This One’s a Keeper

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

Grade: A

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is not my first collection of essays by David Sedaris. I’ve read four others.

I could have given up on Sedaris after Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk and Barrel Fever, because I disliked both of them. But I had really enjoyed the other two, so I decided to forgive him for the clunkers. Nobody’s perfect, right?

I’m glad that I gave him another chance, because Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a good collection. Among the essays included are “Six to Eight Black Men,” an interesting take on cultural differences, and “Chicken in the Henhouse,” a thought-provoking look at what life can be like for a gay man in our country. “The Girl Next Door” tells a sad, sort of creepy story of a psychopath in the making. In “Nuit of the Living Dead,” Sedaris humorously relates the struggles he had with a mouse caught in a mousetrap in the wee hours while his husband was away.

Not everyone will get his stories or his sense of humor, but I do. For all that he and I don’t seem to have much in common on the surface, our life experiences haven’t always been so different. I’ve had a couple of upsetting mousetrap experiences myself. Misery loves (and laughs at) company. Humorists remind us that we are not alone. They tell us that everyone is unlucky and/or inept sometimes, and that it’s okay. We all need this kind of reminder from time to time. Thanks, David, for the reminders!

P.S. I call this book “a keeper,” but it is interesting to me that it’s previous owner didn’t keep it, even though it had this great inscription:

Sal, Some people are calling this guy the Next Mark Twain. In any event . . . no one should start off the “Second Half” without a few belly laughs. Happy 50th. Love, Bert

I wish every used book came with an inscription, even if they do sometimes have a bittersweet quality.

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4 Responses to This One’s a Keeper

  1. sprite says:

    I saw this article today and thought of you: Apparently you aren’t the only person who enjoys used book inscriptions.

  2. chick says:

    I am not alone 🙂

    Inscriptions are interesting evidence of age and prior ownership, and much preferable to the mummified bits of food and bugs that I often find in old library books. Yeah, I’ve found a lot of food in library books lately. Not cool!

  3. sprite says:

    I still feel bad about the library book I took to the beach last year in what turned out to be a wind storm. I literally went through that book page by page and took apart the library dust jacket cleaning sand out of it and I know I still didn’t get it all.

  4. chick says:

    Sand happens.

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