Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother's wedding. He mops his sister's floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In this collection of essays, Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives--a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim Details

TitleDress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 2004
PublisherLittle Brown & Co.
ISBN0965904830
ISBN-139780965904834
Number of pages272 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Essays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Short Stories, Writing

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim Review

  • Girl with her Head in a Book
    April 14, 2016
    Review originally published here: http://girlwithherheadinabook.co.uk/2...After the Gothic melodrama of #BroodingabouttheBrontës, it was with a deep sigh of contentment that I settled down to read a David Sedaris book. Billed by several critics as David Sedaris’ best book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim has the feel of a real comfort read for me as more than a few of the chapters are familiar from BBC Radio 4’s Meet David Sedaris. I am a crazy little fan girl. I got incredibly excited w Review originally published here: http://girlwithherheadinabook.co.uk/2...After the Gothic melodrama of #BroodingabouttheBrontës, it was with a deep sigh of contentment that I settled down to read a David Sedaris book. Billed by several critics as David Sedaris’ best book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim has the feel of a real comfort read for me as more than a few of the chapters are familiar from BBC Radio 4’s Meet David Sedaris. I am a crazy little fan girl. I got incredibly excited when I spotted he had a reading tour coming up and nearly cried when it was pointed out to me that the dates didn’t work. Seeing him live is high on my personal bucket list. For the uninitiated, David Sedaris may in fact be the world’s greatest storyteller (it’s not just me that thinks so) and while it is his radio delivery which is best of all, the books are still outrageously entertaining – it is wonderful to have a portable slice of Sedaris stories to carry around and I do believe that this is my favourite yet.Highlights in this collection include “Six to Eight Black Men” (a harrowing/hilarious account of the Christmas traditions within the Netherlands) and the tale of David Sedaris’ despondent house-hunt which took him to a mildly surreal encounter within the Anne Frank house, but the majority of the chapters deal with Sedaris’ upbringing and early adulthood. I could see why people thought that this was his best book though – I am a fan of everything of his that I have ever heard/read/watched (and seriously, this video had me giggling so hard I nearly fell off my chair), but Dress Your Family appeared to have the greatest unity thematically. We hear about how Sedaris handled being uprooted to North Carolina, being one of a crowd of siblings in ‘Let It Snow’, the family holidays to the Emerald Isle in ‘The Ship Shape’ and his budding discomfort with his own identity in ‘Full House’ and ‘Consider the Stars’. More than any of his other books that I have read so far, this had the feel of a memoir rather than a series of comic essays. Indeed, this book also has a far more reflective and even regretful tone than much of his other work.There is the short description of how his father showed him the door after living in their basement for six months after dropping out of college – David supposed that this was due to his drug abuse and unemployment, but later on he would realise that in fact this was due to his parents’ realisation of his homosexuality – but they were too uncomfortable to say so directly. Even while we laugh at the family’s excitement about the prospective new holiday home in ‘The Ship Shape’, there is the sadness and disappointment as the children come to realise that their father will not deliver. David remains highly self-critical in the chapters set in his later life – expressing sadness for his failings as a brother, with particular poignance regarding his sister Tiffany who would die a few years later, an event once more chronicled in one of his monologues. I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to be a sibling to David Sedaris – to be the subject of these deeply affectionate but also incredibly personal portraits, to have one’s life story laid bare before the world.Sedaris’ writing and story-telling always has the ability to both make me laugh but then also stop and pause to think about my life. There are few writers with whom I feel such a personal connection but in Dress Your Family, I felt the pain behind so much of his writing more than ever before. The story ‘The Girl Next Door’, concerning Sedaris’ thwarted kindness towards his neighbour’s neglected daughter seemed particularly tragic – so often we read Sedaris abusing himself through the voices of his family members but here is his generousity and good nature, all done against his mother’s advice, and yet his mother’s advice is proved right. Sedaris implies subtly the damage family members can inflict on each other – the scars we leave on those we love which leave no mark but which refuse to fade – he knows that he loves his sister Tiffany and also that if he cleans her decrepit kitchen, she will hate him for it. But he loves her, so he starts into the cleaning just the same.For all of this reflection, this is still a riotously funny book. The episode where he meets a fetishist while working as a house-cleaner was particularly toe-curling – Sedaris attempts to indicate that he is not interested in this man’s not so subtle advances and clatters about as the client begins masturbating in front of him. The awkwardness of this was highly recognisable to me, given that I recently had a plane flight where the stranger sitting next to me spent most of the journey staring at me and then cracked out his phone to take my picture without my consent upon landing. My boyfriend insisted that I should have confronted him but yet all I felt that I could do was stare at my book and pretend it wasn’t happening. Nothing like as outlandish as Sedaris’ experience (but then so few of my experiences are!), however it captures that same sense of confusion at highly inappropriate behaviour. My personal favourite remains ‘Nuit of the Living Mort’ though, when a lost tourist stops on Sedaris’ porch in Normandy and catches him in the act of drowning a mouse. Like a Woody Allen who it’s actually ok to like, Sedaris’ viewpoint on his own self is both painful and hilarious to read.Dress Your Family is not just a glorious compendium of many of Sedaris’ best known stories but also feels like his most accomplished work. For all that so many of his stories are exercises in varying forms of self-humiliation, Sedaris the writer is incredibly confident. His prose and tone never falters, the chapters always end on a pitch-perfect moment of self-realisation which appeals directly to the reader. I remember hearing him say in an interview that he tried not to censure himself since he had found that the thoughts about which he was ashamed were sure to strike a chord with others who share the same secret shame. Even the cover of this book seems to recall the idea of laying oneself bare, yet despite his many confessed faults, I find it impossible not to have affection for Sedaris, nor to fail to enjoy this outstanding collection of stories.
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  • Stella
    January 13, 2016
    Τα βιβλία του Sedaris μου φτιάχνουν τη διάθεση!
