It’s now become a rule that I read anything by David Sedaris that I can get my hands on. My grandmother rolled her eyes at this rule, because when she went to buy the latest book to put in my Christmas stocking, she discovered that it had illustrations and probably assumed it was a children’s book. Not (quite) so.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk appears to be a children’s book, because it has cute pictures done by the same dude who did the Olivia books. The chapters are also really short and spaced out, and the whole book takes about an hour to read. But it’s so damn clever. Not that I expected anything less from this comedic literary genius.
The best word to describe this book would be “personification.” Sedaris replaces human characters with animal ones, but also keeps them in their own “bestiary” (his word not mine) world. They can speak to each other, but not us. They consume regular food, not ours. They ride in cars, not drive them. But they share with us mundane relationship problems, conflicted feelings, and the stresses of everyday life. It’s fascinating to think about and, of course, it’s hysterical. This man knows exactly how to write dialogue to make you think of a specific person saying it. He also knows when to use phrases like “anal intercourse” to make you laugh without feeling bad about it. He is a brilliant writer, even in this shorter, quicker form. Squrrel Seeks Chipmunk is a fast read, but an enjoyable one. If you don’t finish it with a smile on your face, perhaps you should seek help. (See what I did there?)