|Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
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Whether by nature or by nurture, Ma and Pa Sedaris certainly knew something about raising funny kids. Amy Sedaris has built a cult following for her Comedy Central character Jerri Blank, and David, the more famous of the two siblings, continues to spin his personal history into comedic gold. A good chunk of the material in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim debuted in other media outlets, such as The New Yorker, but Sedaris's brilliantly written essays deserve repeat reads.
Based on the author's descriptions, nearly every member of his family is funny, although some (like sister Tiffany, perhaps) in a tragic way. In "The Change in Me," Sedaris remembers that his mother was good at imitating people when it helped drive home her point. High-voiced, lovably plain-spoken brother Paul (aka The Rooster, Silly P) has long been a favorite character for Sedaris readers, though Paul's story takes on a serious note when his wife has a difficult pregnancy. The author doesn't shy away from embarrassing moments in his own life, either, including a childhood poker game that strays into strange, psychological territory. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim provides more evidence that he is a great humorist, memoirist, and raconteur, and readers are lucky to have the opportunity to know him (and his clan) so well. His funny family feels like our own. Perhaps they are luckier still not to know him personally. --Leah Weathersby
In this phenomenal #1 bestseller, 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?
Yet Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below the surface, exposing a world alive with hidden motives and obscure desires. In DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM, one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today gives us his richest book yet.
- Awesome Book
David Sedaris has always been a favorite of mine and like his other books, this one is just as funny and entertaining. Love it!...more info
- Who ever gave this less than 5 stars is an idiot
I quote this book more than I quote seinfield. I have become addicted to it, to David's twisted use of the English language. I have read all of his other books, and I highly recommend his cds. ...more info
- WARNING: Don't Read In A Public Place!
Why? Because you'll be laughing so hard that people will stare at you. This is one of the funniest books ever. I read it while I ate lunch at a restaurant and laughed so hard I cried!
A Must-Read!...more info
Sedaris is hillarious. The book is a compilation of short storis of his family and life history. If anyone is an Amy Sedaris fan and wonders how she could be so eccentric than read anything by any of the Sedaris'.
"Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim," makes an entertaining leisure read. I reccomned it!...more info
- I guess a lot of people think he's funny... I think he's disturbing!
This book has been on my stack of "to read" books for ages, and I finally got around to it. He's quirky and sarcastic, but overall I found the essays depressing and disturbing. I didn't find him or his family all that interesting. When he moved toward the more outwardly comedic, he also became more crude. It's certainly not at all flattering to his family or others who find their way into his stories. I'm sorry I bought it - wish I'd just borrowed it from the library!...more info
- Lovin' Sedaris
This was the first David Sedaris book I ever read. After reading this book I bought and read three other books of his. This one has turned out to be my most favorite. Once you start reading you won't want to put down. Sedaris will have you laughing over and over again with his bizarre and intriguing memoir. If you read only one Sedaris book ever, choose Corduroy and Denim. ...more info
- Dress your family in corduroy and denim
I NEVER have received the book...I got charged for it but can't get a response back from anyone!!!!!!...more info
- He picks up on everything
A collection of essays about his life and family, David Sedaris once again entertains and tickles with his intelligent wit, sarcasm and his humorous but admirably perceptive outlook on everyday things the rest of us absorb, not file away for future reference. I truly wouldn't want to be around David though. I would feel like I'd unwittingly make it into one of his books.
- Another great Sedaris book
This is another awesome and hilarious book by Sedaris. Full of funny stories..and of course, bizzarre situations. His books are fun to read in pieces....more info
- Sedaris knows how to show you a great time.
I've loved every one of Sedaris' books, and just fininshed re-reading this one. I felt like some good laughs, and his books really deliver. Sometimes a "yikes" rather than a laugh, but always an impact. I have yet to find anyone than has the wit and style and ability to fascinate as well as produce a belly laugh like David Sedaris. ...more info
- Quirky, odd, weird
I don't like to read reviews and descriptions of a book prior to reading it because so very often they give away too much and spoil the book for me. This book was given to me as a gift and I just assumed it was fiction. I kept waiting for some sort of story to evolve, a plot, a direction. Took me many a chapter to even realize this was non-fiction and basically a collection of anecdotes. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more if I had realized that at the onset.
