Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is not my first collection of essays by David Sedaris. I’ve read four others.
- In 2010, Me Talk Pretty One Day (Grade: A) and Naked (Grade: A-)
- In 2015, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (Grade: C+)
- In 2017, Barrel Fever (Grade: C+)
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.