Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is different than most of Sedaris’s books; rather than memoir, it is a collection of short stories centering on animals with human traits. The stories reminded me of fables, except that there were few morals, and it certainly would not be fit for children.
Though the concept is hilarious (as is Sedaris’s original title: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls), most of the stories did not make it there. As my dad, who read the first four stories in the book before giving up, said, “It’s just not funny enough.” True, there were some stories like “The Cow and the Turkey” and “The Judicious Brown Hen” that made me laugh, but for each of them, there are two “The Migrating Warblers,” that weren’t worth reading.
I think I would have a different opinion had I listened to the audio book rather than reading a physical copy. Sedaris has performed a handful of these stories on the radio show This American Life, and I thought they were amusing there; Sedaris just has a way of making anything sound funny. Of course, had I gone with the audio book, I would have missed the wonderful illustrations done by Ian Falconer (best known for the Olivia series of picture books). And missing those would have been a shame.
As much as it pains me to give a Sedaris book a low rating, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk gets a 2/5. If you’re a fan, it’s worth picking up to see if you agree with me—it’s a short book and shouldn’t take much longer than an hour to read—but otherwise, I wouldn’t steer you towards it.
Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with David Sedaris (very funny)
Buy the book
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