Anyway, I thought it was a fairly weird grouping of stories. What a bizarre family! While mildly humorous I thought it was mostly weird and quirky (and sad) rather than funny....more info
- Defines Droll
I have long delighted in David Sedaris's pieces in The New Yorker and on "This American Life." His humor is edgy, but--and granted this will seem contradictory--there is something familiar and down-to-earth to it. Perhaps this is because it's like the aphorism popularized by Homer Simpson: "It's funny 'cause it's true."
Sedaris's stories mostly revolve around his family, now and when growing up, as well as his partner, Hugh. His family's interrelationships often seem disfunctional, but like the Simpson family, the abuse they heap upon one another is just another way of saying "I love you." It's sometimes painful to watch, even if one is also amused by their interaction.
Wouldn't anyone be just a little uncomfortable reading how (in "Let It Snow") the Sedaris children, locked out of their house by their mother, decided to sacrifice their youngest sibling by having her lie down in the middle of the road--all for the ultimate purpose of making their mom feel bad? And yet, Sedaris makes this funny: "Poor Tiffany: She'd do just about anything in return for a little affection.... When we asked her to lie in the middle of the street, her only question was 'Where?'" (Don't worry, Tiffany lives--to become the stuff of another story.)
Aside from the humor, one reads Sedaris because he's just so literate, so good at story telling. He has a real gift with capturing a moment, particularly in the dialogue. His reminiscences of his mother are particularly touching and funny. I'm reminded of the line in the play/movie "Same Time Next Year" when Doris says that she has fallen in love with Helen, the wife of her lover, George: We hear these wonderful stories about her and fall in love with her.
Sedaris at times takes a labyrinthine route in tracing a course of events. "Nuit of the Living Dead" is a good example of this. You sort of wonder where the story's going (zombies? rats? burglars starving to death in chimneys? ungrateful children?), but you don't really mind because you're amused all along the way. Another example is the first story, "Us and Them," which originally appeared in The New Yorker. It's a hilarious story which, though focused at first on the strangeness of a family that doesn't watch TV but actually talks at the dinner table (Mon Dieu!), turns on one particular encounter with this family: having been away at camp, they show up at the Sedaris door trick-or-treating the day *after* Halloween. This is one of the laugh-out-loud moments of the book, when Sedaris, ordered by his mom to get some piece of candy from his previous night's stash, sequesters himself in his room to gorge himself on sweets, sitting on his bed with chocolate oozing from his mouth while he develops a headache (because he's allergic to chocolate), all to deny the silly twits from across the street his candy.
Sedaris's stories might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy fresh writing, bizarre situations, and a good, warm laugh, Sedaris will not disappoint....more info
- I liked it, but............
First of all, I don't see why Amazon would print a reveiw by someone like David Smith who admittingly only read 4 pages of the book. I'm a big David Sedaris fan from way back. My favorite book of his is "Barrell Fever." That book had me not only laughing out loud, but calling friends and reading them entire essays. His childhood recollections in this book are funny, particularly when they involve his sisters, but this one, for me, wasn't as entertaining as the other books. And this one felt too short, as well. Regardless, David Sedaris is a great writer and a great performer. I saw him live once and got the change to meet him afterwards and he lives up to his talent. As for Mr Smith who called him a young pretentious writer, David is at least in early 40's. Trust me there are much younger and more pretentious writers out there. And had he taken the time to read the book he would find out, that unlike many memiors, this book does not ask for any pity or sympathy even in his worst of times. He's simply showing you how he and his family have always been able to find the humor in even the darkest of moments. There's nothing pretentious abou that....more info
- This book is a truly enjoyable read.
If you like the dry wit of David Sedaris you will love this book. Even if you don't know who he is, once you have read the first page you will probably love this book.
