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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

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Overview

Playwright and National Public Radio commentator David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives - a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.
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Overview

Playwright and National Public Radio commentator David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives - a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.
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Editorial Reviews

Chris Lehmann
Do yourself a favor and rush out to read the damn book for yourself. It's already shaping up to be a summer starved for good laughs and, familiar though they may seem, you'll find few better than the ones on offer in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
The Washington Post
USA Today
Sedaris, humorist and author of the best-selling Me Talk Pretty One Day, once again exhibits his knack for spinning unsettling experiences into pure comic gold.—Allison Block
The New York Times
Like his earlier performances, the essays are sardonic, funny and wry, but at the same time there is a new strain of introspection that makes for a book with more emotional resonance, a more complex aftertaste. The embarrassments of adolescence, the difficulties of connecting, the sense of being a perpetual outsider—these perennial themes of the author are not simply played for self-deprecating laughs in this volume, but are made to yield a more Chekhovian brand of comedy.—Michiko Kakutani
Publishers Weekly
In his latest collection, Sedaris has found his heart. This is not to suggest that the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and other bestselling books has lost his edge. The 27 essays here (many previously published in Esquire, G.Q. or the New Yorker, or broadcast on NPR's This American Life) include his best and funniest writing yet. Here is Sedaris's family in all its odd glory. Here is his father dragging his mortified son over to the home of one of the most popular boys in school, a boy possessed of "an uncanny ability to please people," demanding that the boy's parents pay for the root canal that Sedaris underwent after the boy hit him in the mouth with a rock. Here is his oldest sister, Lisa, imploring him to keep her beloved Amazon parrot out of a proposed movie based on his writing. (" `Will I have to be fat in the movie?' she asked.") Here is his mother, his muse, locking the kids out of the house after one snow day too many, playing the wry, brilliant commentator on his life until her untimely death from cancer. His mother emerges as one of the most poignant and original female characters in contemporary literature. She balances bitter and sweet, tart and rich-and so does Sedaris, because this is what life is like. "You should look at yourself," his mother says in one piece, as young Sedaris crams Halloween candy into his mouth rather than share it. He does what she says and then some, and what emerges is the deepest kind of humor, the human comedy. Author tour. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"My writing is just a desperate attempt to get laughs. If you get anything else out of it, it's an accident," claims author and playwright Sedaris. That may be, but one can't help but notice that this collection of essays about his childhood, his first major collection in four years, features a "kinder, gentler" Sedaris ("The End of the Affair" is an especially touching tribute to his partner Hugh). But make no mistake; Sedaris is still the master of the well-delivered scathing punch line-even if it is directed at himself. Fans of his previous work will find that this collection contains much of the snappy (and sometimes snippy) writing that has become his trademark. He is particularly skilled at creating grossly unflattering yet affectionate portraits of family members, as when Sedaris's brother presses the rewind button during the video of his daughter's first bowel movement. With Me Talk Pretty optioned for film treatment, Sedaris's star will only continue to rise. And he will undoubtedly have something both poignant and side-splitting to say about that as well. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/04.]-Robin Imhof, Univ. of the Pacific Lib., Stockton, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Known for his self-deprecating wit and the harmlessly eccentric antics of his family, Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000, etc.) can also pinch until it hurts in this collection of autobiographical vignettes. Once again we are treated to the author's gift for deadpan humor, especially when poking fun at his family and neighbors. He draws some of the material from his youth, like the portrait of the folks across the street who didn't own a TV ("What must it be like to be so ignorant and alone?" he wonders) and went trick-or-treating on November first. Or the story of the time his mother, after a fifth snow day in a row, chucked all the Sedaris kids out the door and locked it. To get back in, the older kids devised a plan wherein the youngest, affection-hungry Tiffany, would be hit by a car: "Her eagerness to please is absolute and naked. When we ask her to lie in the middle of the street, her only question was 'Where?' " Some of the tales cover more recent incidents, such as his sister's retrieval of a turkey from a garbage can; when Sedaris beards her about it, she responds, "Listen to you. If it didn't come from Balducci's, if it wasn't raised on polenta and wild baby acorns, it has to be dangerous." But family members' square-peggedness is more than a little pathetic, and the fact that they are fodder for his stories doesn't sit easy with Sedaris. He'll quip, "Your life, your privacy, your occasional sorrow-it's not like you're going to do anything with it," as guilt pokes its nose around the corner of the page. Then he'll hitch himself up and lacerate them once again, but not without affection even when the sting is strongest. Besides, his favorite target is himself: hisobsessive-compulsiveness and his own membership in this company of oddfellows. Sedaris's sense of life's absurdity is on full, fine display, as is his emotional body armor. Fortunately, he has plenty of both. Author tour. Agent: Don Congdon
Library Journal
★ 08/01/2014
This collection of humorous essays won Audies for humor and short stories/collections in 2005 and was nominated in the narration by author category. Sedaris is a perennial Audie favorite, winning for David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall and When You Are Engulfed in Flames and receiving nominations for Me Talk Pretty Some Day, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, and two separate box sets. (LJ 5/15/05)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316010795
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 76,552
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

