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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Enjoy It. Trust Me
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,"...
Published on July 22 2005 by Joan Bristol

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but very random
This was the first Sedaris book I've ever read (actually, I listened to the CD), and I was impressed. I thought his word play and way of describing normal situations so abnormally really separtes him from most humorists. As a writer, I loved the way he could use the English language. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
That said, the structure of this...
Published on July 14 2004 by Jason Martin


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Enjoy It. Trust Me, July 22 2005
By 
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. For hours, the host's dorky parents dominate the party, trying with pathetic enthusiasm to be cool. But once they retire, the evening takes on an even darker aspect, as cards are brought out and strip poker proposed. Terrified of, ahem, exposure in a roomful of handsome, scantily-clad teens, Sedaris is forced to take desperate measures to avoid a lifetime of persecution. Can he successfully masquerade as a regular guy for the duration of the sleepover? Well, of course not. But it's funny to watch him fail.
"Six to Eight Black Men" starts off as a cursory examination of cultural differences, but quickly gets down to its real subject matter: the fact that in the Netherlands, Santa is accompanied, not by elves, but by a team of, yes, six to eight black men. This piece contains my favorite passage of the entire book: "The six to eight black men were characterized as personal slaves until the mid-1950s, when the political climate changed and it was decided that instead of being slaves they were just good friends. I think history has proved that something usually comes between slavery and friendship, a period of time marked not by cookies and quiet hours beside the fire but by bloodshed and mutual hostility." Ho, ho, ho!
"Blood Work" involves a situation we've all found ourselves in: unknowingly being summoned to perform erotic housecleaning in a stranger's apartment for money. As the homeowner's behavior becomes progressively weirder, Sedaris struggles to retain an air of normality (and finish cleaning the apartment); because the author is who he is, it doesn't even occur to him to either punch the guy in the face or simply walk out. Instead, he keeps his eyes on the countertop, and silently wishes for the inner strength of his family's stern-faced housekeeper. The explanation, when it comes, is one of those stranger-than-fiction things that defies probability - but also makes for one hell of a story.
Many of the pieces have to do with the author's family: either humorous childhood tales or present-day musings on the siblings's often tense and awkward relationships. There are, however, a few stories about Sedaris's exploits in rural France with his partner Hugh. Although the title, as far as I can tell, is never explained, it's probably along the lines of a similar horrors-of-childhood story from fellow memoirist Augusten Burroughs. Perhaps, by leaving it to our imaginations, Sedaris is implying that there are even worse stories about his family - stories so terrible that even he can't bring himself to tell them. So let's not try. It's enough to be glad that the author survived both his childhood and the 1970s, and lived to tell the laugh-out-loud funny tale. I loved this book, but try it for yourself. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "THE LOSERS CLUB: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an odd, compelling, funny novel I can't stop thinking about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sedaris in top form, Sept. 3 2005
Ce commentaire est de: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (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
5.0 out of 5 stars I just keep recommending this book!, Jan. 27 2007
By 
R. Hales (Toronto, ON) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (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..."
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Enjoy It. Trust Me, July 11 2005
By 
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. For hours, the host's dorky parents dominate the party, trying with pathetic enthusiasm to be cool. But once they retire, the evening takes on an even darker aspect, as cards are brought out and strip poker proposed. Terrified of, ahem, exposure in a roomful of handsome, scantily-clad teens, Sedaris is forced to take desperate measures to avoid a lifetime of persecution. Can he successfully masquerade as a regular guy for the duration of the sleepover? Well, of course not. But it's funny to watch him fail.
"Six to Eight Black Men" starts off as a cursory examination of cultural differences, but quickly gets down to its real subject matter: the fact that in the Netherlands, Santa is accompanied, not by elves, but by a team of, yes, six to eight black men. This piece contains my favorite passage of the entire book: "The six to eight black men were characterized as personal slaves until the mid-1950s, when the political climate changed and it was decided that instead of being slaves they were just good friends. I think history has proved that something usually comes between slavery and friendship, a period of time marked not by cookies and quiet hours beside the fire but by bloodshed and mutual hostility." Ho, ho, ho!