Seeing the world through the author's eyes for a while helps us to remember the little absurdities we experience every day and, somehow, cherish them for a moment rather than let them drive us stark, raving, looney.
Thank you Mr. Sedaris, for reminding us to treasure even the stranger moments that make up the life of a human being....more info
- Pleasingly Funny
This was the first book of David's which I read. It came as a recommendation from a friend. I found myself unable to put it down. Most people will easily relate to the stories of his childhood. I highly recommend this as a first book if you have never had the privilege of experiencing David Sedaris. ...more info
- The CD is great with the author reading his works
Similar to "Me Talk Pretty One Day," "Dress Your Family..." delivers hilarious essays/stories by Sedaris. He has a special talent for storytelling that should tickle any reader or listener. The CD version allows the listener to hear Sedaris imitate family members and other characters making the stories even funnier than in print. I especially enjoyed the live performances and wish there were more. A couple times during the stories, Sedaris comes close to the point of being too explicit for my tastes, but he seems to draw back before ever crossing the line from my perspective. I think he is more self-revealing in these stories than in "Me Talk Pretty One Day" which adds to the connection with the reader/listener. I don't think Sedaris needs to change what he is doing at all...just keep doing it, because it works superbly and does not get old....more info
- laugh out loud and hide your eyes
Sedaris is a funny man!! The desription of him and his stories as laugh out loud funny is right on the mark. I would have appreciated a heads up on the graphic nature of some of his tellings, though. I bought two of hese books as gifts...I felt I needed to apologize to the one recipient who received the book before I read it myself...the other one was never given...I was too embarrassed by the the raw sexual nature of several of Sedaris' musings. So be ready to laugh out loud but keep ready, ready to hide your eyes...I would strongly suggest a read through BEFORE you decide to gift this one....more info
- Not so bad - not so great.
The book arrived with a slip jacket that looked dirty and there was a slit on the spine of it - it looked as though it had been cut with an exacto knife. Other than that it was in good condition....more info
- Humorous Essays Lack Unity
David Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a reading experience much more than it is a book. The reason for this is that it is not a novel, nor a memoir, nor a work of non-fiction or much of any other genre that one simply thinks up when the word "book" is mentioned. Sedaris's newest work is rather the prose writer's version of a collection of poems: a collection of separate autobiographical essays mostly having the purpose of entertaining the reader. Entertaining as they are, the problem with the book is that it seems Sedaris could have simply spit out hundreds of essays and picked at random the best ones and released them as a book. The essays only share the common thread that they are all about Sedaris. They seem to have no unified purpose or theme that they are trying to communicate. The book may have been better released as a weekly newspaper column rather than a single volume that deceives the consumer into thinking that it is a single comprehensive volume with a single purpose.
The organization of the essays trick the reader into thinking that they may be reading a kind of choppy memoir, perhaps even excerpts from a larger memoir. Each essay stands alone as a separate entity. The essays as a result span a wide range of time and consequently, also span a wide range of topics. Sedaris writes about everything from
Halloween episodes, snow storms, sleep-over parties, his life as a homosexual, being in the land lord business, his life in France and the birth of his brother's daughter. Granted, these subjects don't have much in common with the page-turning, suspense filled subject matter of writers like Dan Brown and Michael Chricton. Nevertheless, Sedaris finds a way to make his stories incredibly interesting. He often incorporates his witty sense of humor into his stories. I personally nearly embarrassed myself reading in public places because I would usually laugh out loud upon reading one of Sedaris's clever phrases. Though the book lacked a sense of completeness, each individual essay was very well constructed and surprisingly entertaining.
Sedaris distinguishes himself from other writers in that he is not shy in the least. The greatest thing about him is that he will say anything without the fear of being politically incorrect, too rash or up front. One of my favorite examples of this kind of writing was when Sedaris describes the normal winter conditions while growing up in North Carolina. "What little snow there was would usually melt an hour or two after hitting the ground and there you'd be in your windbreaker and unconvincing mittens, forming a lumpy figure made mostly of mud, Snow Negroes, we called them." The root of Sedaris's humor lies in saying the unexpected. Rarely is his writing overly offensive or bawdy, but it does have a certain provocative quality that often catches the reader off guard.
