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 traveller. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In his new book David 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 finds one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today at the peak of his form.
It just isn’t fair: most of us would be lucky to be able to express ourselves in writing half as well as David Sedaris does in his new book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
. But on top of his skills with the written word, the author also has substantial gifts as a performer, and he proves this on the audio version of the book. In his essay The Change in Me,
Sedaris remembers that his mother was good at imitating people, and it’s clear that he takes after her. Whether he’s doing impressions of high-voiced brother Paul, or recalling times when he and his sisters tried to win good karma by speaking and acting like well-behaved, fairytale children, Sedaris’s nuanced performance hits the right note on both the opening, comedic stories, and the more poignant essays that tend to come later in the reading. In fact, for those who have already read some of the best stories in other publications including The New Yorker
, the CD or cassette version of this collection is probably the best bet for furthering your appreciation of the material.
Sedaris’s career is closely linked with two things: audio (he was discovered by NPR’s Ira Glass), and the personal lives of himself and his family. In Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, he describes fights with his boyfriend, and his sister-in-law’s difficult pregnancy. When sister Lisa complains about the stories involving the family, he writes about that, too. Sedaris's latest provides more evidence that he is a great humorist, memoirist and raconteur, and readers are lucky to have the opportunity to know him so well. Perhaps they are luckier still not to know him personally. --Leah Weathersby