Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris

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The latest offering from the "This American Life" contributor, David Sedaris is not the light summer reading you may think it should be...but it's good writing and wry style are sure to please those who have come to love his stories.

The latest offering from the "This American Life" contributor, David Sedaris is not the light summer reading you may think it should be...but it's good writing and wry style are sure to please those who have come to love his stories.

As with his other books, “Dress Your Family” consists of short stories/essays out of David Sedaris’ personal life. If you’ve read some of his work, you know to expect darkly funny observations on the absurdity of one American family. This time around, there are still the same hysterically funny outtakes of life but he hits on some more poignant moments too. There is more of a wry introspection that makes these stories read more like honest memories than attempts at comic views of a dysfunctional family. His writing style reminds one of the observations by Mark Twain or Woody Allen, with the way he mixes compassion and cynicism while focusing on his own, and his family’s, behaviors and idiosyncrasies.

This is a man to whom everything and anything is fair game to write about. His family, his lover, his friends, even strangers on the street. He is the writer as observer. He is to writing what Weegee was to photography: the man unafraid to expose everyday life to the scrutiny of the artist who reveals the strangeness and oddness found there.

Sedaris’ work is not always easy to read. His writing style flows easily but his words often cause one to stop and reflect on the strange meanings of all the little things that we do over the course of the day in our lives. I think that Mollie Wilson, from The Village Voice, puts it best when she says: “Sedaris’s sometimes affectionate, usually dark insights might be troubling if they weren’t so damn funny.”

Review by Ina

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris
272 pages, Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316143464

 

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