However there are some instances where Sedaris goes perhaps a little too far, usually when writing about his brother, Paul, who seems to be depicted as a rashly offensive person. Paul's crude sense of humor provides such an extreme contrast to Sedaris's dry, witty humor that it almost seems out of place in the collection of essays. Especially because Paul only appears in two or three of the book's two dozen or so essays, it almost seems like Sedaris turns to the dirty and offensive as an unfair substitute for his legitimate, clever humor.
The most disappointing aspect of the book is the conclusion. It is almost upsetting because the final essay ends on a similar note as the others. The only reason it is placed at the end of the book seems simply because it is the most recent chronologically. Throughout the entire book, it seems as though the reader is trying to figure out why these particular essays were presented together rather than separately. Instead the book simply just ends.
Sedaris has nevertheless created an interesting and entertaining collection of autobiographical material. His zany cleverness, crisp writing and engaging voice come together to extract majesty from the mundane. Perhaps writing essays of everyday incidents makes the collection even stronger, giving the average audience member much more to relate to and connect with on a personal level. Though the essays don't seem to mesh together very well, Sedaris seems to conquer the lack of cohesion to make for a very enjoyable read filled with many laughs and life lessons. ...more info
- David Sedaris
Another collection of essays from a brilliant wit who you know you love to read. It's like I've said in my reviews before. There's no need to review each book when I can just give the author a blanket endorsement and guarantee you'll love whatever you find by the guy. I love it when that happens. I may have annoyed Jan by laughing out loud too often. Sedaris is like that.
- Dress Your Family in Cords or enim
This book is hysterical! Probably one of his best works if not the best.If you like Sedaris at all then you must read this (even though it's not his latest). It's even funny a second time around, the semi biographical short stories don't get dated....more info
The reason I give this audiobook 4 stars is that there are only 2 live performances, when 4 are advertised - 6 to 8 Black Men is live, as is Rooster at the Hitchin' Post, but neither Who's the Chef? nor Repeat After Me are live (the latter two are advertised as live in the copyright section on the back). Still, this audiobook is immensely worth it....more info
- Excellent! Highly recommended!
This book stood out on the shelf. At the time i purchased it i knew nothing of David's works and boy was I in for a surprise! Reading David's collections is one of those guilty pleasures you just cant describe to people. This book is by far one of my all time favorites. I look forward to his new title "when you are engulfed in flames"....more info
- Brilliant, but a little too dirty for my taste
Again, David Sedaris proves that he is one of the best writers out there. He is a brilliant story teller and is so engaging. That's why I was very sad to have to put it back on my bookshelf about half-way through. Some of the stories are just too sexual and over the top that I found that I should not continue to read. I cannot compliment him enough for his talent; I just wish he would tone it down a bit for those of us who want more of a clean read....more info
I read this book while driving from southern cali to central cali. It was so hilarious that I ended up reading chapters out loud to my husband. I love Sedaris' sense of humor about his family and was also able to put the pieces together about his family from other memoirs he's written. He is a gem....more info
- Love Sedaris!
