Book: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, written and narrated by David Sedaris
Summary: David Sedaris returns to his deliriously twisted domain: hilarious childhood dramas infused with melancholy; the gulf of misunderstanding that exists between people of different nations or members of the same family; and the poignant divide between one’s best hopes and most common deeds. The family characters his readers love are all here, as well as the unique terrain they inhabit, strewn with comic landmines. ‘The Rooster’ is back, and getting married in the funniest wedding ever described. David attends a slumber party and gets the upper hand in a unique version of strip poker. ‘Rubber or plastic?’ The strangest questions can tear people apart. A skinny guy from Spain, wearing a bishop’s hat and accompanied by six to eight men, invades your house and pretends to kick you. Is this any way to spend Christmas? With this new book, Sedaris’s prose reaches breathtaking new heights and marks off a territory that is unmistakably his own. Read it and weep tears of humane laughter.
Thoughts: I’ve read two of David Sedaris’s books before. These are collections of personal essays that are darkly funny, honest, and probably embarrassing for his family. One of the stories I had read before, as it is also included in Holidays On Ice (my review here). It deals with the Christmas customs of the Netherlands and, I didn’t think it was possible, but it was even funnier with Sedaris’s narration. I was literally hunched over my steering wheel I was laughing so hard.
Personally, I enjoy the stories of Sedaris’s adult life better than his reflections on childhood. His childhood stories are less comedic and his teenage self was so awkward that even through a lens of many years gone by, I was still squirming in embarrassment. The stories featuring Sedaris’s redneck brother or boyfriend Hughe are easily my favorites.
Narrator: It took me a minute to get used to Sedaris’s voice. I mean this in that I always need to acclimate to Sedaris’s authorial voice and that his actual speaking voice is way more high pitched than I expected. Once I got used to both, I really enjoyed his narration, but nothing beat the few tracks that were recorded live. After that, there were stories about his brother; Sedaris imitating his brother’s red neck way of speaking is probably the highlight of the collection.
Overall: If you like dark comedy, memoirs, and personal essays, then check out David Sedaris. Some of his stories are funnier than others, but they are all entertaining.