Naked (book)

Paperback cover
Author(s) David Sedaris
Cover artist Jacket design by Chip Kidd
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) 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 Number 35741397
Dewey Decimal 818/.5402 B 21
LC Classification 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 NPR program This American Life.



Chipped Beef

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

A Plague of Tics

A description of Sedaris' obsessive-compulsive and Tourettic tendencies as a child. His behavior quirks include licking light switches and kissing newspapers, and they frequently land him in trouble at school. These tendencies are abandoned when he begins smoking at college.

Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!

An account of Sedaris' elderly (and slightly senile) grandmother, known as Ya-Ya. After suffering an injury she is forced to live with his family, resulting in tension for all. Eventually, at the urging of Sedaris' mom (who was against Ya-Ya moving in with the family in the first place), she is put into a low-grade nursing home. When she dies, only his father seems to mourn.

Next of Kin

A description of events regarding a pornographic book that Sedaris finds when he is a child. The book is passed between his siblings, and eventually confiscated by his mother, who in turn reads it.


A description of cautionary tales passed down among family members. Its name comes from a tale told by Sedaris' father in which he claims to have accidentally blinded a friend in one eye.

The Women's Open

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

True Detective

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

Dix Hill

A recollection of Sedaris' first job at the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh. The behavior of the residents of the hospital ranges from violent to submissive.

I Like Guys

A recollection of Sedaris' discovery of his homosexuality. He realizes that he is gay while at summer camp in Greece as a teenager, where he develops a crush on another male camper.

The Drama Bug

An account of Sedaris' attempts at acting after being introduced to Shakespeare by an actor's classroom visit. Sedaris finds that the playwright's florid Elizabethan language appeals to him, and begins to use it in regular conversation.

Dinah, the Christmas Whore

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

Planet of the Apes

A recollection of Sedaris' hitchhiking experiences, which began after he saw the film Planet of the Apes for the first time.

The Incomplete Quad

A recounting of Sedaris' job at a college dormitory for handicapped students. While living in the facility, he befriends a quadriplegic female student, and the two go on a cross-country trip, posing as a newlywed husband and wife in need of medical treatment.


A description of Sedaris' job cutting stone into clocks in the shape of Oregon. He teams up with a co-worker who describes himself as a "C.O.G." (Child of God), and the two try to sell their stones at local craft fairs.

Something for Everyone

A description of Sedaris' time spent refurbishing the house of a woman named Uta.


A recollection of the marriage of Sedaris' sister and his mother's impending death from cancer.


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

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