I have now read all of Sedaris' books (just finished dress your family in Corduroy and Denim), and I have loved them all. They are great coming of age type of stories for any orientation and very funny. not just gay literature -- just funny literature. Not quite as funny as "Running with Scissors," but probably more poignant and identifiable to more of us. Running with Scissors is hilarious, but seems out of this world. Sedaris as 99% as funny, but much more identifiable to us and seems much more like a family member of ours gone awry in a funny, funny way. Plus, we all know that if our siblings were to rant about us, we'd be characters in a book like Sedaris' too! I highly recommend this. Quick read, and very, very good!...more info
- Please enter a title for your review
This book, and I assume the rest of the author's work, is enjoyable primarily for it's informal style, and seemingly obvious although rare deducation that focus on heroism or tragedy isn't necessary for interesting memoir writing. Although it was more often entertaining than not the book still left me thinking that if more people wrote books like this Sedaris would probably not be a frontrunner in the genre. 3? stars....more info
- Love It
David Sedaris is probably one of my favorite writers. He manages to make situations that are just plain odd into wonderful stories that make me laugh every time I read any of them. There are times where certain events seem very unlikely but they only add to the hilarity and they aren't crazy enough to take away from the main idea. The poker game scene seems a bit embellished along with a few others although I absolutely loved reading every story. The little side notes he adds in about what's happening are wonderfully placed. The way he presents the material in the book always makes me want to read more. The only time I could make myself stop reading was after a story had ended. This story focuses a lot on his dysfunctional family and it is scary that he considers himself the normal one. I loved the variety of stories and situations he chooses to express such different people and events in his life. His use of subtext is flawless and makes the reader feel smart and like they're in on one of his secrets when they pick up on it. His story about the "popular crowd" and his dad was hysterical. No matter how awkward or risqu¨¦ a topic he's talking about might be, he always finds a way to mention it politely or add a funny spin on it. The story about not wanting to share his Halloween candy is something everyone who ever went trick-or-treating can relate to and that's why it was so funny. It was during that scene in which I received many glares from Starbucks patrons as I laughed out loud to myself. This book was absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend reading it, especially if you enjoyed any of his other books....more info
- for folks between novels
I'm between 4 and 5 stars on this one... There are a couple of stories that don't "do it" for me, stories that I more/less regard as filler for the binding. And then there are the rest of the stories in here which are (all of them) blisteringly, timelessly, laugh-out-loud funny.
Maybe it helps that before this came out, we saw him read several selections from the collection. For that, I'll err on the side of five starts.
"Yes, I am talking about boat trailers. But also, I am dying."...more info
After having read all of David Sedaris books, this one was just as funny, but it also made me very sad at times. There were alot of chapters (rather, short stories) where I read silently, having not laughed at all, but just engaged myself in them, and couldnt help but feel a little torn up afterwards.
I know this isnt a very helpful review for most newcomers to Sedaris' work, but for those of you interested, I recommend starting with Me Talk Pretty One Day. Save Holidays On Ice for the holidays, even though it doesnt matter. I just think it fits better....more info
- another good book by David sedaris
This book is my Fav. of Sedaris. You feel like you are part of the family while reading this book. There are some very funny parts that had me laughing out loud. Enjoy...more info
- Good read
This book was a good read. At times I was bored with the writer, but over all it was a great book!...more info
- I'm a fan
I'm a huge fan of David Sedaris. He's not only hysterical, but also inspirational. I was surprised when i spoke about his book to my friends and co workers, that many of them have already read his books. "Me talk pretty one day" is highly recommended as well....more info
- Great One To Read After the Family Holidays
This book reminds you that it is not only your family that is crazy. It's fun to laugh at others and then think of your own insane family functions....more info
- A great reprise of Me Talk Pretty...can Sedaris move on one day?
Over the past few months, I read David Sedaris' books in order of their publications. Upon completing Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim, I feel that Sedaris has come to an impasse. While I certainly enjoyed a few of the essays here, I also feel rather numbed to the Sedaris style. Between Barrel Fever and Naked, there is a tremendous jump in maturity as Sedaris decides to write essays instead of stories. Me Talk Pretty One Day solidifies Sedaris' command of his comic voice. Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim feels like an extension of Me Talk Pretty One Day instead of a continuation of the writing process.
While I don't agree that Sedaris is a pretentious writer, I do think that he needs to advance the quality of his next book. Doing the same thing over and over will appeal to fans, but I may lose interest if I see another book where he is the star. I wonder what a third-person point of view Sedaris essay would sound like? Could it freshen his funny? Would fans even let him change?...more info
- The Life of Sedaris
I have to admit that I am not a fan of short story books, because it seems that just as I am getting into the story it cuts to something entirely new. This was certainly true of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I did not find that the stories were particularly insightful or humorous, which are the two things I most look for in a novel.
