Book Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (David Sedaris)

Book Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (David Sedaris)

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris with illustrations by Ian Falconer


Fables, particularly ones using animals as the characters and giving them human like traits, is as old as Aesop. (Probably older really, but we really only think about Aesop’s Fables). Anthropomorphism has been a literary device since the beginning of time when we used it as a way to describe the behavior of animals, gods, spirits, and other deities or things we couldn’t figure out – as we were just trying to figure out the world itself. Animal based fables have been used as a way of highlighting a point, providing satire or parody, or just illuminating our behaviors through the guise of an animal – and in doing so, driving home the point more.

David Sedaris uses his little animal fables to showcase some of modern time’s more interesting foibles amongst the humans. Sometimes just comedic, sometimes poignant, sometimes meta, sometimes downright ludicrous, but all enlightening about ‘us’. Little things, big things, little topics, big topics, they are all covered here. (And with wonderful illustrations to go with it as well.)

David Sedaris

Sedaris is known for his sardonic, satirical voice, a bit of an ‘everyman’ but also a humorous, sarcastic, satiric one. He has several books to his name, as well as lots of contributions to different magazines, newspapers, and other medias (documentaries, movies, comedy shows, etc.). His sister is Amy Sedaris (actress and writer) and they have worked together on some projects.

David Raymond Sedaris (/sɪˈdɛərɪs/; born December 26, 1956)[1][2] is an American humorist, comedian, author, and radio contributor. He was publicly recognized in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay “Santaland Diaries“. He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. He is the brother and writing collaborator of actor Amy Sedaris.

Much of Sedaris’s humor is ostensibly autobiographical and self-deprecating and often concerns his family life, his middle-class upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, his Greek heritage, homosexuality, jobs, education, drug use, and obsessive behaviors, and his life in France, London, and the English South Downs.

David Sedaris (Wikipedia Introduction)

For more information on him, check out his Wikipedia page and his GoodReads pages:

Book Review

Featuring David Sedaris’s unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

In “The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck,” three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In “Hello Kitty,” a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In “The Squirrel and the Chipmunk,” a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.

With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children’s books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.

Squirrel Seeks Chimpunk (GoodReads Blurb)

This is certainly a fun, and sarcastic look at human foibles. Satirical and a parody of our own lives, South Park like in many ways. Its interesting to see that Ian Falconer is the illustrator and author for the Olivia series of books, and I can definitely see that in his artwork now (my oldest two daughters loved the Olivia book series), but these images in this book, are much more graphic (showing pus, guts, violence, blood, visceral, etc.).

The illustrations do work perfectly with the different stories / fables. As the fables / stories can get rather graphic themselves – oh yes, spoiler alert possibly – but these are definitely not fables for the faint of heart. (Looking at the story of the bear in particular, and with the graphic illustration to go with it…. or the two lab rats…. or the raven with the ewe’s eye….)

No topic is really sacrosanct in this volume either. He covers prejudices, racism, religion, bigotry, politics, parenting, friends, greed, and all of our other vices and avarice. The Storks are used to discuss parenting (shocking huh? but not in the way your thinking about them), the lab rats are used to discuss “new age” thought (positive vibes, good thinking, etc.), the bear shows the ways people manipulate others over their grief, the chipmunk and the squirrel shows the bigotry and racism of our past generations, etc, etc, etc.

The reviews on Amazon and GoodReads on the book are pretty interesting. Comments ranging from “deranged” to “disgusting” to “hopeless” and then going up to the realms of flattery calling it “sarcastic fun”, “satirical gold”, etc. It certainly has evoked a lot of different opinions amongst many readers. That’s not too surprising really; you get a lot of “I didn’t know this was going to be like that” kind of responses. Its akin to Untappd reviewers saying “Good beer, but stouts aren’t my style” and then proceeding to give it a 1 out of 5 cap review. (Check out some of the blogs and Facebook pages devoted to “Untappd Reviews”.)

Overall, my thoughts are that its a fun enjoyable read. You might need a bit of a dark or twisted sense of humor (which luckily I have in spades), and maybe the pictures might be a bit ‘gross’ at times, but they are beautifully drawn. The fables are mostly short and makes the book a quick read.

My GoodReads Rating: ***
Global Average GoodReads Rating: 3.37 (as of 10.17.21)
My LibraryThing Rating: ***.5

Thanks For Reading

Thank you everyone for reading another book review here on The Beer Thrillers. I really appreciate you all taking the time to come check out our writings and reviews and blog. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comments section here.


-B. Kline

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