A best-selling classic features six additional works on the joys and embarrassments of favorite holidays, in a volume that includes tales of tardy trick-or-treaters, the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to another culture, and a barnyard Secret Santa scheme gone awry.
"Holidays on Ice" because it is funny and will make you smile. Holidays are crazy for everyone, no matter what holidays you celebrate and Sedaris reminds us to laugh at them, especially ourselves.
Let me explain. This is the second time that I've read Holidays on Ice. I don't remember being all that impressed with it the first time I read it, but it was so long ago, and people's tastes change over the years, so I thought I'd give it another try. And unfortunately, I still didn't find all of it that funny. The first story, about Secaris's time as a Macy's holiday elf, was good. I truly think this is where Sedaris shines, talking about his personal experiences. He's one of those people that always seems to be in the right place at the right time to witness the most bizarre in the people in the people and situations around him.
It's when he starts in on his fictional stories that he seems to take things just one step too far. The stories always seem to start out funny, but then they just don't stop. He tries to push the envelope of funny and ridiculous every time, and I find myself just skimming through the second half of the story, because it just seems to be the same thing, repeated over and over and over.
Don't get me wrong. I can appreciate the genius that is David Sedaris. I just think that his humor may be one step beyond my comfort zone, and I just have a hard time relating to his style of writing. For his fans, however, I know that this book is a true treasure.
This confirms what I've always suspected about Sedaris, which is that he shines in the humorous memoir genre. And really, he is quite a funny man. The non-memoir material means that this is not the strongest of his work. It's good for a holiday chuckle, and probably best for those who have to face crazy holiday relatives, but this is by no means the best of Sedaris.
I didn't care much for
Season's Greetings to our Friends and Family, the story about framing the Vietnamese step-daughter, or for
Dinah the Christmas Whore, about the loser that sister Liz befriends,
but the other tales were good stuff.
The book consists of 12 stories that range from darkly comic and macabre to sarcastic, witty accounts of family interactions that most of us can relate to.
The comic range of these essays means that the book will appeal to many different readers in terms of their individual sense of humor. I certainly liked some better than others, but thought the entire collection was very well-written.
My favorite essay was Let it Snow, in which the narrator's mother gets so tired of her kids when they have three snow days in a row that she locks them out of the house. The day progresses, they pound on the windows, and peer inside only to see their mother drinking a glass of wine and pretending not to see or hear them. Okay, so after reading that summary, it probably sounds like she's a neglectful parent, but trust me, to this mom, it is laugh-out-loud funny.
Others I found particularly funny and laugh-inducing were: Jesus Shaves; Dinah, the Christmas Whore; Us and Them; and Six to Eight Black Men. I could try to summarize them here, but I couldn't do them justice. If you're looking for a comical, sarcastic take on holidays, pick up this book and prepare to be entertained.
When the going gets stressful during the coming holiday season, I'll be re-reading my favorite stories from this book.
This book is largely Sedaris doing what he is good at doing: telling stories that, if told any other way, would not be funny. However, he is able to find and describe humor in a breadth of situations. Holidays on Ice is not Me Talk Pretty One Day. I hoped it would be. However, Holidays jumps and skips and tries to fit stories that seem better as non-holiday stories into a Christmas-story mold. This makes the chapters lack connection and appear forced.
Overall, Holidays is entertaining, even if it is short and a bit disconnected at times.