Click here to read reviewer Amanda Cuda's take on Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
David Sedaris is known as one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today and, going by the last few books of his Iíve read, I would say one of the funniest. After reading Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day and laughing throughout them, I would have put Sedaris in the same category as Dave Barry (whom I think is absolutely hilarious). Thatís why I was so excited to read his new collection, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. After completing the book, I would still be willing to call Sedaris witty and original, but now Iím not so sure about the funny part.
Sedarisí books are compilations of essays, all about the authorís life growing up and in the present. In earlier books, almost all of the essays had something funny in them, even if it was a mean funny or sad funny. However, as I began reading his current collection, I only found myself being sad. Take the second essay, "Let it Snow," in which Davidís mother locks him and his sisters out of the house in a snowstorm and they have to get their youngest sister to lie in the street to get their motherís attention. Or "A Million Bubbles," where David talks about his father kicking him out of the house because heís gay. Then thereís "Put a Lid on It," where David describes his sister living in a disgusting shack and going through garbage to make a living. Thereís nothing really different about the subject matter, as all of Davidís books concern his dysfunctional child and adulthood. The one difference is, these arenít funny. In fact, theyíre quite sad. Davidís mother comes across as a selfish witch, and his father is a hard man who always breaks promises to his children. These same characters existed in Davidís other books, of course, but he was always able to lighten the essays up to make them more humorous than sad.
Even though David may not be as funny in this book, heís still witty and original. You wonít be bored by any of the essays, and the ones that include his brother are pretty amusing if not laugh out loud funny. If you want extremely humorous reading, I would recommend reading one of Davidís older books (or something by Dave Barry). But, if youíre a fan of Davidís writing or want to read something very well written, you could certainly do worse than Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.