Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

75%

55 Critic Reviews

It should probably be read by any Sedaris fan, at the right time—i.e., after they’ve already read all his earlier ones.
-AV Club

Synopsis

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

With Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called "hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving" (Washington Post).
 

About David Sedaris

See more books from this Author
David Sedaris is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's "This American Life." He is the author of the books Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, and Barrel Fever.
 
Published April 23, 2013 by Little, Brown and Company. 289 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 12 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
4
Want to Read
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Have Read
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Critic reviews for Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
All: 55 | Positive: 45 | Negative: 10

Kirkus

Above average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Mar 17 2013

Those who have followed Sedaris through the years will find plenty to enjoy, though not much in the way of surprise or revelation.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by David Carr on May 17 2013

It’s only natural to laugh at all the comic abundance in “Let’s Explore,” but there’s no crime in sticking around for the humanity.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on May 14 2013

...Mr. Sedaris can be the life of your two-person party if you turn to his essays for quick, easy diversion and nothing more.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Helen Zaltzman on Apr 06 2014

Written down, in his latest collection of essays Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, the humour becomes sharper, the veil of melancholy heavier...it's jarring to arrive at one of the collection's six fictional stories and find the narrator brash and aggressive compared with the usual Sedaris satirical subterfuge.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by David Shariatmadari on Apr 26 2013

Perhaps the best thing about American mass culture, however stultifying it might be, is the quality of the dissent it tends to generate: the music of David Byrne, for instance, or the peculiar thoughts of David Sedaris.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by David Shariatmadari on Apr 26 2013

Perhaps the best thing about American mass culture, however stultifying it might be, is the quality of the dissent it tends to generate: the music of David Byrne, for instance, or the peculiar thoughts of David Sedaris.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 27 2013

David Sedaris’s newest essay collection is rife with familiar Sedaris themes: oddities in his travels...the ridiculousness of his adult life...and his family.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 29 2013

This is a must-read for fans of smart, well-crafted writing with a sense of humor.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Apr 17 2013

Plenty of personal essayists, including really good ones like Nora Ephron, Anna Quindlen and E.B. White, burn out or switch to fiction after a few books...Yet here's David Sedaris with his eighth collection...

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Tarringo Vaughan on Apr 24 2013

In his latest collection of essays, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, Sedaris takes the reader on a journey throughout the world which include the major cities of Paris, London, Toyko, Beijing, Athens, Melbourne and U.S. cities New York, Chicago and his home state of North Carolina.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Susie Boyt on Mar 07 2014

The chapters that delve inside his family’s dynamics are the ones that speak most deeply to this nosy parker, creating waves of sympathy and wry humour, as though a rather amazing stranger is addressing you and you alone.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Susie Boyt on May 10 2013

Sedaris’s best writings have a beguiling conversational tone, creating waves of sympathy, as though you are chatting intimately to a rather amazing stranger who’s addressing you and you alone.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on Apr 26 2013

With LET’S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS, his eighth book, Sedaris proves he still has it. Although some might feel he has mined the best material...in earlier books, such as NAKED and ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY, he still manages to make us laugh out loud with his sharp, witty writing.

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Heather Havrilesky on Apr 18 2013

...David Sedaris really is that good. And, based on this latest collection, he's getting only better.

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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Apr 19 2013

This is one of Sedaris’ most consistently funny collections yet, one I strongly suggest you don’t read in a library or on a high mountaintop — you’ll need all the oxygen you can get.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Phil Dyess-Nugent on May 06 2013

It should probably be read by any Sedaris fan, at the right time—i.e., after they’ve already read all his earlier ones.

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Phil Dyess-Nugent on May 06 2013

Sedaris is still funny, but there’s a considerable difference between his early essays...and this book’s many descriptions of the indignities and misunderstandings that Sedaris and his boyfriend...endure in their former adopted home of Paris

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Thom Geier on Apr 12 2013

While Sedaris' satirical gifts may not lend themselves to a full-length novel, he'd be a welcome addition to the recent short-story renaissance.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Donna Seaman on Sep 13 2013

Sedaris casts penetrating light on a world of cruelty, inanity, and absurdity that is barely but surely redeemed by humor and love.

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Craig Wilson on Apr 22 2013

...perhaps a sign that Sedaris is maturing is his essay "Memory Laps," in which he tells of his repeated attempts as a young boy to get his father's attention. Still poignant after all these years.