David  Sedaris
David Sedaris
Starting with his deadpan, disarmingly funny pieces on NPR and continuing with his collections of short fiction and essays, David Sedaris is one of the best, sharpest humorists writing today. His quirky history and family are rich material, but he's also just as hilarious simply satirizing Christmas cards or mocking his own vices.

Biography

According to Time Out New York, "David Sedaris may be the funniest man alive." He's the sort of writer critics tend to describe not in terms of literary influences and trends, but in terms of what they choked on while reading his latest book. "I spewed a mouthful of pastrami across my desk," admitted Craig Seligman in his New York Times review of Naked.

Sedaris first drew national attention in 1992 with a stint on National Public Radio, on which he recounted his experiences as a Christmas elf at Macy's. He discussed "the code names for various posts, such as 'The Vomit Corner,' a mirrored wall near the Magic Tree" and confided that his response to "I'm going to have you fired" was the desire to lean over and say, "I'm going to have you killed." The radio pieces were such a hit that Sedaris, then working as a house cleaner, started getting offers to write movies, soap operas and Seinfeld episodes.

In subsequent appearances on NPR, Sedaris proved he wasn't just a velvet-clad flash in the pan; he's also wickedly funny on the subjects of smoking, speed, shoplifting and nervous tics. His work began appearing in magazines like Harper's and Mirabella, and his first book Barrel Fever, which included "SantaLand Diaries," was a bestseller. "These hilarious, lively and breathtakingly irreverent stories…made me laugh out loud more than anything I've read in years," wrote Francine Prose in the Washington Post Book World.

Since then, each successive Sedaris volume has zoomed to the top of the bestseller lists. In Naked, he recounts odd jobs like volunteering at a mental hospital, picking apples as a seasonal laborer and stripping woodwork for a Nazi sympathizer. The stocking stuffer-sized Holidays on Ice collects Sedaris' Christmas-themed work, including a fictional holiday newsletter from the homicidal stepmother of a 22-year-old Vietnamese immigrant ("She arrived in this house six weeks ago speaking only the words 'Daddy,' 'Shiny' and 'Five dollar now'. Quite a vocabulary!!!!!").

But Sedaris' best pieces often revolve around his childhood in North Carolina and his family of six siblings, including the brother who talks like a redneck gangsta rapper and the sister who, in a hilarious passage far too dirty to quote here, introduces him to the joys of the Internet. Sedaris' recent book Me Talk Pretty One Day describes, among other things, his efforts to learn French while helping his boyfriend fix up a Normandy farmhouse; he progresses "from speaking like an evil baby to speaking like a hillbilly. 'Is thems the thoughts of cows?' I'd ask the butcher, pointing to the calves' brains displayed in the front window."

Sedaris has been compared to American humorists such as Mark Twain, James Thurber and Dorothy Parker; Publisher's Weekly called him "Garrison Keillor's evil twin." Pretty heady stuff for a man who claims there are cats that weigh more than his IQ score. But as This American Life producer Ira Glass once pointed out, it would be wrong to think of Sedaris as "just a working Joe who happens to put out these perfectly constructed pieces of prose." Measured by his ability to turn his experiences into a sharply satirical, sidesplittingly funny form of art, David Sedaris is no less than a genius.

