Essay review: ‘Attaboy’ by David Sedaris

Story Title: ‘Attaboy’ by David Sedaris.
Source: Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls (Abacus)
Date Read: 03 January 2014
Afterthoughts: In this essay Sedaris bemoans the lack of discipline shown by today’s parents, while reflecting on his own regimented childhood. “Our artwork did not hang on the refrigerator or anywhere near it,” Sedaris says, “because our parents recognized it for what it was: crap.” What a tough gig for little David, and this is the mildest of it. If he were to do something as heinous as say defacing a mailbox, then out came a golf club that would make contact with a set of balls other than the ones that get knocked around the golf course (I sense he might be exaggerating a little in this case :)).

Funny yes, but the humour really cranks up when Sedaris speaks of the time when young Tommy Williams came a-knockin’…during supper. One case of mistaken identity mixed with common assault later, and poor old Tommy is forced to take compensation in the form of centuries old (I’m exaggerating now, or am I?) vanilla ice cream, that comes with the appealing hue of pus. Yum!

Quite possibly the funniest Sedaris essay I’ve read to date. So funny in fact that it would probably even raise a smile from a North Korean border guard. And if you know any North Korean border guards then you can test the theory out, because here’s a recording of Sedaris reading aloud this very essay.

Notable Quote: On opening the ice milk I saw that it had thawed before its last freezing. Beneath an inch of what looked like snow, the texture was wrong, too slick-looking and so hard it bent the spoon and came out in slender, translucent chips. It took everything I had to chisel out a bowlful of them, but in time I did. Then I carried it in to Tommy and set it before him on the table.

Rating: ★★★★★

Let's Explore Diabetes with OwlsThis story was read as part of an overall review of David Sedaris’ latest essay collection, Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. If you want to find out more about this collection, then please stop by my forethoughts post for the book, or visit the publisher’s website.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).