Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris
Length: 176 pages (with smaller pages and larger print than normal)
If animals were more like us, if mice kept pets and toads could cuss, if dogs had wives and chipmunks dated, sheep sat still and meditated, then in the forest, field, and dairy you might find this bestiary, read by storks, by rats and kitties, skimmed by cows with milk-stained titties. "I found the book to be most droll," might quip the bear, the owl, the mole, Others, though, would be more coarse. "Bull," could say the pig and horse. As to the scribe, they'd quote the hen: "Trust me, he's no La Fontaine."
"An adult Aesop's fables" is the best description I've heard of these stories, which range from comical to horrifying and bizarre. Scratch that, almost all the stories are bizarre. Take all the qualities of people (good and bad) and put them into animals and you have this collection of stories which exposes the worst of humans. Many of the stories will make the reader uncomfortable with its raw honesty and dark humor, but they are well written and thought provoking, even if you really didn't want to think about it.
The illustrations that accompany this book are something slightly more than sketches, done mostly in black and white with red/orange highlights. The style works really well for the type of story, imitating a children's book simplicity while sometimes showing adult content (nothing obscene).
The writing is good, harkening back to Aesop's direct style but also sometimes being more narrative. The content is creative and interesting, although again, not to everyone's tastes. Because it points out the flaws of people, the stories can be rather grating (as they're meant to, I assume) with flashes of humor. If I had stopped halfway through this book, I would have been unsatisfied with it, but by the end we are giving a bit more humor and less idiots, and I found the final story was my favorite (and not just because it's illustrated with a hippo's anus).
Because of the content and humor, this book isn't for everyone. Fans of David Sedaris will find something very different from his usual stories, but will probably enjoy it nonetheless. I know I did. However, even enjoying the stories didn't mean I loved them, and thankfully it was short and quick read. Enjoyable, if it's your thing, but definitely not for everyone.