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Publisher's Summary

David Sedaris, the “champion storyteller,” (Los Angeles Times) returns with his first new collection of personal essays since the bestselling Calypso.

Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask—or not—was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.

But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he’s stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine. 

As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger’s teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone’s son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with Help Wanted signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter. 

In Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris once again captures what is most unexpected, hilarious, and poignant about these recent upheavals, personal and public, and expresses in precise language both the misanthropy and desire for connection that drive us all. If we must live in interesting times, there is no one better to chronicle them than the incomparable David Sedaris. 

©2022 David Sedaris (P)2022 Little, Brown & Company
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Critic Reviews

"Sedaris's latest update on his family and society brings the funny. Still, there's growing depth and empathy in his writing and delivery. Sure, shooting guns with his sister and visiting his nonagenarian father bring laugh-out-loud moments. But profound reflections also pepper his writing as his tone and delivery match his heartrending observations. Sedaris chronicles the Covid-19 pandemic and all the absurdities of reactions to precautions. His voice matches the frustration and bewilderment of lockdown and life behind a mask." (AudioFile)

“A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect… Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.”—Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about Happy-Go-Lucky

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Great except for an audio glitch

At the end of chapter 8, the audio is overlapped. Is there a way to get a copy that is as perfect as the stories being told?

20 people found this helpful

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Stop Scapegoating Tiffany

This books get a 1 star, because Audible won't let me give it 0.

The essay in which David discounts and disparages his sister Tiffany is vile. She was clearly the scapegoat for this family. The fact that David Seders feels the need to still defend himself and his family against Tiffany, who has been dead for years, shows what a small-minded, spiritually devoid, selfish little man he is.

Even without this essay, this book is completely unremarkable, cold and superficial. It's full of racist and misogynistic undertones, full of the kind of arrogance only the most privileged, old, white men can generate.

Some people grow as they age and their art becomes transcendent and timeless. David Seders is clearly going the other direction.

It's sad that so many people are raving about this book. Sad, sad, sad.

16 people found this helpful

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Always 5 out of 5 stars

I love everything David Sedaris writes. I was dissapointed that so much of the book was previously published in The New Yorker though.

I enjoyed the story about his father's inappropriate behavior. I know that's horrible to say, but I've been reading his books since he was just breaking out in the 90s, and while he is a master of self depreciation, I've always sensed huge intentional gaps about his family dynamic. Obviously, the family has a right to their privacy, so I truly appreciate his willingness to share such difficult topics with us all.

I miss stories about his mother. It is clear in his essays that he loved her so deeply, and even when he relays negative details he does it with such care and delicacy. I enjoy her stories immensely.

14 people found this helpful

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Funny but Dark.

I loved this as all David Sedaris books. However, it is far darker than any other essay collection he has made to date. It works though because the world is dark and he has had personal upheaval.
If you are having a bad day and were expecting a laugh maybe wait until you are in a better mood. Far more disturbing and sad in places than any of his work so far.
But, he is David Sedaris one of my favorite writers and this was engrossing and entertaining from start to finish.

12 people found this helpful

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My first and last Sedaris book

I've been aware of this author for years, never heard his schtick in person and I've never before read one of his books. My sister raved nonstop about this book so I bought it. The vignettes described, i.e., the overall story, are dark and to be honest, when not dark, boring. The narration is surprisingly banal and one-note. I was prepared to love this book. I was expecting a dark comedy. Instead, I was left with this thought- If I want to be depressed, if I want to listen to the complaints of a bitter man, I'll just watch the news. (Which I never do.)

10 people found this helpful

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Honestly David Sedaris

I’m a dedicated fan of David Sedaris, he is a gifted narrator as well as writer. Ive seen him live and have had him sign my favorite books he’s written,
I was so looking forward to this book, I was not disappointed.
This is raw, this is real. I feel he has always shared his life with his readers and for those who agree, this is a deep eloquent dive.

7 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

Very funny and insightful. One of his best. After listening to an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross I expected it to be more serious, maybe she didn't read the whole book? I can recommend this book if you like David Sedaris, you won't be disappointed.

6 people found this helpful

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Great!

There's a voice overlap in Chapter 8 31:30 and Calypso is still better. But overall, it's still brilliant!

5 people found this helpful

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Super happy that I pre-ordered this audiobook!!!

David Sedaris is one of my absolute favorite comedians. His brand of humor is totally cup of tea.This audiobook, like most of his audiobooks, entertains with perfect timing and hilarious writing. In my opinion, this is one of his best. So grateful for all of the laughing that this book blessed me with. Even the serious and emotional family relationship issues that I could identify with you heart and soul.

4 people found this helpful

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  • PD
  • 06-01-22

The first story

The first story I listened to a week after Uvalde. Too bad it’s an evergreen story. “Oh to be alive and free.”

4 people found this helpful