Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

The Inability of Humans to Communicate in the Essay Collection Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Humans often have trouble communicating with one another. In many cases, the inability of humans to communicate causes misunderstanding between the parties and acts as a limitation in engagement (Caldwell & Horwood, 2007). David Sedaris, in his book, “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, circles around the loss of language between people and how this affects their day-to-day activities. In this book, he creates a moving comedy which starts within his atypical childhood in North Carolina, his curious path in career and his move to France with his lover. His anarchistic disposition to digress does not only give him glory, but also allow him to portray the theme of “the inability of humans to communicate” through these reminiscences (Sedaris, 2003).

The title of the book is his rendition in a converted English of how he, together with fellow French students, try to speak the Gallic language. He starts off with an essay that explains how he expands his vocabulary as a way of upsetting a speech therapist. However, this proves to be more difficult than he expected. He builds an advanced vocabulary of synonyms or what he calls an equally evocative alternative terminology in order to avoid his lisping “s” from being corrected. Further, he writes about how his brother and father had evolving curious terms of endearment that had adverse effects on their communication (, 2011). These terms of endearment clearly relished the challenge of punctuating certain dialogs due to being vulgar in tone. As a result, Sedaris proposes in the first pages of the book that language is only used as a marker. In addition, the inability of an individual to express themselves coherently is tantamount to stupidity (Sedaris, 2003).

In the second half of the book, Sedaris puts more focus on this proposition as he moves to France with his lover. His fears on the implications that the proposition may bring becomes clearer as he tries to grasp the language of the people in this new country. What comes out more clearly in his stay in Paris is his encounter with the obnoxious American tourists who defame him loudly on the metro system unaware that Sedaris is one of them and that he understands English (Sedaris, 2003). The fact that he is defamed in public irritates him and makes him offended. It is this experience that makes him so enthusiastic about French that he decides to take a class in French. This chapter focuses on his attendance to French classes where he had heated debates with the other classmates about different topics. One heady discussion was about the Western tradition of Easter, but the topic does not make much significance in the book as the language that is used. We see Sedaris and other students arguing out their points in hilarious broken French which sounds more like illiteracy, though they still understand each other (Sedaris, 2003).

The essay collection “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris is a hilarious book. Reading through the short essays takes you through trying to fit different wordings as they are used and the unnecessary burden of interpreting what the writer really means. However, Sedaris is able to portray his writing skills with graceful ease throughout the book. Furthermore, he is able to keep a humorous flow of his ideas and manifest great skills of switching from English to French. Despite the book being concealed largely with the theme of inarticulate communication, a reader will enjoy each and every bit of the book and at the end they will be left with a shortness of words.

Me Talk Pretty One Day | (2011, January 22). Retrieved May 10, 2013, from
Me Talk Pretty One Day: Textbuch. (2003). München: Digital Publishing.
Caldwell, P., & Horwood, J. (2007). From Isolation to Intimacy: Making Friends Without Words. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Sedaris, D. (2003). Me Talk Pretty One Day. New York: Little, Brown & Co.