Good To Know

Sedaris got his start in radio after This American Life producer Ira Glass saw him perform at Club Lower Links in Chicago. In addition to his NPR commentaries, Sedaris now writes regularly for Esquire.

Sedaris's younger sister Amy is also a writer and performer; the two have collaborated on plays under the moniker "The Talent Family." Amy Sedaris has appeared onstage as a member of the Second City improv troupe and on Comedy Central in the series Strangers with Candy.

"If I weren't a writer, I'd be a taxidermist," Sedaris said in a chat on Barnes and Noble.com. According to the Boston Phoenix, his collection of stuffed dead animals includes a squirrel, two fruit bats, four Boston terriers and a baby ostrich.

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    1. Also Known As:
      David Raymond Sedaris (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 26, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Johnson City, New York
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1987

Read an Excerpt

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim


By David Sedaris

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2004 David Sedaris
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-14346-4


Chapter One

Us and Them

WHEN MY FAMILY FIRST MOVED to North Carolina, we lived in a rented house three blocks from the school where I would begin the third grade. My mother made friends with one of the neighbors, but one seemed enough for her. Within a year we would move again and, as she explained, there wasn't much point in getting too close to people we would have to say goodbye to. Our next house was less than a mile away, and the short journey would hardly merit tears or even good-byes, for that matter. It was more of a "see you later" situation, but still I adopted my mother's attitude, as it allowed me to pretend that not making friends was a conscious choice. I could if I wanted to. It just wasn't the right time.

Back in New York State, we had lived in the country, with no sidewalks or streetlights; you could leave the house and still be alone. But here, when you looked out the window, you saw other houses, and people inside those houses. I hoped that in walking around after dark I might witness a murder, but for the most part our neighbors just sat in their living rooms, watching TV. The only place that seemed truly different was owned by a man named Mr. Tomkey, who did not believe in television. This was told to us by our mother's friend, who dropped by one afternoon with a basketful of okra. The woman did not editorialize-rather, she just presented her information, leaving her listener to make of it what she might. Had my mother said, "That's the craziest thing I've ever heard in my life," I assume that the friend would have agreed, and had she said, "Three cheers for Mr. Tomkey," the friend likely would have agreed as well. It was a kind of test, as was the okra.

To say that you did not believe in television was different from saying that you did not care for it. Belief implied that television had a master plan and that you were against it. It also suggested that you thought too much. When my mother reported that Mr. Tomkey did not believe in television, my father said, "Well, good for him. I don't know that I believe in it, either."

"That's exactly how I feel," my mother said, and then my parents watched the news, and whatever came on after the news.

Word spread that Mr. Tomkey did not own a television, and you began hearing that while this was all very well and good, it was unfair of him to inflict his beliefs upon others, specifically his innocent wife and children. It was speculated that just as the blind man develops a keener sense of hearing, the family must somehow compensate for their loss. "Maybe they read," my mother's friend said. "Maybe they listen to the radio, but you can bet your boots they're doing something."

I wanted to know what this something was, and so I began peering through the Tomkeys' windows. During the day I'd stand across the street from their house, acting as though I were waiting for someone, and at night, when the view was better and I had less chance of being discovered, I would creep into their yard and hide in the bushes beside their fence.

Because they had no TV, the Tomkeys were forced to talk during dinner. They had no idea how puny their lives were, and so they were not ashamed that a camera would have found them uninteresting. They did not know what attractive was or what dinner was supposed to look like or even what time people were supposed to eat. Sometimes they wouldn't sit down until eight o'clock, long after everyone else had finished doing the dishes. During the meal, Mr. Tomkey would occasionally pound the table and point at his children with a fork, but the moment he finished, everyone would start laughing. I got the idea that he was imitating someone else, and wondered if he spied on us while we were eating.

