Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

by David Sedaris | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0316010790 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 1/1/2006
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, January 01, 2006
Another fine Sedaris collection! This one is similar in content and tone to "Me Talk Pretty One Day" - most of the essays are about Sedaris' family, some of them concerning childhood incidents and others very up-to-date. A few of my favorite bits: "The Ship-Shape" (which I heard him read at Boston's Symphony Hall last fall, when he was still working out the kinks) is a classically bittersweet story of his family's summers at the beach, and the brief, glorious period when they thought his father was going to come through on his promise to buy a beach house. As with all classic Sedaris bits this one ranges from laugh-out-loud funny to near-tears.

"The End of the Affair" begins with Sedaris and his partner Hugh going to see the film of the same name:
I had trouble keeping my eyes open because I was tired and not completely engaged. Hugh had trouble keeping his eyes open because they were essentially swollen shut: he sobbed from beginning to end, and by the time we left the theater, he was completely dehydrated. I asked if he always cried during comedies, and he accused me of being grossly insensitive, a charge I'm trying to plea-bargain down to simply obnoxious.
The rest of the essay deals with various aspects of their relationship - more than I've heard Sedaris say in any one previous piece - and presents some truths that anyone who's ever been in love will recognize...

"Repeat After Me" is the story I referred to in my first entry, and is both wildly funny and heart-wrenching. Clearly Sedaris' relationship with his family is a bit of a trial to them: "I might reinvent myself to strangers, but to this day, as far as my family is concerned, I'm still the one most likely to set your house on fire."

In the "outrageous" department, there's the charming "Possession"; Sedaris and Hugh are apartment-hunting for a new place in Paris, and having gotten into apartment-hunting mode, Sedaris finds it difficult to stop - even when visiting such difficult-to-place apartments as that formerly occupied by Anne Frank!

The last story in the collection is "Nuit of the Living Dead," and had me laughing almost to tear-point - partially in recognition. Here's Sedaris, home alone in his remote French farmhouse, trying to dispatch a mouse that had been not-quite-killed in a trap, when some lost travelers stop by for directions. Their growing realization that this strange little man is not only apparently drowning mice for fun but is assembling a model of the human anatomy and has decorated his house with skulls and with pens shaped like human fingers... well, they seem unsettled. I wonder what strangers would make of my skull-and-gargoyle collection if they came upon it at three in the morning?

[This is also the collection that contains "Six to Eight Black Men," Sedaris' investigation into Christmas customs in other countries. I've heard him read this live, and I have to say it left me in pain from laughing so hard...]

The TV Tropes page on Sedaris and his work has some entertaining tidbits.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, Celestial Way in Pepperell, Massachusetts USA on Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Released 1 mo ago (12/1/2020 UTC) at Little Free Library, Celestial Way in Pepperell, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2020 D for December challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2020 What's in a Name challenge, for the embedded "Roy" in the title. ***

*** Released for the 2020 Decemberish Holiday challenge. ***

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