Click here to read reviewer Melissa Parcel's take on Don't Get Too Comfortable.
The modern culture of entitlement is certainly a ripe target for satire. Think about it – we live in a world where people ravenously peruse the grocery store aisles for the best quality olive oil, as if it will make us better people. David Rakoff, writer and correspondent to NPR’s “This American Life,” definitely sees the humor in that and skewers it delicately in his latest essay collection, Don’t Get Too Comfortable.
Martha Stewart, midnight scavenger hunts and a naturalist who scavengers for edible plant life in the wilds of New York all must bear the scrutiny of his wit. However, his jabs aren’t quite as sharp and laugh-out-loud as they could be. Though Rakoff inhabits the same world as fellow “American Life”-ers and essayists David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, his work doesn’t go down quite as easily as theirs. Rakoff is higher brow, more sophisticated, and hence less accessible. He’s still funny, though.
Particularly charming is his account of a twenty-day fasting experiment he undertook (“like a Cole Porter song from the world’s least fun musical,” Rakoff quips). Rakoff enters a passive aggressive tug of war between himself and his “fasting guru,” who looks down on him for not fasting long enough: “Mine, it seems, is the fast of the faker and the dilettante,” Rakoff bitterly explains. “Apparently, I might as well have been sitting around with a bucket of chicken and a TV remote.” Also funny is his story comparing a trip on the vaunted Concorde airliner to a flight on the marginally less sophisticated Hooters Air.
Rakoff is clever, charming and witty. His wit just doesn’t cut as deep as it could.