Review: ‘Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk’ by David Sedaris

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk David SedarisWhy have I not read more David Sedaris.

I don’t have any excuse, really. My roommate owns three or four of his books. Late last year, I read “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” which I need to read again. Because I’m running short on time for finishing this challenge before I go on my New Year’s adventure, I figured “Squirrel Seek Chipmunk” would be a good option. I sat down on my bed and had the book read within 90 minutes.

“Squirrel Meets Chipmunk” is a collection of short stories that center around different animals, each story humanizing the animals. There’s a story about how a squirrel and a chipmunk are dating, but they break up because they are too different (it’s jazz that is the relationship’s undoing). There’s another one about a mouse who owns a pet snake that she “rescued” straight from the nest, and in the end, the snake ends up eating her. All of the stories are reflective on different issues we humans face.

By the time I finished the third short story, I came to the realization that I was reading a grown-up version of Frog and Toad, which was one of my favorite childhood books. Part of that was the illustrations (not in the same style) that accompanied each story. There was plenty of humor in each story — a dark, satirical humor, which I always enjoy reading when done well.

If I had to pick a favorite story out of this bunch, it would have to be “The Grieving Owl.” The story follows an owl who has lost his mate. He goes out searching for more knowledge, which upsets his family members. “It’s not just that they’re stupid, my family — that, I could forgive. It’s that they’re actively against knowledge … All they talk about is food, food, food, which can be interesting but usually isn’t,” the owl says at the beginning of the story. When the owl goes out to hunt, he asks his prey to tell him something interesting, something to expand his knowledge. Then he lets them go, which his family takes full advantage of and eats what he does not. By the end of the story, the owl has befriended a hippo and a gerbil. It’s a wonderful story, and the last in the book.

“Squirrel Meets Chipmunk” was a delight to read, and I know I’ll probably go back and read it once this book challenge has ended.

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