  • Lily
    January 4, 2016
    Not my cup of tea, at least not as an audiobook. I'm surprised, because Me Talk Pretty One Day was one of the funniest books I've read. (I sometimes still cheer myself up with the thought of what happens when you try to learn French from tabloid headlines.) In the ~40% of Dress Your Family that I read, I don't think I got past an obligatory chuckle. It might have something to do with the narration, which is performed by Sedaris himself. There's deadpan, and there's indifference, and my (most lik Not my cup of tea, at least not as an audiobook. I'm surprised, because Me Talk Pretty One Day was one of the funniest books I've read. (I sometimes still cheer myself up with the thought of what happens when you try to learn French from tabloid headlines.) In the ~40% of Dress Your Family that I read, I don't think I got past an obligatory chuckle. It might have something to do with the narration, which is performed by Sedaris himself. There's deadpan, and there's indifference, and my (most likely inaccurate) impression was that his way of speaking leaned more towards the latter. It unfortunately rubbed off on my feelings towards the book. Surprisingly, if I imagined the words printed on a page, they seemed slightly more humorous. Maybe a sign that if I try this book again, or other of his works, it should be in print form. I still think he's pretty good at telling a story and building up images of the absurd.
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  • Matthew
    May 2, 2015
    Sometimes cynical, sometimes neurotic, always entertaining. These stories are great for a few laughs and just might make you think.Often Sedaris says what we are thinking, but too afraid to say out loud.
  • Sandra
    October 6, 2014
    Sedaris non fa per me. Mi aspettavo storie esilaranti, non le ho trovate. Mi aspettavo almeno episodi divertenti, ma ho riso poco o niente. Sono raccolti in questo libro episodi dell’adolescenza dello scrittore ed altri dell’età adulta, incentrati soprattutto sui rapporti familiari con il padre, la madre e gli strampalati fratelli; storie che alla fine hanno una morale sottesa, ma che non hanno suscitato in me il benché minimo interesse.Dice Sedaris in un’intervista: "Molti grandi romanzi americ Sedaris non fa per me. Mi aspettavo storie esilaranti, non le ho trovate. Mi aspettavo almeno episodi divertenti, ma ho riso poco o niente. Sono raccolti in questo libro episodi dell’adolescenza dello scrittore ed altri dell’età adulta, incentrati soprattutto sui rapporti familiari con il padre, la madre e gli strampalati fratelli; storie che alla fine hanno una morale sottesa, ma che non hanno suscitato in me il benché minimo interesse.Dice Sedaris in un’intervista: "Molti grandi romanzi americani degli ultimi anni - libri che amo, come Le correzioni di Jonathan Franzen - ruotano intorno alla famiglia, possibilmente una pessima famiglia. Per descriverla è stato coniato un aggettivo, "disfunzionale". Una parola che fino a quindici anni fa neanche esisteva. Serve a indicare la quantità di sofferenza che ci si può procurare vivendo insieme. Ma la mia famiglia non è disfunzionale, la mia famiglia funziona ed è per questo che continuo a parlarne. È complicata ma piena di risorse".Sono contenta per lui, gli auguro di continuare ad avere successo con i libri che parlano della sua famiglia; dal canto mio penso proprio di aver chiuso con Sedaris.
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  • Aric Cushing
    March 31, 2014
    FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY. A completely fast, satisfying read about David Sedaris's odd family, Amy Sedaris, his brother who has a shit-eating Great Dane, and the drowning of a mouse on the serial-killer, zombie infested (possibly?) French countryside.
  • Amanda
    January 28, 2014
    Davis Sedaris is one of those essayists that engenders either devotion or extreme dislike, much like Marmite. (by the way, producers of Marmite, please bring your rice-cake snacks to South Africa so I don't have to search for the expensive imported ones. Thank you).Personally, I'm not sure I understand their criticisms, since everything they dislike about Sedaris are shortcomings he is brutally honest about. Nobody is a greater target for his barbs than himself. What stands out for me is his gre Davis Sedaris is one of those essayists that engenders either devotion or extreme dislike, much like Marmite. (by the way, producers of Marmite, please bring your rice-cake snacks to South Africa so I don't have to search for the expensive imported ones. Thank you).Personally, I'm not sure I understand their criticisms, since everything they dislike about Sedaris are shortcomings he is brutally honest about. Nobody is a greater target for his barbs than himself. What stands out for me is his great affection for is family - perhaps because I come from a clan where we make fun of each other relentlessly, but woe betide the outsider who dares to point out our flaws- and his regret at not being a better son, brother, and partner.
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  • Christopher Bunn
    March 31, 2013
    I couldn't finish this book. I think I read about a third of it and then got fed up. Sedaris is a good writer, don't get me wrong. In fact, he's a very good writer. However, Corduroy and Denim is just a series of narcissistic vignettes. I don't enjoy that sort of thing. Keep your therapy private. I would've kept on reading if Sedaris was funny, but he isn't, despite his reputation for humor. How on earth is he supposed to be funny? I have fairly eclectic taste in humor (Woody Allen, Wodehouse, A I couldn't finish this book. I think I read about a third of it and then got fed up. Sedaris is a good writer, don't get me wrong. In fact, he's a very good writer. However, Corduroy and Denim is just a series of narcissistic vignettes. I don't enjoy that sort of thing. Keep your therapy private. I would've kept on reading if Sedaris was funny, but he isn't, despite his reputation for humor. How on earth is he supposed to be funny? I have fairly eclectic taste in humor (Woody Allen, Wodehouse, Amis, Pinkwater, Richard Powell, Robert Taylor...on down to old Dave Barry), but I couldn't find an iota of humor in the microscope-on-the-Sedaris-Family approach. If anything, I found it all fairly dreary and way too familiar in terms of the Jewish family angst.I'll probably give some of his other books a try, but I don't have high hopes. Modern literature seems to have devolved more and more into navel-gazing psychotherapy instead of actual story. Call me old-fashioned, but I want at least a pretense of story.
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  • Whitney
    March 6, 2013
    I didn't like this book. I got the audio book to listen to on one of my drives. I couldn't finish it. I heard good things about it...that it was hilarious and that David Sedaris is great...but I just couldn't get into it. I think I forced a laugh out once just to remember what it felt like to laugh. It didn't feel right so I stopped.
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  • Pixelina
    May 11, 2012
    The last episode 'Nuit of the living dead' had me break down in tears from laughing so hard. A lot of the other chapters are funny, but I read it before in other Sedaris books. I just need to think 'Oh I see you have a little swimming mouse' to start laughing like mad though. Someone told me I should try and get one of his books on audio cause it is even funnier hearing him reading it. Will try that for sure.
