David Sedaris is at his best when writing his memories. The first of the six stories was my favorite. His description of being an elf at Macy's was hilarious and when I tried to read parts out loud to my husband, I was laughing too hard to finish. I love his sarcastic yet amused outlook on life.
I didn't love the other stories, but they were a fun read. He knows when to lay it on thick and poke fun at the hyprocrasy of Christmas and how it's about the *idea* of giving in many cases. The annual Christmas letter is also lampooned, and he goes so over the top with it that you have to laugh.
Not my favorite Sedaris book, but SantaLand Diaries alone made it worth the read.
I've listened to David Sedaris on APM's This American Life for years now, and finally decided that I'd like to read some of his books. So I requested a bunch on paperbackswap.com, and Holidays on Ice is the first that showed up.
This book has six stories; three original and three previously published. One of them, the SantaLand Diaries has been everywhere, and I'd heard about it before. It's also the best story in the book.
Overall, the book is kind of hit-and-miss. The stories based on his own life are the best (often making me laugh out loud), but his fictional pieces seem a bit forced.
I loved When You are Engulfed in Flames and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Sedaris wit, sarcasm and ironic outlook on life, friends and family made me a fan and I am now reading his back catalog.
I picked up Holidays on Ice figuring it might be a tonic to the over commercialization of the Christmas Season. I was right and I was wrong. The first story Santaland Diaries was exactly what I was looking for, a skewering of all the things wrong with the mad rush holiday shopping season. It was funny and witty and I knew I was in for a treat. Then I read the next story, which was Greetings to Our Friends and Family, a twisted look at the ubiquitous holiday letter, it was a little too dark and nasty for me. Then I read Christmas Means Giving, a tale of keeping up with the neighbors that turns very grisly.
Several of the stories I had read before in Flames and Corduroy, so that was a bit of a disappointment, I didnt realize all the stories werent new. One of the other more memorable stories was Dinah, the Christmas Whore which was quite funny and rather touching. Of course it was a story involving Davids family, where I find his humor at its best. I also really enjoyed Jesus Saves, a hilarious story of Davids French class where everyone of a different nationality tries to explain Easter.
So overall this collection was very uneven and it actually took me a month to read this very slight book, because parts of it were just too dark and a little shocking for me.
"Santa Land Diaries" was hysterical reading, though personally I thought "Season's Greetings" crossed the line from sarcastic to not funny, bordering on sick and twisted. Overall, the book was okay, though I liked Me Talk Pretty One Day a whole lot more.
Giving this book a rating was a bit difficult. For the most part I was not impressed by the short stories in the book. HOWEVER, I did thoroughly enjoy the first rather lengthy story about Sedaris' stint as an elf at Macy's. I found that an extremely funny and well crafted story. Had that been his only offering I would have given him 4 stars.
I adore David Sedaris and had been keeping this book on my shelf for months now, just waiting for the holidays to come so I could properly enjoy it. As usual, Sedaris's wit is sharp and biting. One story in particular (the second one)had me laughing out loud with tears in my eyes it was so ridiculously hilarious. This is one of his best, in my opinion.
Sedaris' twisted humor, at times, was a bit too much for me. The stories were entertaining and somewhat funny, but just okay. Fortunately, it is a quick read. For those who like his type of dark humor, this would be enjoyable. Not really my cup of tea.
Highly disappointing. The first story was great but it was downhill from there. I think that his collections of short stories would benefit a lot if he varied the lengths and used a length comparable to the style he is mocking.
"Santaland Diaries" is hands-down one of the all time funniest pieces ever written--and even better when hearing it read out loud by the author (his "Away in a Manger" a la Billie Holliday is perfection). The other stories in this volume are a bit darker, but still funny and biting.
Do not read this expecting lovely, charming Christmas stories. There are some lovely and charming aspects, but for the most part I read this with my hand covering my mouth, trying to hold in--what felt like an inappropriate laugh. Witty, shocking, and so very politically incorrect. But so funny, too.
Six of David Sedaris's most profound Christmas stories in one slender volume. Perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even in the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should in short, behave much like a book. AND, OH, WHAT A BOOK IT IS!