Naked (book)

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Paperback cover
Author David Sedaris
Cover artist Jacket design by Chip Kidd
Country United States
Language English
Genre Essay collection
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
March 1997
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 291 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN ISBN 0-316-77949-0 (first edition, hardcover)
OCLC 35741397
818/.5402 B 21
LC Class PS3569.E314 Z469 1997
Preceded by Barrel Fever
Followed by Holidays on Ice

Naked, published in 1997, is a collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book details Sedaris’ life, from his unusual upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, to his booze-and-drug-ridden college years, to his Kerouacian wandering as a young adult. The book became a best-seller and was acclaimed for its wit, dark humor and irreverent tackling of tragic events, including the death of Sedaris’ mother. Prior to publication, several of the essays were read by the author on the Public Radio International program This American Life.

Naked won the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Non-Fiction from Publishing Triangle in 1998.[1]


Chipped Beef[edit]

About the early life of the Sedaris family and David's hopes to one day be rich and famous. It's revealed that the family is actually middle class.

A Plague of Tics[edit]

A description of David's obsessive-compulsive and Tourettes symptoms as a child, which include licking light switches and kissing newspapers, frequently get him in trouble at school and are abandoned when he starts smoking.

Get Your Ya-Ya's Out![edit]

David's elderly, mildly senile grandma, known as Ya-Ya, is forced to live with his family after suffering an injury, resulting in tension for all. Eventually, at Sharon's urging (who was against Ya-Ya moving in with the family in the first place), she's put into a nursing home. When she dies, only Lou seems to mourn.

Next of Kin[edit]

A description of events regarding a pornographic book that David finds as a child. The book is passed between his siblings; Sharon eventually confiscates and reads it. David then tosses the book into the bed of a pickup truck at a grocery store, and the book was never mentioned since.


A description of cautionary tales passed down among relatives. Its name comes from a tale told by Lou where he claims to have accidentally blinded a friend in one eye.

The Women's Open[edit]

An account of the first menstruation of David's sister, which takes place at a golf championship.

True Detective[edit]

A description of the interest shown in detective shows, such as The Fugitive, by Sharon and David's sister. David also describes his exploits as an amateur detective.

Dix Hill[edit]

A recollection of David's volunteer job at the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh. The behavior of the residents ranges from submissive to violent.

I Like Guys[edit]

A recollection of David's discovery of his gayness. He realizes that he's homosexual while at summer camp in Greece as a teen, where he develops a crush on another male camper.

The Drama Bug[edit]

An account of David's efforts at acting after being introduced to Shakespeare by an actor's classroom visit. David finds that the playwright's florid Elizabethan language appeals to him, and starts to speak with a British accent.

Dinah, the Christmas Whore[edit]

A description of David's job at a cafeteria during his Christmas break as a teen. On one occasion, he and sister Lisa embark on a mission to extract her coworker (a recently paroled ex-hooker) from a domestic disturbance in the slums of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Planet of the Apes[edit]

A recollection of David's hitchhiking experiences, which started after he saw Planet of the Apes for the first time.

The Incomplete Quad[edit]

An account of David's time at Kent State, specifically living in the handicapped students dorm. David goes hitchhiking with a quadriplegic woman he meets there, posing as newlyweds.


A description of David's job cutting stone into clocks in the shape of Oregon. He teams up with a coworker who describes himself as a "COG" (Child of God), and they try to sell their stones at local craft fairs.

Something for Everyone[edit]

A description of David's time spent refurbishing an apartment complex owned by a woman named Uta.


A recollection of the marriage of David's sister and Sharon's impending death from cancer.


The final essay of the book. It describes David's visit to a nudist colony.


  1. ^ "Awards". Publishing Triangle. Retrieved 16 June 2015.