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  • Anastasia
    February 7, 2012
    3.5/5Il punto della questione: Sedaris è davvero utile alla letteratura contemporanea?Okay, è come chiedersi se Scary Movie sia utile al cinema contemporaneo. No, non è utile, però si presuppone che abbia l'unico scopo di divertirti. Però davvero, se ad esempio io lo incrociasse per strada, non è che perderei come minimo un battito urlando "Oddio, David! Oddio! Ora che ti ho rincontrato la mia vita ha di nuovo un senso!" e altre fangirlate simili, probabilmente me ne uscirei con una faccetta sor 3.5/5Il punto della questione: Sedaris è davvero utile alla letteratura contemporanea?Okay, è come chiedersi se Scary Movie sia utile al cinema contemporaneo. No, non è utile, però si presuppone che abbia l'unico scopo di divertirti. Però davvero, se ad esempio io lo incrociasse per strada, non è che perderei come minimo un battito urlando "Oddio, David! Oddio! Ora che ti ho rincontrato la mia vita ha di nuovo un senso!" e altre fangirlate simili, probabilmente me ne uscirei con una faccetta sorpresa e un "Oh guarda, Sedaris!" e lo saluterei continuando per la mia strada. Quello che in questo momento è il mio dubbio atroce è..perché Sedaris dovrebbe spiccare? Voglio dire, non so se avete idea di quanti libri in lingua non vengono nemmeno tradotti, si presuppone che quelli che arrivano fino a noi abbiano almeno una marcia in più. Sedaris è il classico tipino con cui fai piacevolmente quattro chiacchiere, e raccontandoti della sua vita privata (perché l'intero libro si fonda su episodi singolari che gli sono capitati, o che sono capitati ad uno sfortunato membro della sua famiglia messo in ballo) ti fa ..sorridere, ecco. A me Sedaris fa ridere di rado, che ne so, ogni trenta pagine. Purtroppo non ho neanche dietro una cultura sulla letteratura umoristica per dire se Sedaris è veramente importante o no, e neanche per fare tanti confronti. Però a fine libro ti rimane il dubbio del "ma alla fine quanto è stato piacevole? mi dimenticherò del libro nel giro di quanto? un mese, due mesi, o addirittura poche settimane? o forse sto sottovalutando Frocia Poppins?..essere o non essere?" Sì, essere o non essere, utile o non utile, divertente o no, uno potrebbe anche dire "sì, mi fa piacere, ma chi diavolo è 'sto Sedaris?"David Sedaris è un individuo del '56 con pochi capelli sulla testa, noto come umorista radiofonico, scrittore di bestsellers (odio questo termine) che usa la sua stessa persona e la sua stessa vita per fare ironia, coinvolgendo praticamente qualsiasi persona che abbia un rapporto stretto con lui. Se per caso avrete il piacere di conoscerlo, NON raccontategli nulla di sconveniente, potreste finire su un libro. Tant'è vero che i suoi familiari hanno il terrore di confidarsi con lui. Li capisco.Comunque le sue raccolte più famose sono Me parlare bello un giorno e Holidays on Ice.Leggo in diverse recensioni che nel libro che ho letto è un po' sottotono. Aspiro a leggere Me parlare bello un giorno, il titolo già è invitante di suo.Però per adesso ho avuto il piacere di leggere solo Mi raccomando: tutti vestiti bene, che devo ammettere che sì, una lettura molto carina, ma non mi è parso nulla di più. Una di quelle letture che mandi giù senza problemi, ma difficilmente ti rimane in testa nei giorni a venire, magari ti verrà in mente un giorno come tutti gli altri, e penserai a un particolare episodio del libro. Personalmente sono quasi sicura che ripenserò a quello strano tipo, Martin, che aveva prenotato un domestico a luci rosse. Voglio dire, quanti scrupoli bisogna farsi per inventare un servizio di pulizie a luci rosse? Mi rivolgo a Martin: amico mio, ma perché non vai al sodo e chiami un..oddio, qual è l'equivalente maschile di prostituta? ..ma esiste?! Prostitut..no. Oh mannaggia, non ne ho idea. Il problema l'ho già presentato prima: le risate me le ha strappate di rado, per la maggior parte del tempo si è limitato a farmi sorridere. Di certo il punto forte di Sedaris sta nel farsi conoscere dal lettore, aprirsi a lui, non aver problemi a prendersi in giro da solo, ridendo insieme al lettore dei suoi difetti più strani (mai avuto il bisogno ossessivo e incomprensibile del dover toccare la testa a qualcuno?). Comunque il meglio del libro è la copertina. Cioè, voi avreste il coraggio di mettere il davanzale di una Barbie come copertina, e DIETRO il suo bel culetto di plastica?PS: il fidanzato di David mi sta sulle palle. So che non frega a nessuno, però dovevo proprio dirlo.
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  • Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
    December 18, 2011
    I FINISHED THIS. YAY. It took me like two months for some reason ... Pathetic, I know. It's not even that long. Seriously, I've been awful at reading/reviewing for the past few months. Ugh. But tonight I sat down and I was like, "BITCH, YOU'RE GOING TO FINISH THIS BOOK IN THE NEXT HOUR." So, I did. I'm just going to make a habit of doing such things to myself, or else I'll just keep forgetting to read and feeling guilty about it. Anyway, it's kind of hard for me to review a short story collectio I FINISHED THIS. YAY. It took me like two months for some reason ... Pathetic, I know. It's not even that long. Seriously, I've been awful at reading/reviewing for the past few months. Ugh. But tonight I sat down and I was like, "BITCH, YOU'RE GOING TO FINISH THIS BOOK IN THE NEXT HOUR." So, I did. I'm just going to make a habit of doing such things to myself, or else I'll just keep forgetting to read and feeling guilty about it. Anyway, it's kind of hard for me to review a short story collection since I'm more into reviewing novels. So, this review sucks. Oh well. Basically, this is a book of memoir vignettes in which David Sedaris discusses his life, crazy family, so on and so forth. And ... it's awesome.This is the first entire Sedaris collection I've ever read. I'd previously read a few of his short stories by themselves, but never one of his whole books. And after reading this one, I hope to read the rest of his books. Few books have made me laugh the way this book did. Sedaris's humor is just fantastic, his voice is unique and easily likable, and his writing is great. Altogether, it's fabulous.So ... go read it.