When fall arrived and school began, I saw the Tomkey children marching up the hill with paper sacks in their hands. The son was one grade lower than me, and the daughter was one grade higher. We never spoke, but I'd pass them in the halls from time to time and attempt to view the world through their eyes. What must it be like to be so ignorant and alone? Could a normal person even imagine it? Staring at an Elmer Fudd lunch box, I tried to divorce myself from everything I already knew: Elmer's inability to pronounce the letter r, his constant pursuit of an intelligent and considerably more famous rabbit. I tried to think of him as just a drawing, but it was impossible to separate him from his celebrity.

One day in class a boy named William began to write the wrong answer on the blackboard, and our teacher flailed her arms, saying, "Warning, Will. Danger, danger." Her voice was synthetic and void of emotion, and we laughed, knowing that she was imitating the robot in a weekly show about a family who lived in outer space. The Tomkeys, though, would have thought she was having a heart attack. It occurred to me that they needed a guide, someone who could accompany them through the course of an average day and point out all the things they were unable to understand. I could have done it on weekends, but friendship would have taken away their mystery and interfered with the good feeling I got from pitying them. So I kept my distance.

In early October the Tomkeys bought a boat, and everyone seemed greatly relieved, especially my mother's friend, who noted that the motor was definitely secondhand. It was reported that Mr. Tomkey's father-in-law owned a house on the lake and had invited the family to use it whenever they liked. This explained why they were gone all weekend, but it did not make their absences any easier to bear. I felt as if my favorite show had been canceled.

Halloween fell on a Saturday that year, and by the time my mother took us to the store, all the good costumes were gone. My sisters dressed as witches and I went as a hobo. I'd looked forward to going in disguise to the Tomkeys' door, but they were off at the lake, and their house was dark. Before leaving, they had left a coffee can full of gumdrops on the front porch, alongside a sign reading DON'T BE GREEDY. In terms of Halloween candy, individual gumdrops were just about as low as you could get. This was evidenced by the large number of them floating in an adjacent dog bowl. It was disgusting to think that this was what a gumdrop might look like in your stomach, and it was insulting to be told not to take too much of something you didn't really want in the first place. "Who do these Tomkeys think they are?" my sister Lisa said.

The night after Halloween, we were sitting around watching TV when the doorbell rang. Visitors were infrequent at our house, so while my father stayed behind, my mother, sisters, and I ran downstairs in a group, opening the door to discover the entire Tomkey family on our front stoop. The parents looked as they always had, but the son and daughter were dressed in costumes-she as a ballerina and he as some kind of a rodent with terry-cloth ears and a tail made from what looked to be an extension cord. It seemed they had spent the previous evening isolated at the lake and had missed the opportunity to observe Halloween. "So, well, I guess we're trick-or-treating now, if that's okay," Mr. Tomkey said.

I attributed their behavior to the fact that they didn't have a TV, but television didn't teach you everything. Asking for candy on Halloween was called trick-or-treating, but asking for candy on November first was called begging, and it made people uncomfortable. This was one of the things you were supposed to learn simply by being alive, and it angered me that the Tomkeys did not understand it.

"Why of course it's not too late," my mother said. "Kids, why don't you ... run and get ... the candy."

"But the candy is gone," my sister Gretchen said. "You gave it away last night."

"Not that candy," my mother said. "The other candy. Why don't you run and go get it?"

"You mean our candy?" Lisa said. "The candy that we earned?"

This was exactly what our mother was talking about, but she didn't want to say this in front of the Tomkeys. In order to spare their feelings, she wanted them to believe that we always kept a bucket of candy lying around the house, just waiting for someone to knock on the door and ask for it. "Go on, now," she said. "Hurry up."

My room was situated right off the foyer, and if the Tomkeys had looked in that direction, they could have seen my bed and the brown paper bag marked MY CANDY. KEEP OUT. I didn't want them to know how much I had, and so I went into my room and shut the door behind me. Then I closed the curtains and emptied my bag onto the bed, searching for whatever was the crummiest. All my life chocolate has made me ill. I don't know if I'm allergic or what, but even the smallest amount leaves me with a blinding headache. Eventually, I learned to stay away from it, but as a child I refused to be left out. The brownies were eaten, and when the pounding began I would blame the grape juice or my mother's cigarette smoke or the tightness of my glasses-anything but the chocolate. My candy bars were poison but they were brand-name, and so I put them in pile no. 1, which definitely would not go to the Tomkeys.

