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Kopelson (English, Univ. of Iowa; Neatness Counts: Essays on the Writer's Desk) gives us an in-depth analysis of the writing of humorist David Sedaris. Through excerpts of Sedaris's many collections of autobiographical essays (e.g., Naked; Me Talk Pretty One Day; Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim), he shows us commonalities in Sedaris's treatment of recurring subject matter over time. Kopelson deconstructs Sedaris's accounts of growing up gay in North Carolina, examines his descriptions of the odd jobs and odd people he encountered in Chicago and New York City, and chronicles his social struggles as an American now living in France. In this way, he shows how Sedaris most frequently uses shame, self-deprecation, and defamiliarization to make readers laugh aloud at potentially serious subject matter. Kopelson compares Sedaris's writing to that of classic authors-most often citing early 20th-century French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust-leaving this book open for use by scholars, as a textbook in a creative writing course, or as a means simply to entertain and educate Sedaris fans. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.
—David L. Reynolds