It just isnt 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 its clear that he takes after her. Whether hes 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, Sedariss 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.
Sedariss career is closely linked with two things: audio (he was discovered by NPRs 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-laws 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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In his latest collection, Sedaris has found his heart. This is not to suggest that the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day
and other bestselling books has lost his edge. The 27 essays here (many previously published in Esquire
. or the New Yorker
, or broadcast on PRI's This American Life
) include his best and funniest writing yet. Here is Sedaris's family in all its odd glory. Here is his father dragging his mortified son over to the home of one of the most popular boys in school, a boy possessed of "an uncanny ability to please people," demanding that the boy's parents pay for the root canal that Sedaris underwent after the boy hit him in the mouth with a rock. Here is his oldest sister, Lisa, imploring him to keep her beloved Amazon parrot out of a proposed movie based on his writing. ("'Will I have to be fat in the movie?' she asked.") Here is his mother, his muse, locking the kids out of the house after one snow day too many, playing the wry, brilliant commentator on his life until her untimely death from cancer. His mother emerges as one of the most poignant and original female characters in contemporary literature. She balances bitter and sweet, tart and rich—and so does Sedaris, because this is what life is like. "You should look at yourself," his mother says in one piece, as young Sedaris crams Halloween candy into his mouth rather than share it. He does what she says and then some, and what emerges is the deepest kind of humor, the human comedy.
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