The primary genre of David Sedaris’s work is humor. Because it is an essay, it is a type of nonfiction. It may be classified as personal narrative, memoir, or autobiography.
Humorous works can be fiction or nonfiction. One feature that Sedaris uses which is commonly found in humor is hyperbole, or extreme exaggeration. One example occurs in his description of his utter lack of style or fashion sense in comparison to his French classmates. He also exaggerates considerably in various spots in the narrative, such as the way he presents his and his classmates’ interactions with their teacher, whom he conveys is a merciless sadist who seems to despise her students.
Sedaris writes truthfully about his own experiences, so his essays are autobiographical. However, personal narrative or memoir are probably more appropriate classifications for this and other essays. In a book-length work, autobiography is distinguished by type of organization, which is a chronological arrangement of the author’s life events. In a short work, because the essay primarily presents Sedaris’s own perspectives, it might be classified as personal narrative. However, he does offer the views of other members of his class, so an argument could be made for considering it under the broader heading of memoir.