Theft by Finding
A book review by Lyle Bicking
My first encounter with David Sedaris's work was through This American Life where his short story and essay readings were always a pleasant surprise. Others may have been introduced through any one of his best sellers.
David Sedaris's Theft by Finding is a celebration of the small things. Throughout his collected journal entries, he muses on activities like picking fruit or enjoying one’s morning joe. But the small is not all Sedaris has to offer. Sandwiched between eloquent descriptions of his day to day are raw and sometimes brutal moments of desperation– dealing with instances of substance abuse, sexual assault and violence-- each heightened by the humor and relative calm of the book. While reading I found myself lost in his normal as it changed over time. Theft by finding is the story of many things. The development of Sedaris's writing, his growth as a person, and his rise into prominence. It is a story told from the perspective of someone who isn't quite sure where it is going. As a result, when life gives Sedaris hurdles, they are as relatable as they are unexpected much like in our own lives.
At the time of writing many of us have been following social distancing, choosing to stay home to help slow the spread of Covid 19. In many ways we are unable to live our lives as we previously knew them. In times such as these, books such as this can play an important role by letting the reader live vicariously through the lens of an author. David Sedaris’s theft by finding plays this role to a tee.