Book Review: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

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Title: Holidays on Ice

Author: David Sedaris

Genre: Humor/Short Stories

Number of Pages: 125

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes



I had no particular plans to read this book until I came upon it at the local library shortly after finishing Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. Neither of these books are particularly long and I figured I’d check out a really short read to go along with my longer ones and familiarize myself more with David Sedaris’ work. I think I read the whole book in one day, but even so I didn’t exactly love it. Holidays on Ice is a collection of darkly humorous short stories that all share a Christmas-y theme, and it was definitely a mixed bag for me. The first story. ‘The Santaland Diaries,’ was probably the best and definitely the funniest; it’s highly cynical outlook isn’t for everybody but I laughed my ass off.


‘Season’s Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!’ was a lot darker and went into territory that would be considered to be mildly offensive at best, but it was also witty and incisively misanthropic. It was also the only story in the collection that I’d consider to have an actual element of suspense in it as to what the payoff would be. Unfortunately the final story in the collection, ‘Christmas Means Giving,’ was aggressively one-note and in extremely poor taste, and trust me when I say I am not the kind of person who is easily offended. It felt like a vulgar joke told by a person with a nasty, cruel sense of humor and too much alcohol in their system who can’t help but go on and on while enjoying the sound of their own voice.


Strictly speaking the story wasn’t particularly long at all, but I still felt a tremendous sense of relief when it was finally over. Overall I would say this book is worth reading for the couple of stories that are good quality (there all only six stories overall.) Besides, our senses of humor might totally differ from each other’s and you might find yourself enjoying the stories I thought were mediocre or outright disliked.


On a side note, I thought the obvious similarities toward this book’s cover art of Santa standing at a urinal and the photograph portraying Santa exposing himself on the cover of You Better Not Cry, a book by Augusten Burroughs (another gay writer who specializes in dark humor) was interesting. I wonder if it’s a coincidence? I’m still interested in reading more of Sedaris’ books, even though I have mixed feelings about some of his stuff I can tell he’s one of those authors who writes some stuff that’s so-so but when he’s good, he knocks it out of the ballpark.

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