Looking for some of David Sedaris’ highly recommended original prose, I found only this collection of short stories that he edited. I got it anyway.
I wasn’t impressed. Don’t get me wrong: Tobias Wolff is an excellent author, and there are some good stories in here, but I came looking for Sedaris; I had hoped these short stories would be akin to his style, and they weren’t. Some stories are even—I think—frightfully droll.
Mind you, I’ve never been one for short story collections anyway, so my opinion is necessarily biased; it could be that CPBaSoH is absolutely fantastic according to whatever metric governs the judgment of anthologies. Or, it may be that you will find it as unimpressive as I have. Whatever the case, if you’ve bought it, your money went to a good cause (826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring program for underprivileged kids, an offshoot of Dave Eggers’s 826 Valencia; ironically enough, Egger’s annual anthologies of “The Best American Non-Required Reading” I also find somewhat droll).
Perhaps the problem is that the stories are a mixed bag. Because this collection is nothing less than Sedaris’ favorites stories, they run the gamut both in style and in age. This gives the collection a chaotic feel, and going from one story to the next felt jarring to me.