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  • Kate
    April 3, 2011
    My friend Janina is a big David Sedaris fan, and she got us tickets to see him in October, so I figured I need to read more than one book of his (I've only read Me Talk Pretty One Day). She recommended that I listen to his books, and said Dress Your Family... was one of his best. She even gave me a preview of "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post".Many of the stories in this collection were about David's years growing up or about his adult relationships with his siblings. Not all, though - and those tha My friend Janina is a big David Sedaris fan, and she got us tickets to see him in October, so I figured I need to read more than one book of his (I've only read Me Talk Pretty One Day). She recommended that I listen to his books, and said Dress Your Family... was one of his best. She even gave me a preview of "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post".Many of the stories in this collection were about David's years growing up or about his adult relationships with his siblings. Not all, though - and those that weren't were the funniest to me. I loved "6 to 8 Black Men" so much I made all of my coworkers listen in. And "Nuit of the Living Dead" was a close second, mostly because I love horror movies. "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post" and "Baby Einstein" were also great. I loved David's imitation of his brother Paul's extremely Southern redneck accent. I'm not sure these particular stories would have come across as so funny had I merely read them. The audiobook version, however, was very enjoyable and had me laughing my way through traffic going into Boston.
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  • Becky
    February 19, 2011
    3.5 stars A few years ago, for Christmas, I bought my mother a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day. I'd never read David Sedaris, hell, I didn't know how to pronounce his name (seh-darr-is? seh-dair-is? sed-uh-ris?)... Well, obviously, I still don't. But, I picked it up and read one of the stories and laughed, and I thought my mom would like it, and so I got it for her. I have no idea if she read it. So, on a whim, I downloaded this one, and stuck it on my ipod, thinking that little vignette stories 3.5 stars A few years ago, for Christmas, I bought my mother a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day. I'd never read David Sedaris, hell, I didn't know how to pronounce his name (seh-darr-is? seh-dair-is? sed-uh-ris?)... Well, obviously, I still don't. But, I picked it up and read one of the stories and laughed, and I thought my mom would like it, and so I got it for her. I have no idea if she read it. So, on a whim, I downloaded this one, and stuck it on my ipod, thinking that little vignette stories would be OK to read on such a small screen. Standing in line at the store, or on break at work, whatever. Only, I got hooked, and read it pretty much straight through. On my ipod. Why didn't I just transfer it to my Nook, you ask? Because I'm dumb. Duh. Anyway, there are quite a lot of stories in this book... but they are all over the place. Some are funny, some are more serious, some seem to have no point at all. It seems that, this being (from what I can tell) Sedaris' 5th book, and theoretically being an initiated fan, I should be familiar with his family and their quirks and whatnot, and not have really needed chronology to be a factor. And... I guess I didn't, despite this being my initiation. But it might've helped add some coherency or fluidity or something. And, maybe just a teensy explanation of who Hugh is, at least the first time he's mentioned in this book. I mean, I am intelligent (despite my previous claim to the contrary above), so I was able to gather from context that he must be David's partner, but I think it's not TOO much to ask for a little explanation. My favorite stories by far were "Us and Them", "Full House", and "Baby Einstein". David's brother Paul is HILARIOUS, vulgar, and fucking awesome. He made me laugh constantly talking about Paul. Like this bit: When my sis­ters and I even­tu­ally left home, it seemed like a nat­ural pro­gres­sion — young adults shift­ing from one en­vi­ron­ment to the next. While our de­par­tures had been rel­a­tively pain­less, Paul’s was like re­leas­ing a do­mes­tic an­i­mal into the wild. He knew how to plan a meal but dis­played a re­mark­able lack of pa­tience when it came time for the ac­tual cook­ing. Frozen din­ners were often eaten ex­actly as sold, the Sal­is­bury steak amount­ing to a stick­less meat Pop­si­cle. I phoned one night just as he was lean­ing a fam­ily pack of frozen chicken wings against the back door. He’d for­got­ten to de­frost them and was now at­tempt­ing to stomp the solid mass into three 6-inch por­tions, which he’d stack in a pile and force into his toaster oven.I heard the sin­gu­lar sound of boot against crys­tal­lized meat and lis­tened as my brother panted for breath. “God­dam . . . fuck­ing . . . chicken . . . wings.”I called again the fol­low­ing evening and was told that after all that work, the chicken had been spoiled. It tasted like fish, so he threw it away and called it a night. A few hours later, hav­ing de­cided that spoiled chicken was bet­ter than no chicken at all, he got out of bed, stepped out­side in his un­der­pants, and pro­ceeded to eat the left­overs di­rectly from the garbage can.I was mor­ti­fied. “In your un­der­pants?”“Damned straight,” he said. “I ain’t get­ting dressed up to eat no fish-assed-tast­ing chicken.”I wor­ried about my brother stand­ing in his briefs and eat­ing spoiled poul­try by moon­light. I wor­ried when told he’d passed out in a park­ing lot and awoken to find a stranger’s ini­tials writ­ten in lip­stick on his ass, but I never wor­ried he’d be able to make a liv­ing.Or this one: Kathy was in labor for fif­teen hours be­fore the doc­tors de­cided to per­form a ce­sarean. The news was de­liv­ered to the wait­ing room, and when the time came my fa­ther looked at his watch, say­ing, “Well, I guess they should be carv­ing her up right about now.” Then he went home to feed his dog. By this point, nam­ing the child Lou was on par with nam­ing it Adolph or Beelze­bub, but all three were dis­qual­i­fied when the baby turned out to be a girl.They named her Made­lyn, which was short­ened to Maddy by the time she reached the in­cu­ba­tor. I was in a hotel in Port­land, Ore­gon, at the time and re­ceived the news from my brother, who called from the re­cov­ery room. His voice was soft and melodic, not much more than a whis­per. “Mama’s got some tubes stick­ing out of her pussy, but it ain’t no big thing,” he said. “She’s lying back, lit­tle Maddy’s suck­ing on her titty just as happy as she can be.” This was the new, gen­tler Paul: same vo­cab­u­lary, but the tone was sweeter and sea­soned with a sense of won­der. The ce­sarean had been un­pleas­ant, but after be­moan­ing the months wasted in Lamaze class, he grew re­flec­tive. “Some is cut loose and oth­ers come out on their own self, but take heed, brother: hav­ing a baby is a fuck­ing mir­a­cle.”Classy. I love it. There were some laugh out loud moments, a few of them in public, much to The Boy's dismay (apparently me staring into my palm and laughing like a lunatic is awkward for him!) but I did think that there would be quite a bit more humor, actually. There were some stories that had a definite tone of seriousness, despite the humor that seemed almost unintentional. I'm not complaining, but this is maybe a time when having a set outline would have been better. One expects to encounter issues trekking from childhood, through the teen years, and finally on to adulthood... let alone MATURITY. But the stories just being thrown in willy nilly was off-putting. One minute I'm reading about Turkish Santa and his 6-8 black men, and then the next I'm reading about David being evicted from his father's house for no reason other than being gay, and the next we're reading about domestic tranquility - or the lack thereof. The stories can be poignant though. I especially liked this line:Movie char­ac­ters might chase each other through the fog or race down the stairs of burn­ing build­ings, but that’s for be­gin­ners. Real love amounts to with­hold­ing the truth, even when you’re of­fered the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to hurt some­one’s feelings.Overall, I liked it. Did I love it? No, but I could have. Will I read more of Sedaris' books? Yes, I will. I like his style and his quirkiness and his blunt self-observations and lack of give-a-shitery about them. It makes for entertaining reading, that's for sure.