Out in the hallway I could hear my mother straining for something to talk about. "A boat!" she said. "That sounds marvelous. Can you just drive it right into the water?"

"Actually, we have a trailer," Mr. Tomkey said. "So what we do is back it into the lake."

"Oh, a trailer. What kind is it?"

"Well, it's a boat trailer," Mr. Tomkey said.

"Right, but is it wooden or, you know ... I guess what I'm asking is what style trailer do you have?"

Behind my mother's words were two messages. The first and most obvious was "Yes, I am talking about boat trailers, but also I am dying." The second, meant only for my sisters and me, was "If you do not immediately step forward with that candy, you will never again experience freedom, happiness, or the possibility of my warm embrace."

I knew that it was just a matter of time before she came into my room and started collecting the candy herself, grabbing indiscriminately, with no regard to my rating system. Had I been thinking straight, I would have hidden the most valuable items in my dresser drawer, but instead, panicked by the thought of her hand on my doorknob, I tore off the wrappers and began cramming the candy bars into my mouth, desperately, like someone in a contest. Most were miniature, which made them easier to accommodate, but still there was only so much room, and it was hard to chew and fit more in at the same time. The headache began immediately, and I chalked it up to tension.

My mother told the Tomkeys she needed to check on something, and then she opened the door and stuck her head inside my room. "What the hell are you doing?" she whispered, but my mouth was too full to answer. "I'll just be a moment," she called, and as she closed the door behind her and moved toward my bed, I began breaking the wax lips and candy necklaces pulled from pile no. 2. These were the second-best things I had received, and while it hurt to destroy them, it would have hurt even more to give them away. I had just started to mutilate a miniature box of Red Hots when my mother pried them from my hands, accidentally finishing the job for me. BB-size pellets clattered onto the floor, and as I followed them with my eyes, she snatched up a roll of Necco wafers.

"Not those," I pleaded, but rather than words, my mouth expelled chocolate, chewed chocolate, which fell onto the sleeve of her sweater. "Not those. Not those."

She shook her arm, and the mound of chocolate dropped like a horrible turd upon my bedspread. "You should look at yourself," she said. "I mean, really look at yourself."

Along with the Necco wafers she took several Tootsie Pops and half a dozen caramels wrapped in cellophane. I heard her apologize to the Tomkeys for her absence, and then I heard my candy hitting the bottom of their bags.

"What do you say?" Mrs. Tomkey asked.

And the children answered, "Thank you."

While I was in trouble for not bringing my candy sooner, my sisters were in more trouble for not bringing theirs at all. We spent the early part of the evening in our rooms, then one by one we eased our way back upstairs, and joined our parents in front of the TV. I was the last to arrive, and took a seat on the floor beside the sofa. The show was a Western, and even if my head had not been throbbing, I doubt I would have had the wherewithal to follow it. A posse of outlaws crested a rocky hilltop, squinting at a flurry of dust advancing from the horizon, and I thought again of the Tomkeys and of how alone and out of place they had looked in their dopey costumes. "What was up with that kid's tail?" I asked.

"Shhhh," my family said.

