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Book Review: Holidays on Ice

Because he is one of my favorite authors, it surprises me how many people still don't know about the awesome hilarity that is David Sedaris. If you’ve never read anything by him, Holidays on Ice is a great introduction, and if you’re already a fan, now is a great time to revisit some of his older (and seasonal) work.

In this collection of essays, Sedaris alternates between his own dark and funny non-fiction and purely fictional holiday-themed humor. If you’ve ever resented that “perfect” family and their annual letters probably filled with half-truths, “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!” is a highly satisfying read, presenting the downward spiral of the fictional Dunbar family in the form of their increasingly deteriorating annual Christmas letters. In “Santaland Diaries,” Sedaris describes his experiences working as a Christmas elf in a department store, highlighting in a funny/sad way how some parents view their kids as tiresome accessories.

To hear about my personal favorite essay,

My personal favorite, “Dinah the Christmas Wh*re,” is the story of how the Sedaris family found togetherness and Christmas joy when a prostitute named Dinah became their guest of honor. The essay is typical of the sort of dark innocence in Sedaris's writing, as though to say, “Just reporting the facts, folks! Isn't it crazy?!” Sedaris’ offbeat humor may not appeal to everyone, and in truth this isn’t his best work ever. (That would be a toss-up between Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day.). But as a quick-read during the holidays, this thin volume is the perfect treat.

Check out this review and lots of other great book reviews in The Book Club group!


Join The Conversation
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I love this book! Any fans of Sedaris should check out Augusten Burroughs. He's hilarious, too.
sunnydaysahead sunnydaysahead 10 years
I re-read this book this December and was surprised at how dark the Santaland Diaries were -- I had forgotten how bitterly he paints the whole scene of Christmas in Santaland. But it's a hilarious book, and whenever I start reading it to friends they always end up taking it from me and then buying/borrowing the book!
purpleisafruit purpleisafruit 10 years
I'm going to have to check this one out as well!
LizaToad LizaToad 10 years
vintage - laurie notaro is awesome. i love her self-depreciating humor
LizaToad LizaToad 10 years
i love dave sadaris, but somehow never read this one. i'm going to stop by barnes and noble right away. i alwasys look for his essays in the new yorker.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
I enjoy listening to David Sedaris on NPR and reading his essays. I've especially enjoyed giving his books to my husband over the years; he may have the whole collection by now. We also think Me Talk Pretty is his best, but Holiday on Ice is fun to read again at the holidays.
la_clique la_clique 10 years
I give this one to somebody pretty much every Christmas. And I think Me Talk Pretty is the best, the France stories-esp the language classes make me LOL.
Nan-Einhart Nan-Einhart 10 years
I read this book when it first came out. It was the David Sedaris book I read. I had heard his commentary on NPR. He is hilarious. Another hilarious book about dysfunction at Christmas is An Idiot Girl's Christmas by Laurie Notaro.
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