My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoy David Sedaris's humor. This story has a very original perspective on the holiday season. The protagonist is a Macy's elf, Crumpet/Blisters, and - through him - we get a behind-the-scenes look at the business of manufactured levity.
There is a bitter tone to much of the story, and it's a useful vehicle for us to dress in the skin of the elf, to make it all more believable. It's very credible, especially the anecdotes about how the outrageous parents and their needful children live without regard to the people around them. The elves and santas, of course, forge bonds to get through alive.
A lot of the humor stretches the imagination. Transposing Santa and Satan for example... "Satan will be right with you." "Everyone loves Satan." That just couldn't happen, right? But there is enough purchase of credibility that, well, maybe it could have. Oh, I forget this is all a story, but no, it's non-fiction. This is a memoir. No, I just can't believe it. The kid peeing in the fake ice, sure... even the "Your pictures will be ready August 10."
And, yes, you can hear an excerpt on "This American Life." It's well worth it. I think they do it sometimes on "Morning Edition" too.
What else? There are other short stories too? Mine just has the one. The story about the Christmas whore sounds great!
Anyway, this is good stuff. I don't know why I read it in August, but it seems appropriate. Next time I see a photo elf, I'm going to give him/her a thumbs up.
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