For months I had protected and watched over these people, but now, with one stupid act, they had turned my pity into something hard and ugly. The shift wasn't gradual, but immediate, and it provoked an uncomfortable feeling of loss. We hadn't been friends, the Tomkeys and I, but still I had given them the gift of my curiosity. Wondering about the Tomkey family had made me feel generous, but now I would have to shift gears and find pleasure in hating them. The only alternative was to do as my mother had instructed and take a good look at myself. This was an old trick, designed to turn one's hatred inward, and while I was determined not to fall for it, it was hard to shake the mental picture snapped by her suggestion: here is a boy sitting on a bed, his mouth smeared with chocolate. He's a human being, but also he's a pig, surrounded by trash and gorging himself so that others may be denied. Were this the only image in the world, you'd be forced to give it your full attention, but fortunately there were others. This stagecoach, for instance, coming round the bend with a cargo of gold. This shiny new Mustang convertible. This teenage girl, her hair a beautiful mane, sipping Pepsi through a straw, one picture after another, on and on until the news, and whatever came on after the news.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris Copyright © 2004 by David Sedaris . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Us and them 3
Let it snow 13
The ship shape 17
Full house 30
Consider the stars 42
Monie changes everything 54
The change in me 72
Hejira 87
Slumus Lordicus 91
The girl next door 105
Blood work 123
The end of the affair 137
Repeat after me 141
Six to eight black men 157
Rooster at the hitchin' post 165
Possession 180
Put a lid on it 188
A can of worms 205
Chicken in the henhouse 211
Who's the chef? 225
Baby Einstein 231
Nuit of the living dead 246
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 219 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(108)

4 Star

(67)

3 Star

(30)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 219 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Hilarious

    If you're reading this in public be prepared for people to stare at you as you spontaneously burst into laughter. This book was so good. I would say that this ties with "Me Talk Pretty One Day" as his best work.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    funny book

    i loved the last essay. i couldn't stop laughing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2008

    Couldn't stop laughing!

    The first couple essays weren't as funny, but then he was on a roll. I found myself chuckling after I finished the book, whenever I would think of a story. He does a great job writing about the smallest things and making them hilarious. I'm going to get his other books and hopefully keep on laughing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2007

    Audrey's Review: It is CONTROVERSIAL!

    Before reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, it is important to know a little about the author, David Sedaris, since the novel is a collection of essays from various points in his life. Though some of his book is laugh-out-loud funny, some parts are sad, embarrassing, inappropriate, and even offensive. First of all, anyone who reads his book needs to know he is openly gay, has been since he was a small boy, and VERY openly writes about his homosexuality. You must also know he has been a drug addict, has a dysfunctional family that somehow seems normal when he writes about them, and uses quite a bit of colorful language. His inappropriate and disturbing tale about his seventh grade strip poker night at the neighbor¿s house makes this book absolutely unsuitable for ALL children, and I do not suggest it to any close-minded conservative believer in family values. In his novel, he introduces characters from different points of his life. From his mother, father, and siblings to Brandi the next door neighbor and Dan, the ex-friend/hippie, you will meet all the people who have effected his life- positively or negatively. I myself am quite a conservative person, and I am more opinionated than most. In begging to read his book, I was completely unaware of his homosexuality, or what the book was about. All I knew was I had seen the novel on the New York Times bestseller list, and that was enough for me to read it. I was wrong. The sleeve of the book does not even suggest you will be reading of obscene acts Sedaris has participated in and witnessed during his lifetime. It does not tell you that he enjoyed having a naked twelve year old sit on his lap during his ¿adolescent¿ game of strip poker it does not tell you of his explicit drug use, or of his vile encounter with a man and his television set. I was thoroughly horrified to let my eyes see some of his words, and for that I am angry- this deceitful novel seems innocent and very funny until page 39. David Sedaris certainly has a gift the man can write. I just do not like the topics he chooses to cover so¿thoroughly. If you are someone who enjoys funny, daring novels that have foul language, and can enjoy/bear/deal with some of his ¿racy¿ tales, than this book is for you. I think Sedaris is a gifted writer, I took a chance, read his book, and was disappointed. Read it with an open mind- I did not like it, but I did like his writing style, and some of his life story really is hilariously funny. He writes in an enjoyable chapter about his family life: ¿Out in the hallway I could hear my mother straining for something to talk about. 'A boat!' she said. 'That sounds marvelous. Can you just drive it right into the water?' '¿Actually, we have a trailer,¿' Mr. Tomkey said. '¿So what we do is back it into the lake.¿' '¿Oh, a trailer. What kind is it?¿' '¿Well, it's a boat trailer,¿' Mr. Tomkey said.¿ Sedaris certainly has the gift of writing, and though I may feel violated from reading certain excerpts from the novel, it really and truly was a funny, heart warming story for the most part.

