"Naked" by David Sedaris

The Bottom Line

Humor is a highly individual thing, and what strikes one person as hilarious may fall completely flat with someone else. That said, David Sedaris’ “Naked” has hit many people as brilliant, cathartic and hilarious, and has the rare ability to cause readers to laugh out loud. (His many other books have been received in a similar way, but this book seems to have a great mix of childhood memories and relatable pieces, so this is my favorite of his works for a relaxing read.)  While not an obvious stress management tool, this book goes a long way in reducing tension for several reasons, so I wanted to recommend it to you.

Here’s why:

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Pros

  • It's a great distraction. David Sedaris' essays are completely immersive and entertaining.  Reading and laughing along with many of these essays may provide you with a break from your stressors and the right attitude to tackle them when you're done with your reading break.
  • Laughter is a great stress reliever, and this book provides plenty of it.
  • This author has a compassionate and humorous approach to life stresses and people's quirks.
  • Reading about David Sedaris' struggles can be cathartic to readers dealing with their own issues.  His attitudes of acceptance and forgiveness, toward himself and others, are refreshing.  He finds a way to show imperfections in a way that is endearing, and that perspective can be contagious.

Cons

  • There is some 'naughty' language, which may be offensive to some readers.
  • There's also some sexual content, as in the hilarious, "Dinah, The Christmas Whore."  For some people, this will add some hilarious irreverence, but others may find it uncomfortable or even offensive.  You probably know which side of the line you fall on.
  • There are references to homosexuality in some of the essays, such as, "I Like Guys," which may not be enjoyable for some readers.  This is another area where you are encouraged to use your own discretion. 

Description

  • There are 17 essays included in this collection, dealing with David Sedaris' youth.
  • Both hilarious and sad, these essays can take you from your stresses for a few minutes--or hours.
  • Sedaris' attitude is infectious; you might find yourself handling stress in a more lighthearted way.  
  • Those who like David Sedaris should also enjoy Frost, Wilder, Dickens, Salinger, Steinbeck and Rand.

Guide Review - "Naked" by David Sedaris

I consider this New York Times bestselling essay collection to be a good book for stress relief for several reasons. Although it’s not an obvious ‘stress management’ book, it’s an excellent distraction from everyday stresses and provides a good mental break, allowing you to return to your life’s issues with a fresh perspective. Another benefit of this book is the fact that it’s hilarious! Laughter can be great for reducing your stress level, boosting your immune system and more, and this book actually makes me laugh out loud. (In fact, I’ve had to put the book down at times because I was laughing so hard!) But what I think makes this book truly great for stress management is how he handles difficult situations in his life. He’s great at showing his own and others’ faults in a comical, forgiving light.

He does have some real challenges, and seeing how he addresses them in a responsible, compassionate and humorous way has helped me see my own struggles in a more positive light.

I do need to say that this book isn’t for everyone. It does address some adult and sexual themes, and David is gay (as you discover in the chapter titled, “I Like Guys”). Some coarse language is used, and his subtle brand of humor doesn’t hit everyone’s funnybone. But for many, many people, the humorous books of David Sedaris, “Naked” in particular, hold so many benefits. (For those who don’t care for David Sedaris, I would recommend another David: Dave Barry, who’s also hilarious.)

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