Both “Westbury Court” and “Full House” were interesting, detailed stories from early adolescent days. In each writing, the author transports you back in time by letting you into the world they lived in. A world that ultimately led them to a defining moment in their development.
In “Westbury Court”, you are introduced right away to the apartment building in which an event would take place that would forever change the author. The building is six graffiti-covered brick stories and the imagery is so descriptive that the apartment begins to take shape inside your mind. You can feel the D, M and Q trains shaking the neighborhood from beneath the streets. You can see the episode of “General Hospital” flashing on the television screen. You can smell the smoke and feel the panic of escaping from a fire that had started in your neighbors apartment. Unfortunately, the fire took the life of the two small children who had been carelessly playing with matches. The author seemed to be naive early on; not realizing that a similar event could take place within their own apartment walls. Instead of actively watching the younger siblings, the author instead watched television. After the fire, the author seems to be very conscious of the irony of the situation, what could have happened.
In “Full House”, David Sedaris opens with the same flashback scenario. One of his growing up with parents who weren’t as normal as he would have liked. His parents abandon the ritual of “bedtime”, instead just falling asleep whenever and wherever their eyes happened to close. For David’s first sleepover, the novelty of “we can stay up late!” wasn’t much of a draw.. neither was the fact of David’s being gay. David’s first sleepover was uncomfortable and awkward, much like many of our own first sleepovers. He spent much of the evening trying to “fit in” with the other boys, trying to speak their lingo and failing miserably. The other boys were well versed in the conversations they were having, about cars or sports, things David was not interested in. But at a turning point in the evening, David realized the boys were not well versed in everything. Poker. Strip poker at that. David played this to his advantage and changed the rules to his benefit. In the end, David left the sleepover a little more aware in his sexuality. He had pulled one over on the other boys, who ended up naked and maybe a little curious as to why David was so interested in their nude bodies.
I liked “Full House” better, as it was humorous. “Westbury Court” dealt more with the coming to terms with the finality of life and the impact certain accidents could have. Both stories were enjoyable.