Tuesday, April 04, 2006

BOOK REVIEW - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
David Sedaris
257 pages
Little, Brown and Company, 2004

At the beginning of last year I finally embarked on a quest to read as much Sedaris as I could lay my grubby little paws on. I managed to read two of his books before I was distracted by something bright and shiny and my quest was derailed. This seems to happen to me a lot. I finally return to my quest with this book.

Once again Sedaris regales us with tales of his life and mixes in a couple of essays on other subjects, such as the Dutch incarnation of Santa Claus. Sedaris manages to bring a comic poignancy to his stories which in the hands of a less accomplished essayist would be devoid of either pathos or humor. The suffering of the young Sedaris comes through clearly, his status as a social outcast enhanced by his sexual orientation and his OCD. Perhaps it is his position as the ultimate outsider that allows him to comment so succinctly on the glorious pain of life and sometimes our inability to, despite the fact that we know better, change our behavior.

I enjoy reading the works of authors as they grow and for me the change was dramatic between the last Sedaris book I read, "Naked," and this one. Sedaris seems to have come to terms with life and he comes off as being less bitter about his youth and more bemused by it. This was a very pleasant change in tone and it made the book a joy to read from beginning to end. Again I recommend this book to everyone as I think Sedaris manages to illuminate us all by looking into himself, and that, to me, is an indication of greatness.

Next Up: The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell.

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