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Express

Good
Reviewed by Tom Cox on Apr 28 2013

...it might contain some of your biggest laughs of the decade so far, and convince you that more comic fiction would be significantly improved by being about nothing.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Athitakis on May 06 2013

“What did my life consist of before this?” he writes, mocking himself. As if he doesn’t know the answer. Then and now, he is writing. And with each scrap he picks up — be it a potato-chip bag or a Hawaii vacation — he has gathered that much more fodder for another funny book.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Michelle Griffin on Jun 07 2013

He's still got the natural storytelling ability to make a shopping list sound interesting, but that doesn't mean he should trot out lists of quirks. His best work starts funny but glides across a pit of existential nausea that gives the reader an unsettling jolt.

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We Love This Book

Good
on Sep 13 2013

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is Sedaris doing what he does best, and fans will enjoy deeper insight into his upbringing, family and relationship, which is where he gets his best material.

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Scotsman.com

Above average
Reviewed by Ashley Davies on Apr 28 2013

The stories are interspersed with short chapters written in the voices of some vile and stupid characters. These are acutely observed, but not nearly as funny as classic Sedaris discussing the “relationships” section of a Mandarin phrasebook...

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Time Out New York

Above average
Reviewed by Matthew Love on May 01 2013

While Owls could do without its handful of preachy, polemical sketches, the essays find Sedaris in fine form. Though the biggest artifacts of his life have long since been dusted off and examined, there are still discoveries from both past and present.

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The Spectator

Above average
Reviewed by Wynn Wheldon on Apr 27 2013

As with Mark Twain, Sedaris uses exaggeration for comic effect...and the reader is never entirely sure when fiction has relieved fact of its obligations to the truth.

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The Age

Above average
Reviewed by Thuy On on May 12 2013

Scattered among the signature stories are fictional monologues, mostly from conservative rednecks riffing on topics such as Jesus Christ, Barack Obama and gay marriage. They feel like padding and come across as caricatures. They don't have Sedaris' usual deft touch.

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Spectrum Culture

Good
Reviewed by Tabitha Blankenbiller on Jun 02 2013

The latest addition to the Sedaris collection is good for a laugh, some food for thought and a fast read-through—ideal characteristics for a summer book. Although it does not reach the depths of wit that his former works did, it’s definitely worth exploring.

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Vox Magazine

Good
Reviewed by Claire Landsbaum on May 02 2013

Even for readers who don’t buy into soul searching, Sedaris’ essays are just good. Their simple diction and personable tone coupled with dry, sarcastic style will force readers to bury their noses between the open pages and try — and fail — to conceal how hard they’re laughing.

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Dawn.com

Good
Reviewed by Muna Khan on Jul 21 2013

The troubles he encounters on his return to the UK made me laugh out loud. But that could be because I’m a Pakistani passport holder and enjoyed reading that even David Sedaris is not immune from the meanness of immigration officers.

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ABC Perth

Good
Reviewed by Clare Calvet on May 08 2013

Acerbic, eccentric, wry, witty and not for the faint-hearted or those easily shocked. Sedaris' latest book is a collection of autobiographical essays from someone who is a cross between Jerry Seinfeld and Augusten Burroughs.

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Las Vegas Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Rick Lax on Jun 12 2013

You can’t go wrong with Let’s Explore’s hardcopy version, but Sedaris is one storyteller who’s meant to be heard, so I recommend downloading the audible.com version today. Admit it: You, too, are curious to know what a shrunken head feels like.

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The BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Brooke on May 28 2013

We think his new book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is further proof of the author’s wit and hilarity.

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Schaumburg Township District Library

Good
on Apr 26 2013

Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist’s shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

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The Coast

Excellent
Reviewed by Whitney Moran on May 02 2013

DISCLAIMER: Do not read this book in public because you’ll look insane. Not just because you’re reading a book with the weirdest title ever, but you’ll be laughing so hard people will stare at you and clear their throats passive aggressively.

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Phoenix New Times

Good
Reviewed by Claire Lawton on Apr 23 2013

The book -- like most things Sedaris -- is a quirky blend of storytelling and observation with a healthy dose of dark humor...

