.
I busted it out on the plane ride back to Jacksonville, which was both awesome and terrible because dude, the pictures in this book are not all safe for work. I was moderately concerned that my seat neighbor would turn out to be some sort of PETA member who would throw red paint on me after seeing a picture of a dying lab rat or a lamb with its eyes plucked out.
Ugh, right? The stories in this book are, I think, meant to be like human mythologies as told by animals. Some of the stories are a little banal, like the title story which tells of a budding relationship between a squirrel and a chipmunk that goes poorly when jazz is mentioned. Some are tales of really stupid animals, like “The Mouse and the Snake,” in which a mouse thinks that a snake will make a very good companion for her, or “The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck,” in which being incredibly mean to someone is fun until racism gets involved. And some, including “The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat” and “The Crow and the Lamb” are kind of disgusting.
It’s a short collection, just about 150 pages of large-type stories and cool illustrations, and while I’m not over the moon about all of the stories I think that they work well taken together, and of course you don’t spend too much time on the ones that flop. And it’s probably perfect for that plane ride where you really don’t want to talk to your neighbors.
Recommendation: Good for the not-squeamish and those who have some schadenfreude. Also good for those who like Sedaris.
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