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  1. I think you just figured out why I love the book. I’m a fan of unreliable narrators, of which Sedaris is among the best (see also Randy Newman’s first couple records).

    You said “nothing Mr. Sedaris writes can be trusted. He is open that he embellishes, that his concern is more for the story than for the truth.” Um, exactly.

    This book is not a ploy for sympathy, it is not an attempt at the best-written book ever, it’s just a collection of stories. That it’s marketed as essays rather than literature is, I think, a bit misleading.

    What I’m having trouble with in your review, though is the last sentence:

    The language is adolescent in its hyperbole; the author acknowledges his disregard for those to whom he has social and moral responsibilities, and he blames someone else for making him look like what he is, a liar.

    Do you really believe that someone admits to being a liar is a liar?

    If your problem with the book is that Sedaris seems like a horrible person, then he’s achieved his goal. Half of his humor comes in letting us know that other people are inherently good. He is selfish, but I hesitate to say that he is a liar–the truth he’s getting at, the truth you recognized when you wrote “The internal struggle revealed here, unlike the many of the weird situations he chronicles, is fairly universal,”–is true no matter the factual accuracy. This is how fiction can occasionally ring more true than a collection of essays or a memoir.

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