Theft By Finding by David Sedaris – Review

Last night I finished reading Theft By Finding by David Sedaris and I absolutely loved it! This book is the first volume of David Sedaris’s diaries and it’s a must-read for anyone who is a fan of David Sedaris. 


The GoodReads description of this book says: “David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humour can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there’s no such thing as a boring day.”

The format of this book is definitely something different. Sedaris, who has been keeping a diary for forty years, went through all of his entries and compiled them into a book. Obviously, this book doesn’t contain every single one of his diary entries, instead, he went through his diaries and selected specific entries to go into this book. Overall though, the format is interesting because it offers a unique insight into society at the time of each entry.

One of the reasons why I liked this book so much is because it accurately shows the natural progression of things. Since it’s a diary, we’re following Sedaris throughout his life and living his failures and victories with him. We get to see how he went from doing readings for half a dozen people; to having his story Santaland Diaries read on the radio; to having a book deal and going on book tours around the world. It shows how things don’t happen overnight and how it’s a long and difficult journey to achieving your dreams. 

I also liked the book because it’s an unintentional window into how society reacted to different things at different times. For example, David Sedaris grew up in North Carolina and a lot of his entries involve comments he heard people say about various minorities. Another example is that David Sedaris was living in Paris when 9/11 happened and some of his entries include comments about how people reacted to this tragedy. 

The other reason why I loved this book is that I love David Sedaris. I find his writing to be clever and funny. I’ve read almost all of his books, and I’m familiar with his life because most of his stories fall into the memoir category. This made the diaries interesting because it provided a lot of background information into what was happening around the moments that eventually were written into longer stories.

The one thing that I need to note now is that Theft by Finding should not be the first David Sedaris book that you read. If you pick up this book without being familiar with David Sedaris and his writing, you’ll be incredibly confused and you probably won’t appreciate this book at all. Instead, I recommend starting with Me Talk Pretty One Day and then reading some of his other books before diving into Theft By Finding.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars!

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