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  • Jesi
    July 26, 2010
    So, I got about 7% into the book Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim before just not being able to listen to it anymore. It, quite literally, was making me sick to listen to it. The main characters are shallow, "broken," and... well, the stuff of sitcom characters. They're (to me) sick, but "normal" which was making my head explode. I suppose, in a way, you could say that the book was "dark humor," which is pretty hit or miss to me.The family really could have been spawned for Married With C So, I got about 7% into the book Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim before just not being able to listen to it anymore. It, quite literally, was making me sick to listen to it. The main characters are shallow, "broken," and... well, the stuff of sitcom characters. They're (to me) sick, but "normal" which was making my head explode. I suppose, in a way, you could say that the book was "dark humor," which is pretty hit or miss to me.The family really could have been spawned for Married With Children in the 70's. The mother was an alcoholic, the father was an uninterested has-been-Golden Boy who's now completely useless and disrespected by his family (maybe deservedly so, as he's the kind to offer up "promises" like "maybe we should take a cruise to the Greek Isles" and never living up to them.) And, that's only the beginning. The rest of the family is just as "bad."Now, I realize that for a stereotype, this is the "normal American family," but... does this mean that we should accept it as so? Maybe that's the point of this book - to make us look at what's taken for granted as "normal" and have it be a wake up call. Maybe, where the funny lies in this "humor" is what Valentine Michael Smith would say "it hurts too much to cry about, so we laugh."I don't want to cry about society. And, I can't honestly laugh at this, because it's too true. So, instead, I get this sick feeling - like looking at some car wreck. A car wreck that others think is funny. It just makes me wonder... am I broken, or is the rest of society?
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  • karen
    April 27, 2010
    this is a book by david sedaris.shrug.i mean, what else am i supposed to say? it's not like he went out on a limb here and wrote a space opera or a bodice ripper. it's david sedaris. if you like him, you will probably like this one. if you don't, you probably won't.this is not my favorite of his collections, but i laughed out loud three times, which i think is pretty good. i like laughter.**one time, connor made david sedaris laugh. he has yet to write a story about this incident, but we are all this is a book by david sedaris.shrug.i mean, what else am i supposed to say? it's not like he went out on a limb here and wrote a space opera or a bodice ripper. it's david sedaris. if you like him, you will probably like this one. if you don't, you probably won't.this is not my favorite of his collections, but i laughed out loud three times, which i think is pretty good. i like laughter.**one time, connor made david sedaris laugh. he has yet to write a story about this incident, but we are all holding our breaths and waiting.
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  • Daniel Parsons
    December 2, 2009
    I enjoyed this collection of stories from Sedaris even more than his earlier Me Talk Pretty One Day. Reading this on public transport was probably not a good idea, however, particularly in the social-starved London capital where I live, as many times reading I burst out laughing loudly, and then sniggered uncontrollably when I tried to keep the volume down. Many of the stories are not only extremely funny but also personally very relatable - in particular Sedaris' explaining of his OCD tallied s I enjoyed this collection of stories from Sedaris even more than his earlier Me Talk Pretty One Day. Reading this on public transport was probably not a good idea, however, particularly in the social-starved London capital where I live, as many times reading I burst out laughing loudly, and then sniggered uncontrollably when I tried to keep the volume down. Many of the stories are not only extremely funny but also personally very relatable - in particular Sedaris' explaining of his OCD tallied so much with my own life (particularly my teenage years) that I was filled with joy at the realisation that it isn't unique to my bizarre personality. In terms of poignancy and attention to detail I still feel that Augusten Burroughs has the slight edge, though in truth their writing styles are so different the comparison is hardly fair. In any case, I've now definitely found a new author that I love and have to now read *everything* Sedaris has in print. Joyous.
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  • Fabian
    August 12, 2009
    Okay so the Chip Kidd covers usually ruins authors like this for me. The covers almost ooze Wes Andersonian Americana... I will let prejudices slip past.So this writer has a following and it is understandable. This guy CAN WRITE. And topping that: he can write short stories. I am very ambivalent about short vignettes or even the lofty novella: why don't writers just extend the s**t out of whatever story they are writing to fit the perimeters of the novel? O so close.Sedaris observes, writes. He Okay so the Chip Kidd covers usually ruins authors like this for me. The covers almost ooze Wes Andersonian Americana... I will let prejudices slip past.So this writer has a following and it is understandable. This guy CAN WRITE. And topping that: he can write short stories. I am very ambivalent about short vignettes or even the lofty novella: why don't writers just extend the s**t out of whatever story they are writing to fit the perimeters of the novel? O so close.Sedaris observes, writes. He is underwhelmingly unextraordinary, but his voice sures gots sass.I have known someone the exact prototype of this Woody Allenesque guy: all style no substance. Yes-- keen, keen like a knife. But what ties it all? Why are these so damn popular? Sometimes, the collective I.Q. ...I want to read more of this self-centered pedant. He ain't all that, though. This must be mentioned.