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Luxury Reading

Good
Reviewed by Vera on Jul 14 2013

This collection may not bring a belly laugh, but it certainly should make you smile and may bring a chuckle or two. I may even go pick up some of his earlier works.

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Booking Mama

Below average
Reviewed by Julie P. on Jun 06 2013

...I admit that the essays about Mr. Sedaris' first colonoscopy and his dental experiences freaked me out. Mr. Sedaris is very dramatic and not afraid to give plenty of details... even the gross ones.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Above average
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Apr 23 2013

Though I did enjoy Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, on the whole, I felt it wasn’t quite as funny as previous Sedaris essay collections. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I found it more profound and reflective instead.

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Readings

Above average
Reviewed by Nicole Lee on Apr 30 2013

Sedaris won’t change your life, but he will make you snigger, especially as a school girl obsessed with Jesus and ruling the world.

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Book Journey

Good
Reviewed by Sheila on Jun 04 2013

From other Sedaris fans I have heard this is not his best writing, but for me, a newcomer, it was rather good and enough to make me want to know more about this funny witty man.

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Sophisticated Dorkiness

Good
Reviewed by Kim on Apr 23 2013

If you are a fan of Sedaris, or are looking for a collection to get into him for the first time, you won’t be disappointed starting with this one. Although it feels quieter than some of his previous work, his restraint highlights what is so funny about his way of viewing the world.

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Bibliophile By the Sea

Above average
Reviewed by Diane on Jul 03 2013

There were also some essays which did not work for me or that I did not get the point of. Some seemed rather disjointed, but because there are over 20 essays in this collection, none of them are too long or unbearable.

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Book Hooked Blog

Good
Reviewed by Julie G on Aug 19 2013

I highly recommend it, both for long-time readers of Sedaris as well as those who are new to his writing. You don't need any familiarity with his previous books to enjoy this one, and I think his sense of humor has a pretty broad appeal.

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The Booksellers New Zealand blog

Above average
on May 29 2013

Would I recommend this book? Yes, with reservations. If you were new to Sedaris you might want to start with Naked or Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

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It's Either Sadness or Euphoria

Good
Reviewed by Larry on Apr 30 2013

I'm fairly cynical about my humor, and many so-called "funny" books I don't find particularly so, especially when they've been hyped as hysterically funny. But David Sedaris' new collection is one of those books, much like Augusten Burroughs' first few, which made me laugh out loud, and left me sad when I was finished.

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Caroline Bookbinder

Good
Reviewed by Carin Siegfried on Sep 03 2013

A book of essays is always hard to review, but suffice it to say if you like Mr. Sedaris, he won't let you down here.

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The Picky Girl

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on Apr 23 2013

Although not as packed with laughs as perhaps Naked or Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Sedaris’s collection reflects a maturing essayist and humorist. Yet even with the moments of sincerity and sobering self examination, Let’s Explore Diabetes is the bold, funny, and mildly offensive return to the Sedaris for which most have long waited.

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If You Write It

Above average
on Jul 14 2013

Like all mega-successful writers, David could use a guiding hand in the form of an Editor-but being a mega-successful writer, he clearly doesn’t think he needs one.

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Books I Think You Should Read

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Parker on Apr 08 2013

Some of my favorite stories in this one was the owl story and also one about David's first colonoscopy - which, as you may know, are usually not pleasant, but Sedaris will entertain you and make you laugh because of the way he recounts his.

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Savvy Verse & Wit

Above average
Reviewed by SERENA on Jun 26 2013

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris is an interesting essay collection, but fans may find it a bit more subdued than his other work.

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Off The Tracks

Above average
Reviewed by Simon Sweetman on Jul 01 2013

...think of Owls as a collection of offcuts, the B-sides and rarities and overlooked album tracks that a band releases after its big hits set. If it’s the right band then you know that collection is still worth it...

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A Crowded Bookshelf Blog

Above average
on Apr 27 2013

...no one can blame Sedaris for not delivering a book with as much impact as his peak work; instead we must judge the book for what it is: a solid, sometimes hilarious, collection that has a few dull spots...

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The Flaneur

Good
Reviewed by Morgan Kwok on Jun 26 2013

David Sedaris has a peculiar genius, one that can make his audience choke up and laugh out loud...He writes with an air at once bittersweet and deadpan, achieving a unique alchemy.

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