Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is the latest book by humorist David Sedaris. I was really looking forward to this book, especially after reading the essay excerpt “Understanding Understanding Owls” (you can see my initial reaction here), luckily after reading the full-length book, I wasn’t disappointed. I found myself nodding in agreement with some of the things Sedaris writes about, and other times I laughed out loud. There were some bits that I was even compelled to read out loud to my husband so that he could understand the reason behind my mirth.
Usually with Sedaris’s books, there’s an over-arching theme that pervades most of the essays collected for that volume. For instance, Naked all leads up to his vacation to a nudist colony. In the case of Owls it was a bit more difficult to find the theme. Sedaris’s oafish father is a big part of it, but he’s involved somehow in many of the essays over the many books, so that doesn’t really count. I finally came to the realization that it was traveling. There are stories about planes, trains, passports, and getting a colonoscopy while visiting home. What that has to do with diabetes or owls, I have no idea, but at least the title is catchy!
David Sedaris’s books are genuinely funny, and Owls is no exception. But it’s also heartfelt and self-analyzing. I can relate to a lot of what he writes about (not so much the smoking and drug-use, but things like the fascination with the weird, the people watching/analyzing, and the fact that I’m an introvert that has absolutely no issue getting in front of crowds), as I’m sure most people can, which is one reason why he’s such a huge success. I had strong reactions to many of the stories included in this volume, particularly the ones about the German language and, of course, owls. And I though I’ve never had an inclination to visit China, and now know I never want to go.
If you’re looking for something plot-driven or with a wholesome theme, you may want to look elsewhere. However, if you need a funny, laugh-out-loud book to read, then make sure to add this one to your list.
I am left wondering though…What the hell did any of these stories have to do with diabetes?