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  • Michelle
    June 6, 2009
    I thought I was over David Sedaris. I don't mean that I don't like him. I do. His essays are funny, but after a while they all seem to run together. He mines the same territory again and again -- stories of growing up with his dysfunctional, quirky, yet lovable family. Stories of himself as the odd and awkward kid growing up and trying to figure out how to live in this world.I wasn’t going to buy Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim in print, but I saw the audio version, read by Sedaris himse I thought I was over David Sedaris. I don't mean that I don't like him. I do. His essays are funny, but after a while they all seem to run together. He mines the same territory again and again -- stories of growing up with his dysfunctional, quirky, yet lovable family. Stories of himself as the odd and awkward kid growing up and trying to figure out how to live in this world.I wasn’t going to buy Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim in print, but I saw the audio version, read by Sedaris himself, on sale at CompUSA when they were going out of business and selling their entire inventory for cheap. I couldn’t resist even though I much prefer to read books rather than to listen to them. I did nothing with it for more than a year until I decided I should listen to it while going for walks around my neighborhood.I found myself rolling my eyes, not laughing, and quickly becoming bored. Finally I had the idea to take the book with me when I drove places. I felt I would get through it much quicker that way and could finally move on to something else.It turned out that that was the way to listen to David Sedaris. Walking around the neighborhood while thinking about the pain in my hip and how at 38 years old I’m afraid I’m going to have to have a fucking hip replacement is no way to appreciate him. I just wanted to slap the shit out of him and his idiosyncratic family/neighbors/and everyone else he was talking about. Relaxed and driving on the freeway with his pleasant voice in my ear was the way to go. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that it made me want to listen to his books rather than read them, which was kind of a first for me.That being said, it’s not going to come as a big surprise that this collection is more of the same types of stories we’ve heard in the past, but I have to say that Sedaris really shines when he talks about his sister, Tiffany, and his brother, Paul (a.k.a. The Rooster). Those were my favorites in the collection. I was also sad to learn that Sedaris’s mother, Sharon, has passed away. I’ll never forget his Ya-Ya refusing to call Sharon by her name and stubbornly referring to her as “The Girl” because she was pissed she wasn’t Greek. And if you already know and love The Rooster, man are you in for a treat when Sedaris reads in Paul’s voice. Something about this charming, well-spoken man saying the words “She had tubes coming out of her pussy” in a thick southern accent cracked me up more than reading it on the page ever could.
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  • Jason Koivu
    November 22, 2008
    The Sedarises are crazy-ass muthafuckers! Loco gringos, hombre, loco. Out of everything he's produced (I've read all of his major work and only missed a few short pieces) this is my favorite David Sedaris book. Yet, I don't recommend it......not always, not to everyone. The subject matter can be too much for some people, especially if they've been told that Sedaris is a humorist and then they encounter some the more depressing details of his real life experiences. I laugh my ass off at the botto The Sedarises are crazy-ass muthafuckers! Loco gringos, hombre, loco. Out of everything he's produced (I've read all of his major work and only missed a few short pieces) this is my favorite David Sedaris book. Yet, I don't recommend it......not always, not to everyone. The subject matter can be too much for some people, especially if they've been told that Sedaris is a humorist and then they encounter some the more depressing details of his real life experiences. I laugh my ass off at the bottom-feeder characters and occasional bargain basement morals herein, but some people will wring their hands and say, "Oh how awful."Get over it and enjoy the ride, is my approach. The ride includes experiences of being gay and coming out (horrible and hilarious!), portraits of various family members that bring the people as vividly alive as any long-running tv show is capable, and living on his own for the first time, which includes apartment living in general and specifically the trials of low-income housing.Sedaris is a master at what I call autobiographical short stories. They are short form pieces about his life and his life reads like carnival folklore, so seemingly unreal at times it feels surreal. Some of his other books are not quite so warts-and-all. If you try Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim on for size, realize it may not suit you. Perhaps try on another first and ease your way into this strange fashion.Audiobook Note: Listening to Sedaris read the audiobook is a must. He wrote the stories, hell, he lived the stories, so he knows how they're to be read. I've listened to him enough now that I can not only read his work in his voice, but also accurately guess at the necessary inflection in new material. Yeah, it's a gift...
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  • Lucy
    August 26, 2008
    What if you could write about whatever you wanted? What if no topics were off limits, no person's feelings or privacy taken into consideration, no personal flaws purposely left unmentioned in order to be protected from ridicule?You would probably write exactly like David Sedaris.To actually write like David Sedaris, however, you'd also have to be intelligent, impeccably attentive to details and most importantly - uncommonly funny. With that winning combination, Sedaris's unencumbered writing cre What if you could write about whatever you wanted? What if no topics were off limits, no person's feelings or privacy taken into consideration, no personal flaws purposely left unmentioned in order to be protected from ridicule?You would probably write exactly like David Sedaris.To actually write like David Sedaris, however, you'd also have to be intelligent, impeccably attentive to details and most importantly - uncommonly funny. With that winning combination, Sedaris's unencumbered writing creates a truly fascinating look into his life and way of thinking.Take, for instance, a neighborhood family that supposedly doesn't watch any television. You've know them, or at least heard about them. But have you hidden yourself in bushes outside their house watching them at night? Sedaris spied on this family with fascination, watching them interact at the dinner table during the evenings and feeling sorry for the absence of television in their lives. After watching one of their children at school being left out of a joke that made reference to a TV show, Sedaris writes, "It occurred to me that they needed a guide, someone who could point out all the things they were unable to understand. I could have done it on weekends, but friendship would have taken away their mystery and interfered with the good feeling I got from pitying them. So I kept my distance."Then, when this same family showed up for Trick-Or-Treating the day after Halloween, Sedaris expresses what must be universally believed: "Asking for candy on Halloween was called trick-or-treating, but asking for candy on November first was called begging, and it made people uncomfortable. This was one of the things you were supposed to learn simply by being alive, and it angered me that the Tomkeys did not understand it."The subject matter varies wildly from chapter to chapter, but each contains Sedaris's hilarious spin on what would probably appear to most outsiders, nothing to write home about. Although there are several uncomfortable chapters that touch on situations involving his homosexuality, his willingness to expose himself, and, I suppose his willingness to expose his loved ones, give his writing an important and appreciated perspective. It's so enjoyably honest! I mean, he writes about going through the Anne Frank House while simultaneous apartment hunting and wanting to live there because it's "cute." Totally irreverent. But when he talks about ripping out the wood stove so that the fireplace would be the focal point and thinking the attic, with its charming dormer windows, could be his office...it ends up being really funny.The best chapter for me was called Six To Eight Black Men when he describes in laugh-out-loud detail the Christmas traditions in the Netherlands. Of course he begins the chapter by pointing out some of the more unusual local gun laws in various states of the USA, mentioning as an interesting fact that in Michigan - blind people are allowed to hunt...alone. As the chapter nears its end, and you wonder what the two stories have to do with each other, he finishes by sharing his thoughts while sitting in a Dutch train station. "I couldn't help but feel second-rate. Yes, the Netherlands was a small country, but it had six to eight black men and a really good bedtime story. Being a fairly competitive person, I felt jealous, then bitter. I was edging toward hostile when I remembered the blind hunter tramping off alone into the Michigan forest. He may bag a deer, or he may happily shoot a camper in the stomach. He may find his way back to the car, or he may wander around for a week or two before stumbling through your back door. We don't know for sure, but in pinning that license to his chest, he inspires the sort of narrative that ultimately makes me proud to be an American."Funny, funny stuff.
