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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim Paperback – May 31 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (May 31 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316010790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316010795
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day, etc.) perfects his written essays by going on the road and reading them aloud, so it's no surprise that his new collection is even more hilarious and haunting as an audiobook. All 22 of the book's essays are here, and it's a treasury of riches matched by Sedaris's slightly nasal but enthralling delivery. Sedaris's material has always walked a razor's edge between hilarious and heartbreaking, and never more so than here. Although Sedaris pokes fun at his family, he mixes the laughs with empathy. When he tries to make sense out of his sister's squalid living conditions in "Put a Lid on It," his deadpan descriptions and hyper reactions are hysterically funny, but it's clear that his sister is a complex person, not just a punch line. Likewise, his late mother, previously seen as a chain-smoking, tart-talking dame, gains more depth in the downright spooky "The Girl Next Store." In "The End of the Affair," he and boyfriend Hugh disagree over a romantic movie and he concludes, "Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings." Still, Sedaris hasn't lost his irreverence; in "Possession," he tours Anne Frank's annex and imagines how he'd redecorate it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - This lighthearted follow-up to Me Talk Pretty One Day(Little, Brown, 2000) contains a selection of personal essays. Some of the pieces appeared previously in magazines or on the NPR radio program This American Life. The first half of the collection focuses on Sedaris's childhood, including his relationship with his supportive mother and "man's man" of a father. Family vacations, snow days from school, and parental conflicts are all rendered in a comic style. Several of the pieces highlight the author's growing up with the knowledge that he is gay. He writes about the mixture of feelings he experienced in a real but funny manner. The second half moves Sedaris into adulthood. Although still dealing chiefly with his family, the focus shifts to his brother and sisters. From Tiffany, who collects and sells junk right from her house, to macho, floor-sanding Paul, Sedaris sets up a family dynamic that's sometimes odd, sometimes sad, but always funny. A handful of pieces include or refer to his life partner, Hugh. Whether it's apartment searching in "Possession" or the clash of personalities in "A Can of Worms," it's refreshing to see a writer portray a gay relationship that's committed and monogamous. Although not as unified as his other books, this collection serves as a touching reminder of how odd, funny, and unique our lives really are. - Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joan Bristol on July 22 2005
Format: Hardcover
The theme behind David Sedaris's latest collection is brilliantly simple: everybody's family is wacked-out...but only he is ruthless/unfeeling/blunt enough to drag his family into the limelight, revealing their private weirdness for anyone to see (even when they beg, plead, and command him not to - and he writes about that, too). "Oh, the stories I could tell," you say, rolling your eyes knowingly, in reference to a quirky family member - but you don't. David Sedaris does; that's why he's rich and famous, and you are not. It should be noted, however, that the author enjoys a hefty natural advantage: as it turns out, his family really is weirder than most.
In "The Ship Shape," Sedaris skewers his family's pretensions to summerhouse splendor - and how his father's legendary cheapness destroys their dream. After years of sun-worshiping vacations in rental houses, Sedaris's father proposes buying a beach house of their own. Though they should know better, the family believes him, and gets caught up in the whirlwind of beach house excitement. They practice nonchalantly dropping "my home - well, one of my homes" into conversation, and compile a list of whimsical, nautical beach house names. Ultimately, of course, they're crushed with disappointment, as their father rethinks the expense, and the imaginary summer home gets shaved down to a bar in the basement. (This is where my father would have said, "Don't get your hopes up, and you won't be disappointed.")
"Full House" follows a young David Sedaris forced into attending his first all-boys sleepover. Well aware that traditional male pastimes (cars, sports, girls) are of no interest to him, the author correctly predicts that he's in for a night of misery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Islida Santos on Sept. 3 2005
Format: Paperback
One of the two funniest books I've ever read --- (the other was Jackson McCrae's "Katzenjammer"), DRESS YOUR FAMILY is a rollicking rollercoaster of a ride from cover to cover. The Sedaris family has center stage here. With mom, dad, four sisters, and a very masculine brother, each one is quirkier than the next. It's hard to tell how much is Sedaris' very keen powers of observation, and how much is exaggeration. I found myself cracking up at stories like "Six to Eight Black Men", "Baby Einstein" and "Monie Changes Everything." I often laughed so hard I received very curious stares from those around me. David Sedaris is not only hilarious and entertaining, but also a very talented writer who knows how to weave a story unlike any others. I highly, highly, as highly as anyone can, recommend this book for someone, anyone who needs a good laugh.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Hales on Jan. 27 2007
Format: Paperback
To describe this book as a series of autobiographical essays by David Sedaris is like describing a slice of decadent homemade cheesecake smothered in fresh macerated strawberries as "a chilled dessert" -- it's accurate, and yet it doesn't capture the experience.

David Sedaris seems to have an innate ability to seamlessly blur the line between fact and exaggeration as he takes the reader through a day (well, many days) in the life of himself, from childhood to adulthood. The stories in this collection strike a balance between pure entertainment and moral purpose as he openly acknowledges his own character flaws, limitations, and neuroses. Sedaris is a true storyteller, who I imagine is the type of fellow that calls up his good friends on a regular basis and opens the conversation with, "You'll never guess what happened to me today..."
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
The theme behind David Sedaris's latest collection is brilliantly simple: everybody's family is wacked-out...but only he is ruthless/unfeeling/blunt enough to drag his family into the limelight, revealing their private weirdness for anyone to see (even when they beg, plead, and command him not to - and he writes about that, too). "Oh, the stories I could tell," you say, rolling your eyes knowingly, in reference to a quirky family member - but you don't. David Sedaris does; that's why he's rich and famous, and you are not. It should be noted, however, that the author enjoys a hefty natural advantage: as it turns out, his family really is weirder than most.
In "The Ship Shape," Sedaris skewers his family's pretensions to summerhouse splendor - and how his father's legendary cheapness destroys their dream. After years of sun-worshiping vacations in rental houses, Sedaris's father proposes buying a beach house of their own. Though they should know better, the family believes him, and gets caught up in the whirlwind of beach house excitement. They practice nonchalantly dropping "my home - well, one of my homes" into conversation, and compile a list of whimsical, nautical beach house names. Ultimately, of course, they're crushed with disappointment, as their father rethinks the expense, and the imaginary summer home gets shaved down to a bar in the basement. (This is where my father would have said, "Don't get your hopes up, and you won't be disappointed.")
"Full House" follows a young David Sedaris forced into attending his first all-boys sleepover. Well aware that traditional male pastimes (cars, sports, girls) are of no interest to him, the author correctly predicts that he's in for a night of misery.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.


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