Review: ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’, a fun look at life’s ironies | Health, Medicine and Fitness

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press

“Happy-Go-Lucky”, by David Sedaris (Little, Brown and Company)

Almost everyone has a dysfunctional family, but few expose the amusing, embarrassing, and even disturbing quirks of their loved ones, quite like writer and comedian David Sedaris.

Anyone who has read Sedaris’ essays in The New Yorker magazine knows of her large Greek American family and her boyfriend, Hugh, who form an awkward but loving ensemble cast. In an unforgettable play nearly a decade ago, Sedaris even wrote about his sister Tiffany’s suicide, “Now We are Five.”

In “Happy-Go-Lucky,” a new collection of poignant, honest, and funny essays, Sedaris is disturbed when he notices the crepe skin between a sister’s chest and neck, lamenting that his once-beautiful sisters are getting older. .

“It just seems cruel,” he says.

Writing about his teenage years, Sedaris is both fun and brutal while unflinchingly exposing the ironies of his family and life in general.

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In one anecdote, her father, Lou, pulls a naked sister out of the shower. In another, Lou subjects young David to a humiliating examination while pretending to be ill.

Elsewhere in this latest collection of essays, Sedaris sheds light on his experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, from early grocery shopping on his return to nonstop trips for work, to empty airports, past shuttered businesses. , closed salons, painting a somewhat disturbing picture of life in America today.

At the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, he encounters what initially appears to be a fig which turns out to be poop, most likely that of a dog.

“What has this world come to? he is asking himself.

Sedaris also reflects on the little things of pre-pandemic life he’d never enjoyed before: being handed a restaurant menu, reading mundane text messages over a stranger’s shoulder.

“The America I saw on a fall 2021 tour was weary and battle-scarred,” Sedaris wrote in a review of the book, an essay titled “Lucky-Go-Happy,” published in The New Yorker this spring. “Its sidewalks were cracked, its mailboxes smashed.”

Climbing into a store or restaurant he remembered from a previous trip, he would find it “barricaded, or possibly burned, the plywood that blocked the graffiti-covered doors”.

But the most haunting image was of someone Sedaris had never met face to face.

It was a young woman whom he imagined to be the owner of items he had spotted in a gutter near a baggage carousel at an airport: among them were two pairs of panties, three AA batteries and a hairbrush. long strawberry blond hair.

“I thought about her for months,” he wrote. “I wondered, as I moved from place to place in this divided and battered country of ours, where she was and what she imagined her panties had become.”

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