Me Talk Pretty One Day, published in 2000, is a bestselling collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book is separated into two parts. The first part consists of essays about Sedaris’s life before his move to Normandy, France, including his upbringing in suburban Raleigh, North Carolina, his time working odd jobs in New York City, and a visit to New York from a childhood friend and her bumpkinish girlfriend. The second section, "Deux", tells of Sedaris’s move to Normandy with his partner Hugh, often drawing humor from his efforts to live in France without speaking the French language and his frustrated attempts to learn it. Prior to publication, several of the essays were read by the author on the Public Radio International program, This American Life.
In April 2001, Variety reported that Sedaris had sold the Me Talk Pretty One Day film rights to director Wayne Wang, who was adapting four stories from the book for Columbia Pictures with hopes of beginning shooting in late 2001. At the time, Sedaris commented, "It's just one of those things I had never considered. Like, 'What if I de-clawed a kitten?' But I like Wayne Wang a lot." He recommended Jack Lemmon to play his father and Elaine Stritch for his mother. Wang had completed the script and begun casting when Sedaris asked to "get out of it," after a conversation with his sister aroused concerns as to how his family might be portrayed on screen. He wrote about the conversation and its aftermath in the essay "Repeat After Me", published in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Sedaris recounted that Wang was "a real prince. I didn't want him to be mad at me, but he was so grown up about it. I never saw how it could be turned into a movie anyway."
- "Go Carolina" - David is forced to go to his elementary school speech therapist for his lisp.
- "Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities" - Lou enrolls David in guitar lessons taught by a dwarf.
- "Genetic Engineering" - David discusses the disparate interests between Lou and the rest of the family.
- "Twelve Moments in the Life of the Artist" - David presents his own efforts to establish himself as a performance artist while fueled by methamphetamine.
- "You Can't Kill the Rooster" - Despite his horrible language, David's brother, Paul, has a kind heart.
- "The Youth in Asia" - David recounts the different pets he grew up and their demises.
- "The Learning Curve" - David gets a job as a writing teacher and satirizes his efforts at conducting workshops.
- "Big Boy" - While attending a party, David finds himself trying to get rid of a huge turd left in the toilet by the previous visitor.
- "The Great Leap Forward" - A woman who lives in a big house hires David as her personal assistant; subsequently he works for a moving company.
- "Today's Special" - David pokes fun at over-elaborately prepared foods and their fanciful descriptions on menus.
- "City of Angels" - A lesbian childhood friend from North Carolina comes to visit David in New York, and brings along her rather country bumpkin girlfriend she recently met who seems to express culture shock much to the annoyance of David and even her girlfriend.
- "A Shiner Like a Diamond" - David's sister, Amy, is to be profiled in a New York magazine, an event that occasions David to recall that Lou is obsessed with the Sedaris sisters looking thin and beautiful; they play a practical joke on him.
- "Nutcracker.com" - David recalls his reluctance to join the internet.
- "See You Again Yesterday" - David recalls his first visits to Normandy with his partner Hugh.
- "Me Talk Pretty One Day" - David recalls a French class he took in Paris.
- "Jesus Shaves" - David recounts a day in the Parisian French class where the class explained Easter to a Moroccan woman.
- "The Tapeworm Is In" - David buys a Walkman to aid learning French.
- "Make That a Double" - David explains that he finds gender assignment the most challenging aspect of learning French
- "Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa" - David compares the childhood of his partner, Hugh, to his own; where his boyhood had been pedestrian, Hugh's is exotic.
- "21 Down" - David talks about his crossword addiction.
- "The City of Light in the Dark" - David enjoys going to the movies in Paris more than seeing the usual cultural sights.
- "I Pledge Allegiance to the Bag" - David satirizes French ideas of what Americans are like.
- "Picka Pocketoni" - American tourists mistake David for a pickpocket while riding the train in Paris.
- "I Almost Saw This Girl Get Killed" - David recalls an evening at the county fair near his home in France.
- "Smart Guy" - David and Hugh take IQ tests. Hugh outscores David.
- "The Late Show" - David lists the different fantasies he mulls over while trying to sleep at night.
- "I'll Eat What He's Wearing" - A visit from Lou prompts David to remember Lou's penchant for economizing, buying and storing food past reasonable limits.
- ^Fleming, Michael. "'Wave' duo pilot cable; Wang's 'Pretty' deal", Variety, 2001-04-05. Retrieved on 2007-10-07.
- ^ abcLafreniere, Steve. "Amy and David Sedaris", Index Magazine, 2001. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
- ^Tyrangiel, Josh. "10 Questions for David Sedaris", Time, 2004-06-21. Retrieved on 2007-10-07.
A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another inspiration. You Cant Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers and cashiers with 6-inch fingernails. Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is an amazing reader whose appearances draw hundreds, and his performancesincluding a jaw-dropping impression of Billie Holiday singing I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weinerare unforgettable. Sedariss essays on living in Paris are some of the funniest hes ever written. At last, someone even meaner than the French! The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humour that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had had a love child. Entertainment Weekly on Barrel Fever Sidesplitting Not one of the essays in this new collection failed to crack me up; frequently I was helpless. The New York Times Book Review on Naked