That said, Sedaris's candor lends credence to the kinds of stories we all might have if we just took time to chronicle them. Perhaps the saving grace of this book is that it tells the kinds of stories ordinary people would have in an extraordinary way. This book was worth reading through once, but it is not a book I foresee myself picking up anytime in the near future....more info
- Equally as good as Me Talk Pretty
I can't say which book made me laugh out loud more - this one or Me Talk Pretty One Day. They are both hilarious. Dress Your Family... tends to tackle a few more serious topics - the death of his mother, drugs; and his adult relationships with both his family and his lover, as they attempt to build a life together in Paris.
One of the things I love is: there are no boundaries for what Sedaris will write. Like his sister asking him not to make her "fat" in the book. He didn't necessarily have to - he found a loophole; he just quoted her.
Sedaris captures the thoughts that - I'm sure - we've all had about our families, and he does so in a voice that never really seems to intentionally mock his loved ones. He's simply re-telling everyday events as they occurred; but with a sardonic, captivating perspective not easily articulated by the everyday man. ...more info
- Extremely entertaining as an audio book
I chose this audio book to listen to in the car on a long road trip and was very satisfied. Although I have never read Sedaris' work before I have heard his essays on NPR and this audio book lived up to my expectations.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a collection of essays about the Sedaris family that range from touching to absolutely hilarious. They are not meant to form one continuous story and this actually works quite well in the audio book format because you can easily listen to the book over multiple car rides or workouts without feeling like you have to rewind in order to understand the story.
While these stories are entertaining and captivating in their own right they are exponentially more interesting when read by Sedaris. His well timed dry delivery paired with the different voices he does for each character made for a very engaging read. My boyfriend and I were laughing so much at the different stories that the book did a great job of making the time pass and keeping us entertained on an otherwise dull car ride.
This book really highlighted for me that Sedaris not just a talented wordsmith but also great at bringing energy and enthusiasm to his work. I would highly recommend this audio book and am planning on checking out more of Sedaris' work as a result....more info
- Funniest book I ever read!
This is the first David Sedaris book I ever read, and after reading his other books, this is still my favorite. The best story is "six to eight black men". I can't even tell people about that story without laughing so hard that I have tears in my eyes. I was often reading this book while in a public place, and it caused the awkward situation of laughing out loud in public! ...more info
- So so
This installment of the Sedaris family saga is not nearly as good as "Naked" or "Me Talk Pretty One Day", which are both absolutely brilliant. The book has its moments, but some of the essays are actually dull. And the ones involving his disgusting (sorry, David) brother Paul are simply gross. Some of the graphic descriptions and language go a bit overboard....more info
- Disappointed in the vulgar content
After reading an essay by David Sedaris online and liking it, I checked out this book from the library. I was eagerly anticipating an enjoyable read. Unfortunately, while going through a few of the essays I found them to be-as I see others have pointed out-very vulgar; so I stopped. If it weren't for his inclusion of such lurid sexual and profane content-content that detracts from the author's talent-it's possible I would enjoy his work. ...more info
- Not his best work.
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 - this last book ("Dress your family in corduroy and denim") was 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 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 tenable 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 established Sedaris as a hilarious, extremely talented writer. Anyone can have one mediocre book. Let's hope he will leave it at that. ...more info
makes you fall in love with his unremarkable characters, who do nothing grand and simply just...live...more info
- Loved the book
Loved the book - love the author. Don't read this book in bed with anyone else - your laughter will keep them awake....more info
- pretentious garbage
i tried reading it, and made it about 3-4 pages. i'm pretty sure that's a bad sign. i seem to recall mr. sedaris writing about his mother's bedpan or something. the impression i instantly got was "BEEP BEEP! PRETENTIOUS YOUNG WRITER PEDDLING SO-CALLED BAD CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES FOR FAME, MONEY AND SYMPATHY." guess what, mr. sedaris? i don't give a (expletive deleted) about your so-called bad childhood. millions of people have bad childhoods and don't play the sympathy card. check out augusten burrough's books, they manage to have humor and touching moments without this kind of pretentious style. ...more info
- Not his best but good enough
I enjoyed "Dress Your Family...". It delves more into his family and personal relationships than the others have and while funny - it is occasionally funny in a disturbing way. You can't help but wonder how much is true and how much is sort of maybe true but somewhat embellished. You find yourself hoping there is in fact embellishment because we're talking serious dysfunction otherwise - particularly when he discusses one of his sisters and his brother.
