Don’t Get Too Comfortable is what I imagine in my mind that NPR is on its worst day. Privileged white people telling mildly amusing stories about the pains of being rich. Did you see the resort where I had to stay last week? Did I tell you what a letdown it was to fly on the Concord?
In many ways, this book reminded me of David Sedaris. Stories that are hyper aware of just how witty that the author thinks they are. However, where I found David Sedaris was mean, David Rakoff was more self-depreciating.
I think part of the issue was that I was listening to an audio book read by the author. His voice was too soft for reading an audio book and I was constantly turning up the volume and missing key words, which I found annoying. His delivery was very slow and measured, like someone who felt entitled to hold court at a cocktail party.
It wasn’t this way all the way through. Early in the book (though still too softly) Rakoff told the story of applying for and receiving his US citizenship. He was also born in Canada and I found his reflections on becoming a citizen of a country where he had lived so long very interesting. Because of my own circumstances, I have never had to take a citizenship test or go to a ceremony where I renounced all other allegiances (which would be highly unlikely). After listening to the whole story I wondered if Rakoff became more a citizen of New York than of the whole United States.
The goodwill from this story carried me quite a bit further through the book (which was made easier by the fact that it was an audio book and I was driving) before I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying the book. Had it been a paper copy, I’m not sure I would have finished it.
I’m not sure why I always feel so bad to not like a book written by someone who has died, particularly if they died in the recent past. I heard about David Rakoff from a promo for his most recent (and post-humous) book narrated by many prominent Canadians, which made me curious. This makes me wonder if his other books are better than this one, or if I’d like the books better in paper copy.
Perhaps I need to trust my gut more and when a title annoys me –
“Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems” – to just step away from the book.