Monday, December 15, 2008

a review of Holidays on Ice

Holidays on Ice (unabridged audio CD) by David Sedaris

Aww....the 'holiday' season is upon us. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men., fa la la la la!! Generous giving of gifts, trees decorated to perfection...or at least that the way it is in the Hallmark movies! But for the rest of us, for whom the reality of the season might not quite live up to these snowy ideals, Holidays on Ice might just be the perfect companion.

Be forewarned. Mr. Sedaris' view, while often truly laugh out loud funny, is also rather dark and sarcastic. Of course, for some of us, that sharp biting humor is just the thing to cut through the teeth achingly sweet vision of sugarplums foisted upon us. The book is made up of 12 essays, the majority about Christmas but a couple about Halloween and Easter as well. The book opens with the longest, and in my opinion the funniest story, Santa Land Diaries, about the 30 something author's stint as an elf at Macy's Santa Land. Now I was in those lines at NYC's Macy several times when my niece was a wee one, and it is very easy to see the truth in this expose about the behind the scene working of Santa and his elves...and most of all the often bizarre actions of those bringing their kids to see the Big Fellow from the North Pole. Very, very funny, but I am rather happy that I will most likely not be going back there. Don't eat the yellow artificial snow.....noooooooo.

My other favorites were 'Dinah, The Christmas Whore', a funny and yet rather sad story of a Christmas visitor to the dysfunctional Sedaris home, and 'Six to Eight Black Men', an extremely amusing essay on certain differences in how other cultures celebrate the holiday.
As in any collection of stories, a few did not quite live up to that level for me, 'Front Row Center With Thaddeus Bristol' and 'The Monster Mash' (but then I am not really a great fan of Halloween) among them, but as a whole this is a book that I can strongly recommend.

That is, assuming you don't mind a big dash of darkness, sarcasm and some strong language with your holiday humor. Be forewarned again...this is not for the kiddies. Unless you family is a wee bit twisted.

The version that I am reviewing is the unabridged audio edition, courtesy of Anna at Hachette Books (thank you very much Anna!) and without question the audio format, read by Mr. Sedaris himself, is ideal for this book. But I must admit I am new to audio books and have discovered they are not without their dangers! I downloaded the CDs to my iPod and happily went off on a Christmas shopping adventure. And so I found that while you can get away with laughing while alone in your car, if you start to giggle while in the checkout line at Smith and Hawkins or burst into laughter while perusing the aisles at the Sur la Table store, you may get some strange looks.
Well, at least I was not wearing an elf suit!

For another review of this book, visit bermudaonion's weblog to read her take.

Available from Amazon


  1. I love David Sedaris. This book is on my TBR pile and I should be getting to it shortly. Thank you for the wonderful review!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

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  4. Ooops...technical error...

    now, as I was saying..
    I never read anything of his before and will have to put him on my wishlist.

  5. I just read this book, and I imagine this audiobook format is hysterical (and, yes, perhaps embarrassing to listen to, and LOL at, while shopping!).

    I liked the same stories you did - the ones that were based (very roughly) on something that Sedaris experienced.


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