The book is a collection of essays and I find short stories less satisfying than novels -just as I get into them, they end, which frustrates me.
As the title suggests there is a big section on Sedaris trying to give up smoking. I don’t smoke – and don’t like the smell or taste of cigarettes – so the humour wasn’t enough to overcome my distaste of the habit and my lack of sympathy with Sedaris’ eulogies on the subject.
However if you like short stories and are more tolerant than I am about smoking, there were many other parts of the book that me laugh out loud – and in public. My favourite was Sedaris’ search for a “discreet, masculine and practical” male accessory which led him to try out an external catheter:
“What ultimately did me in was the self-adhesive condom. Putting it on was mo problem, but its removal qualified as what, in certain cultures, is known as a bris. Wear it once, and you’ll need a solid month to fully recover. It will likely be a month in which you’ll weigh the relative freedom of peeing in your pants against the unsightly discomfort of a scab-covered penis, ultimately realising that, in terms of a convenient accessory, you’re better of with a new watchband.”