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Review – A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris

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Title: A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2020

Author: David Sedaris

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction/Humour

Number of Pages: 576 pages

Summary: From Goodreads: There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mas­tered it.

If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathering to watch as a man considers leap­ing to his death. There’s a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party—lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs.

These diaries remind you that you once really hated George W. Bush, and that not too long ago, Donald Trump was just a harm­less laughingstock, at least on French TV. Time marches on, and Sedaris, at his desk or on planes, in hotel dining rooms and odd Japanese inns, records it. The entries here reflect an ever-changing background—new administrations, new restrictions on speech and conduct. What you can say at the start of the book, you can’t by the end. At its best, A Carnival of Snackery is a sort of sampler: the bitter and the sweet. Some entries are just what you wanted. Others you might want to spit discreetly into a napkin. 

Review: I received an advanced copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. However, due to general life procrastination, I read the finished, hardcover version.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book since I finished reading Theft by Finding in 2017. David Sedaris is one of my favourite authors, and I enjoyed reading his diary entries in Theft by Finding and reading about him finding himself and all of his strange observations over the years. A Carnival of Snackery is the next volume of his diaries, and while it was still an enjoyable read, it, unfortunately, fell flat for me.

A Carnival of Snackery is a selection of David Sedaris’ diary entries from 2003 to 2020. By this point, David Sedaris has made a name for himself and has found himself. This collection of diary entries features lots of book tours and world travel, time spent at his various properties, and strange anecdotes and observations that he’s made.

Similar to Theft by Finding, this book was kind of cool because a diary is an interesting way to look back on the past. There were moments that were talked about that I had completely forgotten about, and other moments where I was like, “oh! that!” It’s also neat to read observations written at the time an event was happening.

My favourite diary entries were the ones where he was travelling around the world. As someone who will likely not do very much travelling, I love travelling vicariously through books and other people. I liked hearing about the people he met, the things he observed, and the places he dined while travelling around the world on book tours. I also enjoyed the entries that featured animals, specifically the ones that featured Carol the Fox.

Anyone who has followed David Sedaris knows that he has quite a big ego, and his ego shines through in this book. Some moments were a little bit cringy because he’s a little bit too into himself, but at the same time, these are his diary entries. There are also some jokes and observations in this book that didn’t age very well, and reading them was almost like politely suffering through Thanksgiving dinner while the drunk Uncle keeps making inappropriate comments.

Overall, if you’re a fan of David Sedaris, I recommend picking up this book because it’s David Sedaris, and you know what you’re getting into. However, if you haven’t read David Sedaris before, do not start with this book. Instead, start with one of his collections of essays like Calypso or Me Talk Pretty One Day and see if his sense of humour is something that you can get into first.

Rating: 3.5 Stars!

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