Book Review: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

May 17, 2013 Whitney Review 2 Comments

Book Review: Let’s Explore Diabetes with OwlsLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
Published by Little Brown and Company on April 23, 2013
Genres: Humor
Source: Bought

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

With Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called "hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving" (Washington Post).

I loved David Sedaris’ new book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls but I hate writing reviews for short stories. This is because my thoughts jump from one place to another “I really liked this story, but the second one not so much, but overall…” My thought process is not cohesive. Thus I will cover my highlights.

Before I begin, I’d like to note that I’m paraphrasing. My mother, is currently reading and loving the book. Yesterday I took it from her bedside table to look at it again and forgot to put it back. She claims it ruined her evening. Thus, she is keeping it under lock and chain.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls opens with socialized medicine. With puzzlement over what Americans think of countries such as Canada and France with socialized medicine, languish away on cots waiting for penicillin to be invented.

It makes me think Americans are stupid. Several years ago, the owner of a prominent building in my town posted HUGE poster board signs in his window, one reading “SOCIALISM IS SLAVERY!” Even the republicans were offended. How stupid and racist can you get?

Anyway, the story in question goes on to debunk these thoughts, also mentioning this crazy idea includes 50$ house calls. Sedaris also goes on to talk about his dentist and how he feels he has a special relationship with him, despite sweating bullets and having to bring a change of clothes.

Another story entitled simply Obama!!! speaks of every one’s interest (in France) who he is voting for in the ’08 election, being shocked that he thinks a black man would win. The black man, Barack Obama does win and the news media does not let us forget. Here is our new President, Barack Obama who is black. Here is his black wife and black children. The presidential family who are black will be living in the White House which is white not black. Okay we get the Obamas are the first black family in the White House. Landmark. Progression. Hope and change. The world likes us again. but noting the color of his skin every five seconds seems excessive. White, Black or Purple the majority of the U.S. citizens thought he was the best man for the job. End of story.

Hm, I went on a little political rant there. I promise the next two stories having nothing to do socialism.

I vaguely remember reading this previously (I’m blanking on the name and unable to pick the lock) While visiting his sister, he and his brother-in-law went to Costco, the store where you can buy everything in bulk. David Sedaris was looking for a small trifle for teens who come to his book signing. On this particular trip he picked up a box of condoms. Upon reading of him picking up the box in question, Oh my God went through my mind, but at least he’s advocating against teen pregnancy. They realize this as well and rush to add something to the cart. Strawberries. That only makes this sexual assumption worse. Whip cream anyone? I don’t think I’m doing a very good job explaining the hecticness that involved filling this cart, but it made me giggle.

Last, is “Happy Place”. A tribute to the importance of getting a colonoscopy. Since the age of 22 David Sedaris’ father had been pestering him to swallow the nasty prep-work to clean out your colon. This was his wish for Christmas, Birthday, Father’s Day. Any day that he may receive a special request.

Due to health issues I had my first colonoscopy when I was 22. I will save you the details as shit is a bit disgusting, (but is a topic our author has no problem talking about.) Anyway, Sedaris speaks of the nasty prep work perfectly and with hilarious detail which I fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it found it perfectly related with a little jest. Because I could relate so heavily to this particular essay, I think this was my favorite and had me laughing the most.

In conclusion, during my confession of the stolen book (which made me feel like Liesel Meminger) my mom and I both agreed that David Sedaris’ humor in Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls was less snarky or sarcastic as in previous books. Instead, we felt it was more humanized and mellow. Although, I cannot stress enough that this did not affect the quality of Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls and was still on par with his other collections.


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