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Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

October 28, 2010

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, by David Sedaris, is a collection of fables, for lack of a better word, all told from the perspective of animals.  Each of the stories reflects on some part of modern day life, so they can make the reader feel a little uncomfortable.  Most of them have a moral hidden away in there somewhere too.

As you would expect with a collection of stories, I found some more entertaining than others.  A few were dark, or even just a little bit gross, while others were laugh out loud funny.  I think my favorite was probably The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig – the parrot is a journalist who interviews a Vietnamese Potbellied Pig and assumes the pig is from Vietnam.  When the pig explains that he was, in fact, born in this country, the parrot has trouble accepting that at first.

I listened to the audio version of the book, which is read by David Sedaris, Elaine Stritch, Dylan Baker and Siân Phillips.  They all did a fantastic job, but I have to admit to a fondness for listening to Sedaris read his own work.  There is original music between the stories that is fantastic – I just wish it lasted a little longer.  It takes about three hours to listen to the whole book.  The 3rd CD has a PDF file that contains illustrations from the book, by Ian Falconer, and they are fabulous – be sure to check them out if you listen to the book.

I liked Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, but I didn’t love it.  That may have been because it was such a huge departure from Sedaris’s personal stories, which I’m a huge fan of.  Or, it could be because I felt like Sedaris tried just a little too hard with a few of the stories.  Either way, the book is still a fun way to spend a few hours.    Be aware, though, that these stories aren’t for the whole family.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
50 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2010 5:27 am

    I’m not sure if this one is for me, but I might try it at some point. I haven’t read much of his stuff.

  2. October 28, 2010 6:35 am

    I’m listening to this now and so far, I feel the exact same way.

  3. October 28, 2010 6:41 am

    The reviews do seem mixed on this one. Waiting for my turn at the library. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy

  4. October 28, 2010 6:53 am

    Some of his work generally is better than others…I think that is probably expected. He can’t be brilliant 100% of the time can he? I have this on hold at the library!

  5. October 28, 2010 7:27 am

    Glad to see your review of this one…and I also am not super excited that Sedaris is into fiction now. I love his memoir writings, and even with my hesitations I am sure I will try this one. I do like your disclaimer-the cover might make the unfamiliar think that kids could listen to it too…I would assume Sedaris is risque even in fiction!

  6. October 28, 2010 7:56 am

    Oh, I would like this one. Like the video and the parrot and pig story you mentioned. Will this book top Aesop’s Fables or no way????:)

  7. October 28, 2010 8:15 am

    Sounds like one to request from the library.

  8. October 28, 2010 9:12 am

    Your review contains the same reasons I haven’t picked up this book yet. I think it’ll be amusing, but it doesn’t really appeal to me.

  9. October 28, 2010 9:26 am

    I can’t wait to hear the story of the Parrot and the Pig. I think I will listen to this one instead of reading.

  10. October 28, 2010 9:40 am

    For some reason David Sedaris just irritates me and I don’t find him funny at all. I heard an interview with him years ago on NPR and even that irritated me. Go figure.

  11. October 28, 2010 10:36 am

    I guess I will just go meh…though the title is really cute

  12. October 28, 2010 11:27 am

    Your review says exactly what many others have been saying – like, but not love. Still, this kind of collection is great for car listening, even if it isn’t a “five.”

  13. October 28, 2010 11:36 am

    I will get this one in audio because, for me, most of the joy is in hearing his voice as he reads.

  14. October 28, 2010 11:40 am

    From your review, this one just seems kind of blah, probably not one I’ll pick up.

  15. October 28, 2010 11:40 am

    I am a little behind in my Sedaris reading, and just started the audio of When You Are Engulfed in Flames last night. I actually love his writing, and also love the fact that he reads his own work in the audio productions. I am looking forward to getting this one next month. It sounds like I am going to enjoy it as well.

  16. October 28, 2010 11:49 am

    I tried not to read to much of your review because I am excited about this book, and didn’t want to happen upon a spoiler. At least now I know to expect something different. Thanks!

  17. October 28, 2010 11:53 am

    I haven’t quite decided of this is a book for me. It has sparked my curiousity though.

  18. October 28, 2010 12:18 pm

    I have never read–or been read to by–David Sedaris. Kathy, thanks for another good, honest, and concise review. 🙂

  19. Beth Hoffman permalink
    October 28, 2010 12:27 pm

    I’m pretty certain this isn’t for me, but I absolutely love the cover!

  20. October 28, 2010 12:30 pm

    this seems like a rather strange idea for a book, especially from Sedaris.

  21. October 28, 2010 12:32 pm

    I love everything Sedaris writes, and this one is no exception. The parrot really reminds me of Rita Skeeter.

  22. October 28, 2010 12:42 pm

    I don’t think I’d be wowed by this one, but the Parrot and the Pig story sounds interesting.