His writing is as usual quick and biting and witty. He is self-deprecating, but compared to a couple of his siblings, and maybe his father (as he describes them) - he is the *less messed up*, which is scary.
Although I didn't like it as much as "Me Talk Pretty One Day", I still recommend it.
- Pleasing introduction
A copy of Dress Your Family etc was given to me by a friend, with an enthusiastic recommendation, and served a my intro to humorist Sedaris. A collection of family and daily life-based stories, some are LOL funny, some are poignant, and a few are merely snide. Among my favorites are the hilarious Dutch Christmas essay and final vignette, a tale about a carload of European tourist who stop at the Sedaris house in his French "willage", and David sees the contents of his home through their eyes. The other members of the Sedaris family, with the exception of his witty mom, could not be more different from David, and not only because he is gay. His knack for nail-on-the-head characterizations is outstanding, but he does not allow the comic aspects to obscure the human ones. Witty and wise without being preachy....more info
- Belly laughs and somber thoughts
Belly laughs and somber thoughts resonate in this quilted family history of Sedaris and his numerable siblings.
Growing up with eccentric parents would be an understatement. Having numerous children, whose personalities appear to have little in common, results from this unique situation. Some are neatniks, some are slobs, some are homosexual, some are homophobic, some are rednecks, some are francophiles, . . .
Being his sister or brother, we learn, is no laughing matter in some of these often too revealing stories: his sister is thrust into a reform school where her punishments include lying belly down for hours on the ground with mouth open to facilitate an extremely warped warden who putts golf balls into the open orifice. One sibling said life as his sister is most traumatic when horrified to hear there may be a movie about his family revelations -- and she knows many more people watch movies than would ever read his books.
At times, the stories read like stand up comic routines, viewing different people in a different person's perspective.
Mr. Sedaris, as different as he sometimes can be, has visions similar to a child. Often focusing slowly on the matter which exists strikingly before him, he clears his perspective and describes the crystal vision he conceives -- something which we would never see, even in a blur.
If you want easy reading which gives you easy laughs, buy and read this book. It may not be a classic, but it is a barrel of laughs.
- Another great Sedaris
This one was a little more poignant than the others, but not remotely lacking the great humor we all love in David Sedaris. I'm not sure that his family is any wackier than others, but he has a gift for bringing them to life for us in all their humorous episodes....more info
- A definite re-read
I fell in love with this book just a couple of pages in, which is usually a good sign. I really identify with Sedaris' style of writing in general, so I found this an incredibly easy-read. There are several parts where you will snicker out loud, and then maybe later you'll go back and re-read those spots just to giggle again.
I keep this book out for a quick pick-me-up whenever the mood suits me....more info
- Light and funny reading
Sometimes the enjoyment of a book is increased or decreased by what was read before it. Much like a good bottle of wine compliments a meal, one book can compliment another. In this case I'd just finished a densely written, slow moving, character driven novel: Louis De Bernieres "Birds Without Wings." So reading the light humorous fluff of David Sedaris right afterward was perfect. Sedaris is a funny guy with an excentric family. Or maybe they're all normal and he's eccentric. Either way he has a slanted point of view that is off-beat. The stories are short, as is the book, so it goes down like a tasty dessert. But his insights are spot on. In the story The End of the Affair he nails lasting relationships by writing, "Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings." This the second book of stories I've read by him but I look forward to the day when he really stretches himself and tackles a novel. ...more info
- Great Read
I have read Six to Eight Black Men again and again. I laugh every single time. Great wit, great for a rainy day. I just started Naked and feel the same!...more info
- Edgy and Occasionally Disturbing
I've enjoyed Dave Sedaris's work since I first heard an abridged reading of SantaLand Diaries on NPR several years ago. I loved the unabridged and somewhat edgier version even more. I have enjoyed every one of his essay collections. His delivery, written and spoken, is unique.
