‘Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim’ by David Sedaris

david sedarisAfter watching David Sedaris plug his book, ‘Squirrel seeks Chipmunk,’ on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I picked up an entirely different book by him at the library (Our library doesn’t have the most recent, but it did have a collection of some of his works). He was funny and witty and I recognized his name from NPR, though wasn’t sure what he had done. Was he a reporter who moonlighted as an author? Was he a columnist? No clue.

This was a really incredible reading experience for me. The style reminds me of reading individual blog excerpts that are exquisitely written. Each chapter is a personal experience of his, told with the benefit of a discerning hindsight which manages to wipe away pretension, but also brings you uncomfortably close to the truth. The honesty with which he is able to approach a subject is shocking.

It’s one thing to be honest with yourself, accepting those imperfect parts you wish you could change. It is an entirely different animal when you reveal those flaws to complete strangers who will do with them what they wish, changing your character and original intent into something more palatable for themselves. He speaks honestly about his relationships, but also of his family and their interactions with each other. I would not have the guts to reveal such personal and at times, humiliating, experiences. Not for myself, or for others. I am just not that brave.

For example, of his parents, he writes: ‘…and we witnessed what we would later come to recognize as the rejuvenating power of real estate. It’s what fortunate couples turn to when their sex life has faded and they’re too pious for affairs.’

And of relationships, in particular his, he writes: ‘Movie characters might chase each other through the fog or race down the stairs of burning buildings, but that’s for beginners. Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you’re offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings.’ (I know all too well what he means and that Hubby has often spared me from a truth he could easily have used as a weapon.)

David Sedaris’ writing is never forced and flows smoothly from one story to the next, gently teaching you lessons about humanity, humility, love and strength. I have a writer crush. It has moved from Mary Roach to David Sedaris. There is a good chance, after I finish my next project- Dorothy Parker will be my next writer obsession, and I will regal people who are busy doing other things (Hubby, to be exact) to listen to passages I find particularly witty.

david sedarisUntil that time, I highly recommend checking out this book. I have a feeling that his other works are all equally wonderful and am looking forward to them. His new book can be found here. If it doesn’t make it to the library soon, I may be forced to buy it myself.


About Abstract Emoting

Mommy, what is it you do to make your tummy jiggly? That about sums up my life. Welcome to my blog. Enjoy your stay.
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9 Responses to ‘Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim’ by David Sedaris

  1. Brandy says:


    I’d been listening to David Sedaris on This American Life (that’s the NPR program I know him from) and I loved him, so when I came across a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day in the airport on the way to Scotland, I bought it. That and Lolita. Both were hilarious. Me Talk Pretty One Day had me laughing all the way to Scotland, and Lolita had me laughing much of the way back.

    Also, GCSU has Barrel Fever, Me Talk Pretty, and Dress Your Family. Your hubby could check them out for you, or he could get you a spouse card, and you can check out your own.

    • lois72 says:

      Thanks, Brandy. Me Talk Pretty is at the local library, so I’ll be looking there when I start on it. But I my look into that spousal card. Sounds like it could come in handy. I just have to try not to turn things in late, as I often do.

  2. Darcy says:

    My favorite essay of his is in Naked. When he talked about licking light switches while in school, I started chuckling. When I got to his mother’s response, I burst out laughing! Naked is DEFINITELY worth a look (and Britton is right-the nice people at the library will acquire a copy for you. Or, even better, place the hold online-less waiting that way!).

  3. Britton says:

    Don’t you love him? I read “Me Talk Pretty One Day” while in Kenya. It definitely lifted my spirits! I’ve read all of his books except for his newest one. If you are a Georgia PINES library member, then the library can get you any book you want throughout the state of Georgia – for free! I place holds on books from all different GA counties each month. 🙂

    Do you like his sister, Amy Sedaris? Her book “Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People” will give you a good chuckle. Oh and check out Augusten Burroughs’ book “Possible Side Effects”.

    • lois72 says:

      Thanks, Britton. Since both you and Caitlin have suggested it, I will definitely be checking out ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’ as soon as I have finished reading the Dorothy Parker compilation I just checked out. (It might take me a while…)

      The library totally rocks! You can get all sorts of wonderful things there. In addition to books, they have DVDs and CDs, though the selection here pales in comparison to what we had in Columbia. The kiddos regularly ask to go to the library.

  4. Caitlin says:

    I first encountered this book by flipping through it in a Target. When I read that part about the mummified Willie Nelson doll, I started laughing until I cried, right there, in the middle of the book aisle.

    I adore “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” and “Santaland Diaries.” “Dress your child” is right up there, though.

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