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  • Charissa
    August 24, 2008
    David Sedaris walks all the way to the edge and dances on it. Defying gravity. I haven't yet read all his work, but my respect for him deepens with each essay. Another hit out of the park for "Uncle Faggot". God I just love him.
  • Michael Kneeland
    July 4, 2008
    Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim delves further into the fascinating, hilarious, and otherwise utterly bizarre life of David Sedaris and his family. This collection of his essays is quite good--among my favorites of his--because throughout most of it, he manages to find a moving balance between the tragic and the comic. Take, for instance, "The Ship Shape," about how his family almost bought a summer home, but ultimately lost out on the chance because of his father's fickleness with money Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim delves further into the fascinating, hilarious, and otherwise utterly bizarre life of David Sedaris and his family. This collection of his essays is quite good--among my favorites of his--because throughout most of it, he manages to find a moving balance between the tragic and the comic. Take, for instance, "The Ship Shape," about how his family almost bought a summer home, but ultimately lost out on the chance because of his father's fickleness with money. The essay starts off humorously enough, with plenty of zany details, like the absurd names his family comes up with for the summer home in question. But by the end, we have a rather melancholic picture painted of the family, headed by a father who would like to give his family something nice like a summer home on the beach, but is just too fickle to actually go through with it.Then there is "Hejira," about how Sedaris' father kicked him out of the house seemingly because he was an unemployed college dropout whose number of bong hits surpassed his number of trips out of the house, but really, we learn, because he was gay. We have plenty of funny anecdotes throughout, giving us hilarious images of Sedaris sitting stoned in his room listening to the same Joni Mitchell record over and over again, but by the end, we see ultimately see a father who finds his son so unacceptable that he removes him from the situation. From reading his other works, we know that Sedaris and his father eventually mended ways, but as "Hejira" closes, we only see a depressed young man wanting to be acknowledged for being, as he puts it, "special."Of course, there is also plenty of outright absurdity, such as "Six to Eight Black Men," which I have my students read each year during the holiday season; and "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post," which is on the outset about his obnoxious, foul-mouthed younger brother's wedding, but we eventually see is about the relationship between Sedaris and his brother. These are wholly hilarious, and do well to offset much of the depressing downheartedness emoted from the essays mentioned above.Fans of Sedaris will certainly appreciate this collection of essays. Newbies may find his life and family a bit too bizarre to digest at first, but after pushing through will realize the palette of emotions mentioned earlier. After all, while Sedaris' life is strange and usually utterly absurd, it is still life nonetheless.
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  • Jon
    May 16, 2008
    A collection of writings by David Sedaris.Quite possibly the funniest book I've ever read.(There's a little language and stuff, so I don't recommend reading it out loud to the kids. But I guarantee you will laugh out loud to anyone sitting near you. Which means don't read it on a crowded airplane.)
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  • kimberly
    January 16, 2008
    I don't think I can even list all my favorite moments of this book - but two stand out the most, merely because of timing. one, his description of his brother's baby. i had the same reaction at the hospital on friday while meeting Grace Trinity Faith Jones (i don't think even that many religious names will save this child). two, his description of the need to touch people, not inappropriately but unwelcome, relates to a long drawn out discussion with my judge regarding sexually battery and moles I don't think I can even list all my favorite moments of this book - but two stand out the most, merely because of timing. one, his description of his brother's baby. i had the same reaction at the hospital on friday while meeting Grace Trinity Faith Jones (i don't think even that many religious names will save this child). two, his description of the need to touch people, not inappropriately but unwelcome, relates to a long drawn out discussion with my judge regarding sexually battery and molestation.This book made me almost spew liquid out of my mouth. I laughed so hard at the gym I had to stop myself from falling off the elliptical. It is the perfect size for most backpacks and purses, and is short enough to read a story while waiting in line at the grocery. I am so stoked to read more of his work. I can't believe it took me so long to find this guy.
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  • Kelly
    December 7, 2007
    Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a hilarious book about David Sedaris's life and family. It starts off when he was a young boy and he has to give up his Halloween candy to the neighbors. He then stuffed as much candy in his face as possible so he wouldn't have to share it. I knew right after this chapter that I was going to like this book. As you read further in the book you learn all about his family like his brother, Paul, the rooster. Different events occur in this book that tell yo Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a hilarious book about David Sedaris's life and family. It starts off when he was a young boy and he has to give up his Halloween candy to the neighbors. He then stuffed as much candy in his face as possible so he wouldn't have to share it. I knew right after this chapter that I was going to like this book. As you read further in the book you learn all about his family like his brother, Paul, the rooster. Different events occur in this book that tell you a lot about David and his family. Like in the chapter the Girl Next Door, David meets a young girl neighbor and begins spending time with her and discovers she doens't know what France is, so he helps her with maps and such. I personally liked the chapter "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post" because of all the humor in it and it shows the relationship David has between his brother and him.David Sedaris tells the story of his life very well, and in a funny way. I would recommend this book to everyone because it is a great book to read over and over, as I did with many of the chapters.
