Holidays on Ice
by David Sedaris
Category: Fiction / Comedy
144 pages; ISBN: 0316779237
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Cory Thomas
David Sedaris does well in this collection of six short "Christmas" stories. Three pieces had been published previously ("Santaland Diaries," "Seasons Greetings," and "Dinah, the Christmas Whore") and there are three new pieces as well. Sedaris, a witty comedy writer and sometimes reader on NPR, has a knack for using words to reveal his intentions over time.
That knack, however, sometimes becomes more a curse than a blessing. He is naturally subtle, and very clever in his subtlety. The key problem with Holidays on Ice is that it sometimes derails its droll observations by spelling out exactly what it's saying rather than teasing the audience into thinking it through. That said, the pieces that are funny are far too funny to miss, and this is certainly a book worth the read.
From the dysfunctional (albiet blatant) rich and competitive families in "Christmas Means Giving" to the absoultely beautiful derangement of "Seasons Greetings," Sedaris gives a reader characters who are both incredibly funny and wonderfully wicked. It is easy to hate them, but to love what they say sometimes as well.
When he's walking the fine line between satire and sketch comedy, Sedaris is truly at his finest in this undercutting of "traditional" Christmas values. When it doesn't work, it is forgivable because so much of it does. And it seldom needs forgiveness.
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