Theft by Finding
by David Sedaris
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
Publisher: Hachette Audio/ Little, Brown & Company
One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York’s “Vulture”, The Week, Bustle, BookRiot
David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making
For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.
Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.
Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there’s no such thing as a boring day. https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/david-sedaris/theft-by-finding/9780316154727/
It’s unusual that I review a book I have purchased, but I adore David Sedaris and think the world would be a little better off if everyone read or listened to his world. He has a way of illuminating the darkest things about humanity and making us laugh at ourselves. At the same time, slipping in through the comedic, Sedaris leaves an impression on all but the densest that changes the way we see things.
He often points his laser at himself; probably more than at others. He doesn’t claim to be a great philosopher, or a guru, or a self-help expert; he is just David: sometimes more Forest Gump than Robert Frost, but just as insightful as both.
Usually, his books are a loosely themed collection of essays; some are more connected than others: SANTALAND DIARIES centers on holidays, ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY loosely builds up to his move to France with his partner Hugh. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY is possibly the funniest book ever.
This collection however is not about one part of his life, it’s based on all of it: the diaries, ideas and snippets David has been writing into diaries for a very long time. I am sure he says how long somewhere, but I was probably laughing too hard to hear it.
Sometimes, the diaries are disjointed, you wonder why this entry was picked out from all umpteen volumes of his many. Sometimes it will seem like you missed an entry that would have clarified the one just read. Because it is diary-based it is temporally bound together but not thematically. And, I did feel the wont of information: for example, the book starts off with David hitchhiking with a friend, Ronnie. Who is Ronnie?
Other times it’s completely clear. Sometimes it is poignant, sometimes it is disgustingly funny.
He talks a lot about his quest to create. Even drug addled by meth, pot, or booze he combines household items and creates 2 pieces that are accepted into a North Carolina. I think he presents the idea that his urge to create is partly a way to continue getting high and call it process. It’s a process almost every creative person goes through, a feeling of being an imposter. Until, and even beyond, finding the best media for their particular form of expression. For Sedaris it’s obviously writing and observation.
As always, David reads his own work in this audio, and that’s perfect. In this one he says, at the start – it is his edit. It is not his whole diary; it is a curated selection.
This wasn’t my very favorite of Sedaris’s works but it is an inside look at how his mind works. And this is his song, it’s a little off-key and that makes it even better.
Don’t miss Sedaris’s unique, inadvertently insightful view of the world. Several of his books and performances are available in audio and I love his work in audio best, but print is also hilarious.