Wednesday, August 24, 2005



next of kin

I found the book hidden in the woods beneath a sheet of plywood, its cover torn away and the pages damp with mildew.

Brock and Bonnie Rivers stood in their driveway waving good-bye to the Reverend Hassleback.

"Good-bye," they said, waving.

"Good-bye," the reverend responded. "Tell those two teens of yours, Josh and Sandi, that they'll make an excellent addition to our young persons' ministry. They're fine kids," he said with a wink. "Almost as fine and foxy as their parents!"

The Rivers chuckled, raising their hands in another wave. When the reverend's car finally left the driveway, they stood for a moment in the bright sunshine before descending into the basement dungeon to unshackle the children.

The theme of the book was that people are not always what they seem. Highly respected in their upper-middle-class community, the Rivers family practiced a literal interpretation of the phrase "Love thy neighbor."....

No, unfortunately I neither wrote the above passage nor did I find such an interesting book on my bike ride down Lang Road today. This savory little literary tidbit comes from an essay in David Sedaris' book "Naked", which I hope you go out and get immediately if you haven't already read it. They even have German translations in the Stadtbibliothek in Dresden, now you have no excuse. Or you can borrow my English copy when I'm back in Dresden. What made me think of this was a big soggy box of sunbleached books I found in the ditch on my bike ride this evening, but they were lame romance novels and stuff like "The Clinic" or something. Yawn.

You guessed it, I'm in Beaverton, my hometown and the place which one of my friends dubbed as being like a "Siberian prison". Or was it "worse than a Siberian prison"? I can't remember, but it's really not that bad. Unfortunately, though, I can't upload any pictures right now, but will on Thursday. Just a hint of what's in store for my dear readers: pictures of me drinking boba tea, frolicking at a baseball game in Detroit, even some majestic whitetail deer! But definitely no pictures of my parents' cats, because I don't want to upset my bunnies and worsen the psychological damage they are already experiencing due to my absence!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for the book recommendation, but I believe at least your readers in Dresden have a convincing excuse. A quick look at the catalog of the Stadtbibliothek shows that the book has been lent out since months. Moreover, I am not sure whether your students have your permission to read German translations of English books. And of course, the title of the book is a little bit alarming. Do you really believe this is the right book for us?

A concerned student

skreader said...

Hello Readers,
I appreciate your concern. I realize the title "Naked" does sound a bit risque, but the essays contained in this book are mainly tales of Sedaris' family and youth. And, though it is of course much better to read the book in its original English, it could be a bit frustrating for non-native speakers, and sometimes our brains do need a break from English (or any foreign language) so they're ready to learn even more!
-a concerned English teacher