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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by [Sedaris, David]
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day, etc.) perfects his written essays by going on the road and reading them aloud, so it's no surprise that his new collection is even more hilarious and haunting as an audiobook. All 22 of the book's essays are here, and it's a treasury of riches matched by Sedaris's slightly nasal but enthralling delivery. Sedaris's material has always walked a razor's edge between hilarious and heartbreaking, and never more so than here. Although Sedaris pokes fun at his family, he mixes the laughs with empathy. When he tries to make sense out of his sister's squalid living conditions in "Put a Lid on It," his deadpan descriptions and hyper reactions are hysterically funny, but it's clear that his sister is a complex person, not just a punch line. Likewise, his late mother, previously seen as a chain-smoking, tart-talking dame, gains more depth in the downright spooky "The Girl Next Store." In "The End of the Affair," he and boyfriend Hugh disagree over a romantic movie and he concludes, "Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings." Still, Sedaris hasn't lost his irreverence; in "Possession," he tours Anne Frank's annex and imagines how he'd redecorate it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 843 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316143464
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (June 1, 2004)
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2004
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1RG4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,561 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
While not as sidesplitting in its entirety as "Me Talk Pretty One Day," this was an excellent book. Some of the pieces were still very funny, but there were some pieces that were just touching recollections. What I like is that even when DS is mocking some horrible traits shown by his family members, he also clearly loves them and that love shows through. He knows that you can love someone and not like everything that they do.
There are some clearly funny places though. The author's account of his brother's cooking habits and dog training techniques made me laugh so hard I dropped the book - then I immediately took it to my friend's house so she could read it, but made her read it aloud instead of doing it myself because I know I wouldn't have been able to speak aloud for the last few pages due to the gasping for air.
I also found it interesting that one of his sisters lives in my town - but my neighbor tells me this is not news, she'll introduce herself to you in the local library :)
God forbid we ever have a smoking prohibition, or DS will be in Tourette hell. I believe him utterly when he says that for him, smoking is a good thing.
If you like reading about imperfect people who care about each other but can be quite ludicrous, and observations of human oddity in general, this book is for you. (As are all his other books.) I found the second half of the book to be funnier than the first half.
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Format: Hardcover
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is my second book by David Sedaris after finishing Holidays on Ice (one of the funniest books, ever). Unlike Holidays, Dress Your Family consists of 22 short stories that are all autobiographical in nature.

Dress Your Family doesn't quite have the belly laughs of Holidays, but it is comical nonetheless. One funny story is about his brother's wedding on the beach with his dogs as attendants (the flower girl was in heat). In another, he plays strip poker with his friends and makes up the rules in order to keep his clothes. Sedaris' self-deprecating humor is also amusing. The author had an unusual childhood, and while most boys were picking up footballs and hockey sticks, Sedaris was picking out wallpaper samples. But Dress Your Family is also filled with the angst of childhood, and most of us will identify with many of these stories. Some are downright heartbreaking. After dropping out of college, his father asks him to move out of the house. Only later does Sedaris learn the real reason: his father disapproves of his homosexuality.

Still, the Sedaris family has center stage here. With mom, dad, four sisters, and a very masculine brother, each one is quirkier than the next. It's hard to tell how much is Sedaris' very keen powers of observation, and how much is exaggeration. In any case, it's no wonder that when odd things happen to his sisters, they all scream at him "and I don't want to see this in one of your books!" Sedaris always promises to keep their secrets, but everyone knows they will appear sometime soon. Sedaris is an amazing writer and storyteller, and it is appropriate that he has such a rich source of material. I'm sure it will keep him going ad infinitum.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love David Sedaris for the ease at which he can have you in side splitting hysterics. The anticipation of a new collection of essays means at least an hour or two of annoying loved ones and co-workers with, "one more section to read aloud".
However upon finishing this I only mustered up some hearty chuckles. Success hasn't spoiled Sedaris, it's just stripped him of his anonymity. Consequently placing himself in situations where he can silently observe are becoming obsolete.Most of the stories revolve around his family; a melancholic and unflattering collection of portraits that frankly I felt depressed more than amused. There are some very funny moments, but generally the absurd wit that runs through his previous essays was replaced by a sadder, softer tone. Still, fans of his work will find at least some things to giggle over, and that's more than alot of writers can say.
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Format: Hardcover
Ok, cutting to the chase: yes it's worth it, and no, he's not losing his touch -- but like anyone else with a working brain, the particulars will change over time.
David Sedaris is still the intelligent person's acid humorist, but he is growing to be able to play in two keys at once. The sharp-tongued "what was she thinking??" materialist, and the thoughtful guy who understands the source of his inspiration (mainly family), and honestly gets what they were thinking after all. And get this! Admits it!
If you read The New Yorker and Esquire and some other Lit mags you may have seen much of this material before (hey, a guy's gotta eat between hardcover releases) but much is gained in the compilation. Seriously. I swear you will still suppress an evil snort at regular intervals!
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Format: Paperback
This book is jampacked with what David Sedaris is famous for...great and interesting stories about himself and his quirky family. With marvelous wit and a somewhat sarcastic tone, Sedaris makes you believe you know his family as well as he does.

A fun, quick read that can be picked up and put down at a later date, if youre able. Just alot of fun...though prudish readers may be put off at some parts.

David Sedaris is someone Id love to meet just to hear his stories about his offbeat family in person.
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