On the other hand, I am no Sedarista. While some of his pieces are funny or touching or thoughtful or odd, others are a bit creepy. I first read The Girl Next Door in The New Yorker and it was disturbing, not only because of the strange family he describes, but because of his own behavior. It was no less disturbing a second time around.
All but one of the essays in this collection have appeared before, in magazines or on radio. The single essay that seems to be newly published here is Chicken in the Henhouse, funny in places, but it left me uneasy in the same way that The Girl Next Door did.
These essays have Sedaris's family as their theme. Apparently the family member who is most comfortable in his own skin is his younger brother, Paul, a Southern redneck who surrounds himself with clutter and dogs. Sedaris never mentions that his sister Amy is also a writer. There are funny lines and conversations, but I wouldn't categorize this as a humor collection. His previous collections have included mainstream funny essays with more serious and unsettling pieces. This collection contains nothing like SantaLand Diaries or Me Talk Pretty One Day and Jesus Shaves, two fabulous essays about the trials of learning French, and trying to explain, with limited vocabulary, why an egg-laying bunny is the symbol of Easter in America. The pieces in Dress Your Family are a little too honest and revealing to be comfortably funny.
But I read every word. Sedaris's writing is clean and spare. He doesn't waste any words. These essays, as effortless as they read, must have required merciless editing on Sedaris's part to remove every unnecessary word, and to make every phrase just the right one.
Which is why I am still puzzling over the title. There is no essay called Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, nor is there any reference to corduroy or denim. Perhaps it has to do with the French origin of the words? Maybe the reason is so obvious that when someone tells me what it means, I'll smack my forehead and feel like a dope. But meanwhile, I'm stumped.
- Somewhat amusing
This was the first title I have read from the author and after seeing all of the reviews, I somewhat expected this to be one of the those laugh out loud books. With a few exceptions, it wasn't. I was still entertained by the accounts of this very unique family and was able to relate to various pieces of the different stories. I dont regret picking up this book up but I I think I was expecting more. ...more info
- Audio CD review: he narrates his essays himself and it makes it even funnier
I had read the Barrel essays and loved them. I bought the audio CD for this book, and was nervous that someone speaking out loud was not going to be as entertaining as reading the essays myself. Turns out they are even funnier when Sedaris reads them!
Not every story is funny, and I agree some are a bit graphic and/or boring, but there are some hysterical, laugh out loud pieces in here, and I suspect you will find some stories you can play over and over again during future car trips. My favorite was the one about the family that had no idea how to behave in society because they did not watch televison. Another favorite was the woman with two houses.
Note for Dave Sedaris fans: This audio CD contains many, many stories that are not on the Dave Sedaris compilation audio CD set. I think that one runs $50 dollars or so these days. I bought that and was disappointed to discover that the compilation CD is definitely one which must be a "best of" set from his other audio CD books. In retrospect, I would buy each audio CD book separately to ensure I get all the stories. ...more info
- Pretty good
It had some funny moments...and I did laugh out loud on several occassions. He's one of my favorite authors...more info
- More poignant than humorous
I don't believe that Sedaris intended a hilarious read like Me Talk Pretty One Day. While reading this book, all I could think was that he was pouring his heart out about some very painful events in his life and about painful observations about humanity (the chapter about TV, for instance) but had to throw in some comedy for those who expect it from him. I read this book and laughed out loud a number of times, but I also cried a few times. This book was very well written and is funny but also painful at times....more info
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