How does David Sedaris connect with his audience to share his experience in Me Talk Pretty One Day?
David Sedaris draws in his readers so quickly because he makes his life an open book. He is always honest, even when that honesty might reflect poorly on him. In the "Me Talk Pretty One Day" chapter in the book of the same name, Sedaris chooses to tell his readers all about his attempts to learn French in France. First, he lets his readers know that he is terrified of his French teacher:
Her temperament was not based on a series of good and bad days but, rather, good and bad moments. We soon learned to dodge chalk and protect our heads and stomachs whenever she approached us with a question.
Next, he relates how he obsesses over his French homework so as not to incur his teacher's wrath. He plays with each homework question for for too long, hoping to carve some sort of identity out for himself:
David the hard worker, David the cut-up.
It does not work. He and his classmates commiserate during breaks and before class. They try to cheer each other up by saying that soon it will get better. For David, it does get better, in a way. Eventually, he learns enough French that he is able to understand the teacher's insults:
The teacher continued her diatribe and I settled back, bathing in the subtle beauty of each new curse and insult.
The chapter is a triumph of storytelling because Sedaris allows readers to put themselves in his shoes, and so many readers can relate to the fear of trying to appease a scornful teacher. Readers feel pity and fear for Sedaris, and they hang on every word.