These animal fables are hilarious but in the way that makes you go 'Ouch!' Nasty, close to the bone - or, in one relatively touching(!!!??) instance - closer to a hippo's asshole than I would personally care to get. These are not, on the whole, nice animals. Some of them are as unpleasant as the unpleasant people you know from the office, but others are like people you fortunately only come across in the media. There was a rabbit who reminded me irresistibly of George Zimmerman. Then again, there were a couple of birds I must have met a hundred times. I still haven't figured out what to do about those birds. It's only because I allow my moral code to override my natural instincts that they aren't lying upside down, plucked and roasted on a piece of toast by now. But reading Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk made me feel a lot more vicious and who knows what may happen next time. So, it really isn't for everyone, especially not for people who like to maintain a sunny, optimistic attitude towards their fellow humans.
What else? Well, the book broke my regionalized book classification system. The style is so thoroughly continental European, the subject matter belongs to the English-speaking world, especially but not exclusively to the USA. I wasn't in the least surprised to learn that Sedaris is American but living in France. There's an obvious connection between his stories and those of La Fontaine. La Fontaine was vicious for his time as well. His stories were were meant for adults, but for some reason, they're now read to French children and always used to make me cry. I'm old and cynical now but all the same, I should have spread this book out over several weeks. There was definitely a point where I was thinking, 'Okay, David Sedaris, you know, one of the reasons I read books is so I can avoid being with people like this all the time!'