  23. October 28, 2010 1:33 pm

    I haven’t read any of his work yet, but I thought this one might be a good one to listen to.

  24. bethfishreads permalink
    October 28, 2010 2:42 pm

    Not quite sure this is for me, but for a few hours while cleaning house or gardening it sounds like good entertainment.

  25. October 28, 2010 2:59 pm

    This sounds like an interesting read. I don’t know if I’d buy it or not, but I really want to check it out at the library at least.

  26. October 28, 2010 3:13 pm

    This appears to be such a quirky little book…

  27. October 28, 2010 3:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book. Just by reading the description it did seem to me that David sedaris was working on something different and that it may go either way: readers/listeners may love it, or not so much.

    Thanks again!

  28. October 28, 2010 4:10 pm

    I will listen to the audio version if for no other reason than I adore the talents of Elaine Stritch.

  29. October 28, 2010 4:45 pm

    I’ve spotted this in stores but haven’t been bitten by the Sedaris bug yet. Not sure what to read first from him, but Naked & Me Talk Pretty Some Day are familiar titles bouncing around the blogosphere.

  30. October 28, 2010 5:10 pm

    I love the personal touch of the essays/stories in the one book of his I’ve read to date, but I think these might actually work for me as well.

  31. October 28, 2010 6:53 pm

    I am a huge Sedaris fan, but I’m not sure I would enjoy this one. I love hearing about his family — esp. his late mother. I do love to hear him read his stories though so I may check this out of the library.

  32. October 28, 2010 6:54 pm

    Sounds might be better to hear the voices.

  33. October 28, 2010 7:04 pm

    I’ve only tried one of his books and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve been curious about this one, if I would like it more than the other one I tried. I guess I’d just have to give it a try to see.

  34. October 28, 2010 7:15 pm

    Never read Sedaris. Not sure if this is something I would read.

  35. October 28, 2010 7:52 pm

    This is a departure for him but it sounds really wonderfully subversive and funny!

  36. October 28, 2010 8:01 pm

    I love the title. I shall have to check this out, I’m about ready for a little laugh.

  37. givingreadingachance permalink
    October 28, 2010 8:04 pm

    I think I will like this, I like short stories and this is definitely the 1st time I have heard of one from animals point of view.

  38. October 28, 2010 10:24 pm

    I have never read a david sedaris book; i know (gasp!)

    i’ve heard about him from you and from jenners and keep meaning to pick one of his books up but just have not gotten there yet….this one sounds like one i might could even get my boyfriend to listen to (who does not like to read)

    when i try it out i’ll let you know what i think…i have some credits on hand at so i may just have to add this one to my ipod! thanks!

  39. October 29, 2010 1:39 am

    I still haven’t read any of the works by Sedaris but I do know that you and Sandy are fond of him. I might read him one day.

  40. October 29, 2010 9:47 am

    i haven’t read anything by sedaris yet, but he’s definitely on my list of authors i need to try out. after reading your review, i think i’ll try one of his personal memoir books before reading this one.

  41. October 29, 2010 3:17 pm

    I have this on my to-read list too. I’ve listened to Me Talk Pretty One Day on audio and really loved how Sedaris narrated his stories, I really want to try his other books.

  42. October 29, 2010 8:16 pm

    I certainly do not have a love affair with this author so I wouldn’t pick it up.

  43. October 30, 2010 12:10 am

    I assumed David read all the stories – I love hearing him read his work so not sure I like that (selfish, I know!). I usually have a few out of each book of his that I think cross a line for me but then he pulls me back in!

  44. October 30, 2010 9:27 am

    This one sounds interesting. The concept of telling these stories thorugh animals is intriguing. Glad you enjoyed it!

  45. October 30, 2010 8:35 pm

    Sedaris was here in our county this week, but I didn’t go to see him. I think I’m going to regret that.

  46. October 31, 2010 2:23 pm

    I’ve heard about the dark side of the book and here I thought it was a simple child’s book. WRONG on that one.

    Nice to hear that the narrations were done by more than one voice.

  47. stacybuckeye permalink
    October 31, 2010 4:25 pm

    You mean Gage would be too young to appreciate them? 😉

  48. November 1, 2010 8:52 pm

    David Sedaris rocks, and this book is near the tippy top of my wishlist!

  49. November 3, 2010 3:50 pm

    I’ve been wondering if this one lived up to his personal stories which are just so funny. But then he may be running out of material; he’s just been so prolific.

  50. November 4, 2010 2:13 pm

    Hmmm–disappointed to find that Sedaris doesn’t read all the stories on the audio. I tried listening to Holidays on Ice (which I read and didn’t think was that great) and got turned off by the non-Sedaris readers. Loved Engulged in Flames, though. :-/

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