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  • Adam
    October 1, 2007
    Honestly, I tried to like this book. Maybe it's one of those that, at page 100, kicks everything glorious into overdrive, making you gleeful and giddy and full of delight at reading it. Maybe I should have read further and waited longer. But, you see, I only really started to read this because it seemed hip at the time to do so. I'm not too sure that I care enough about maintaining some form of imagined quasi-hipness to make myself sit through the rest of it. There. I'm admitting I didn't read t Honestly, I tried to like this book. Maybe it's one of those that, at page 100, kicks everything glorious into overdrive, making you gleeful and giddy and full of delight at reading it. Maybe I should have read further and waited longer. But, you see, I only really started to read this because it seemed hip at the time to do so. I'm not too sure that I care enough about maintaining some form of imagined quasi-hipness to make myself sit through the rest of it. There. I'm admitting I didn't read the whole thing, but I am admitting (and openly so) that David Sedaris depresses me.The end.
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  • Jennifer Good
    August 28, 2007
    oh so hilarious... "What the hell are you doing?" she whispered, but my mouth was too full to answer...as she closed the door and behind her and moved toward my bed, I began breaking the wax lips and candy necklaces pulled from pile no. 2. These were the second-best things I had received, and while it hurt to destroy them, it would have hurt evern more to give them away. I had just started to mutilate a miniature box of Red Hots when my mother pried them from my hands, accidentally finishing the oh so hilarious... "What the hell are you doing?" she whispered, but my mouth was too full to answer...as she closed the door and behind her and moved toward my bed, I began breaking the wax lips and candy necklaces pulled from pile no. 2. These were the second-best things I had received, and while it hurt to destroy them, it would have hurt evern more to give them away. I had just started to mutilate a miniature box of Red Hots when my mother pried them from my hands, accidentally finishing the job for me. BB-size pellets clattered onto the floor, and as I followed them with my eyes, she snatched up a roll of Necco wafers. "Not those," I pleaded, but rather than words, my mouth expelled chocolate, chewed chocolate, which fell onto the sleece of her sweater. "Not those. Not those." She shook her arm, and the mound of chocolate dropped like a horrible turd upon my bedspread. "You should look at yourself," she said. "I mean, really look at yourself."
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  • Sarah
    July 24, 2007
    This book makes me laugh myself sick every time I read it. Blood Work and La Nuit of the Dead are put together so perfectly. Sedaris creates a series of misguided attempts at human connection that seem doomed to fail through selfishness or insecurity, but somehow don’t. Sedaris is so good at exposing the frailty of those emotional connections without ever doubting that they can still sustain our relationships. He makes me relate to even the most impossibly awkward and painful situations. Every t This book makes me laugh myself sick every time I read it. Blood Work and La Nuit of the Dead are put together so perfectly. Sedaris creates a series of misguided attempts at human connection that seem doomed to fail through selfishness or insecurity, but somehow don’t. Sedaris is so good at exposing the frailty of those emotional connections without ever doubting that they can still sustain our relationships. He makes me relate to even the most impossibly awkward and painful situations. Every time I read it I think, “That’s so ME!” And then realize that I’m not a gay man living in rural France, fearing zombies and drowning a mouse in a bucket at midnight. And yet somehow I can still not only relate to the situation, but feel the familiarity of it. The parts about his brother make me miss my brother horribly. Sedaris is so great at showing that most of our love for each other doesn’t lie in our similarities, but in the strength of our shared history and our sheer will to maintain the relationship. This can seem either damaged and pathetic or comforting and hopeful. I’m going with the latter.
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  • David
    July 8, 2007
    So. David Sedaris. Well, let's be clear. Nobody with a funnybone can hate David Sedaris. And neither do I. But it has to be said - that last book ("Dress your family in corduroy and denim") was quite a disappointment. Judging by the number of people showing up for his readings here in San Francisco, and its lengthy sojourn on The New York Times bestseller list, it obviously did pretty well commercially. And, based on the enormous amount of accumulated goodwill from his earlier books, I don't beg So. David Sedaris. Well, let's be clear. Nobody with a funnybone can hate David Sedaris. And neither do I. But it has to be said - that last book ("Dress your family in corduroy and denim") was quite a disappointment. Judging by the number of people showing up for his readings here in San Francisco, and its lengthy sojourn on The New York Times bestseller list, it obviously did pretty well commercially. And, based on the enormous amount of accumulated goodwill from his earlier books, I don't begrudge DS his commercial success. Not one bit. Well, OK. Maybe just a little bit. Because, for the first time, in this collection, we see clear indications that Sedaris is bumping up against his limitations. How so? I think (and make no claim for the originality of this analysis) it's because Sedaris is at his best when he writes from the point of view of slightly marginalized outsider. In his earlier stuff, he was poor, he's gay and he managed to achieve a tone of bemusement in reporting what went on around him that was completely hilarious. In the face of increasing commercial success, the edge that was conferred by his being poor became harder to maintain. But he and his boyfriend moved to France, thereby achieving automatic outsider status, and Sedaris was able to mine this for comedy gold (his accounts of misadventures while learning French are truly funny, and credit must be given for the way in which he makes the comedy seem so effortless). But that's his previous book Me Talk Pretty One Day. Problem is, the whole 'marginalized outsider' position seems less and less plausible for an author whose books spend months on the best seller list. Similarly, after a few years in France, the forces of assimilation are bound to cut down on the number of amusing misunderstandings funny enough to be worth writing about. This leaves one other area which Sedaris has mined fruitfully in previous books - anecdotes about his family. Indeed, the majority of the stories in this latest collection are family-based anecdotes. However, the stories in this collection do not come close to matching the wit and poignancy of those in earlier books, suggesting that this vein of inspiration may be close to being tapped out. Hardly surprising - any author would lead with the funniest material; this collection has occasional flashes of wit, but never reaches the 'laugh-out-loud' quality of the earlier books. Several pieces in this collection (describing his brother's wedding, his job one summer at the State Fair) are downright pedestrian, and a couple of pieces just fall flat - ruminations about apartment-hunting while visiting the Anne Frank house, accounts of visits with two of his sisters, whose feelings about being featured as bit-players in this, or subsequent collections are decidedly mixed. It's to Sedaris's credit that he too is ambivalent on this point, but his soul-searching on the issue doesn't make for interesting reading. One of Yeats's later poems is called "The Circus Animals' Desertion"; in it, he bemoans the fact that the themes which inspired him early in his career have lost their inspirational power. "Dress your family in corduroy and denim" supports the notion that David Sedaris may be experiencing similar difficulties. But don't count him out yet. His previous books estalished Sedaris as a hilarious, extremely talented writer. Anyone can have one bad book. Let's hope he will leave it at that.
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