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    Henry Higgins would exclaim Sedaris as being "deliciously low!"

    Just newly moved to NC myself, I stumbled across "When You Are Engulfed In Flames" about three months ago and have since been reading Sedaris almost religiously. Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim is one of my personal favorites. Sure, I could sit here and go blow by blow why I found the book entertaining. But that would be the equivalent of someone messing up the best punch line to a really good joke. And I mean that in the BEST sense. Sedaris writes the way I have always suspected MOST PEOPLE think but are too PC to admit to it. I can't fathom anyone not coming away feeling as if they too have found a kindred spirit with the author. His writing reaffirms the every day observations we all seem to make mental notes of, but never voice out loud for fear of being ostracized. It makes one feel almost gleefully comforted to read his stories. Quite honestly, a lot of the literature I've tackled over the past 7-8 months have been either too pretentious, predictable, and/downright depressing. Suffice it to say I needed a BREAK away from all of the above and instead needed a good laugh! Sedaris shamelessly hits those notes without fail. It's refreshing I tell you! And though I've lived out of the country for the past 6+ years, I know (now) that Sedaris has been around far longer than my absence. And I cannot help but wonder and lament what the heck happened that I'm just now "discovering" him?!! I can't help but conclude I must have been living under a rock. Indeed I was!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Great stories

    This is the first book I read from David Sedaris, and I like his style. Wants to make me read more of him!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good laughs in a quick read

    David Sedaris is a truely funny, snarky guy who I would love to have several glasses of wine with.

    He tells his stories from a viewpoint that is both funny and touching. Each short tale serves as morality plays with so much humour that you fall in love with both David and his family and crazy cast of friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2008

    Sedaris is an interesting orater

    I actually listened to this on audio tape. I was hardly ready for the style and kept trying to figure out if I should feel sorry, be angry or what to think. Once I realized he was telling me his story from what was more of a sarcastic humor, I really laughed and enjoyed myself as he spoke to me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2014

    Hilarious

    This is possibly one of the best Sedaris' books! Keeps you laughing the whole way through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    I have just finished Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by

    I have just finished Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. This was a very entertaining novel. Each story changes the genre previous, for example one story may be humorous while the next sad/upsetting. Sedaris did a great job leaving me wanting to find out what happens next in the story or if I didn't finish the story yet, what will happen. The strange part of the book is when you think if this has actually happend to him. It seems like some stories are a little outrageous to be true but at the same time Sedaris wrote it in such a way that makes it seem believable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2014

    Loved it!

    Love this book . Adore the author!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    I literally fell out of my chair laughing reading this book. Se

    I literally fell out of my chair laughing reading this book. Sedaris perfectly portays the endearing dysfunctions of 1970s/1980s American families. This book is not for the easily offended but it is SO FUNNY!

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  • Posted January 5, 2013

    A must read, especially if...

    You are always on the go. The stories are insightful in that Mr. Sedaris looks at the world in way that makes you question how you look at the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    Great light read- ? Great lih Great light read. Seda Great lught Great light read.

    Sedaris is whitty and humorous in his portrayal of short family stories he shared.

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    I don't get it!

    This was my first David Sedaris read and I didn't enjoy it. The stories just weren't entertaining. I'll read one of his other books to give him a second chance.

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Enjoyable.

    This was my introduction to David Sedaris and I'm glad I chose this one because the majority of this novel was about his early life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    quirky

    I enjoyed this disfunctional little family.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    Didn't love it!

    This book reminded me a lot of David Sadaris' other book I read, "Naked". It was very simililar and not really the best book I have read. The story lines are very similar which I thought was a bit strange but the main story was about a homosexual man and the story of his life. I thought the book just went along with out any real high or low points that would spark interest. This book (like the other) was just ho...humm... for me. You may think differently but I didn't really like it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    Enjoyable

    Much like "Me Talk Pretty One Day", Sedaris' "Dress Your Family in Courderoy and Denim" is a collection of humorous essays. I frequently found myself laughing under my breath at the absurdity of Sedaris' life... The man has lived a bizarre life, indeed. This was an enjoyable and quick read.

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