"Blood Work" involves a situation we've all found ourselves in: unknowingly being summoned to perform erotic housecleaning in a stranger's apartment for money. As the homeowner's behavior becomes progressively weirder, Sedaris struggles to retain an air of normality (and finish cleaning the apartment); because the author is who he is, it doesn't even occur to him to either punch the guy in the face or simply walk out. Instead, he keeps his eyes on the countertop, and silently wishes for the inner strength of his family's stern-faced housekeeper. The explanation, when it comes, is one of those stranger-than-fiction things that defies probability - but also makes for one hell of a story.
Many of the pieces have to do with the author's family: either humorous childhood tales or present-day musings on the siblings's often tense and awkward relationships. There are, however, a few stories about Sedaris's exploits in rural France with his partner Hugh. Although the title, as far as I can tell, is never explained, it's probably along the lines of a similar horrors-of-childhood story from fellow memoirist Augusten Burroughs. Perhaps, by leaving it to our imaginations, Sedaris is implying that there are even worse stories about his family - stories so terrible that even he can't bring himself to tell them. So let's not try. It's enough to be glad that the author survived both his childhood and the 1970s, and lived to tell the laugh-out-loud funny tale. I loved this book, but try it for yourself. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "THE LOSERS CLUB: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an odd, compelling, funny novel I can't stop thinking about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My First, June 19 2005
Ce commentaire est de: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Paperback)
Being the first David Sedaris book I've ever picked up, I didn't quite know what to think when I first checked it out from the library. I found his writing and humor-style similar to McCrae in his "Bark of the Dogwood" or his "Children's Corner"-both authors deal with family dysfunction and are able to laugh at them. But after hearing "Dress Your Family" raved about by my friends and being highly allured by the cover, I decided to give it a try. Reading this book turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in a very long time. 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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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Enjoy It. Trust Me., June 4 2005
By 
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. For hours, the host's dorky parents dominate the party, trying with pathetic enthusiasm to be cool. But once they retire, the evening takes on an even darker aspect, as cards are brought out and strip poker proposed. Terrified of, ahem, exposure in a roomful of handsome, scantily-clad teens, Sedaris is forced to take desperate measures to avoid a lifetime of persecution. Can he successfully masquerade as a regular guy for the duration of the sleepover? Well, of course not. But it's funny to watch him fail.
"Six to Eight Black Men" starts off as a cursory examination of cultural differences, but quickly gets down to its real subject matter: the fact that in the Netherlands, Santa is accompanied, not by elves, but by a team of, yes, six to eight black men. This piece contains my favorite passage of the entire book: "The six to eight black men were characterized as personal slaves until the mid-1950s, when the political climate changed and it was decided that instead of being slaves they were just good friends. I think history has proved that something usually comes between slavery and friendship, a period of time marked not by cookies and quiet hours beside the fire but by bloodshed and mutual hostility." Ho, ho, ho!
"Blood Work" involves a situation we've all found ourselves in: unknowingly being summoned to perform erotic housecleaning in a stranger's apartment for money. As the homeowner's behavior becomes progressively weirder, Sedaris struggles to retain an air of normality (and finish cleaning the apartment); because the author is who he is, it doesn't even occur to him to either punch the guy in the face or simply walk out. Instead, he keeps his eyes on the countertop, and silently wishes for the inner strength of his family's stern-faced housekeeper. The explanation, when it comes, is one of those stranger-than-fiction things that defies probability - but also makes for one hell of a story.
Many of the pieces have to do with the author's family: either humorous childhood tales or present-day musings on the siblings's often tense and awkward relationships. There are, however, a few stories about Sedaris's exploits in rural France with his partner Hugh. Although the title, as far as I can tell, is never explained, it's probably along the lines of a similar horrors-of-childhood story from fellow memoirist Augusten Burroughs. Perhaps, by leaving it to our imaginations, Sedaris is implying that there are even worse stories about his family - stories so terrible that even he can't bring himself to tell them. So let's not try. It's enough to be glad that the author survived both his childhood and the 1970s, and lived to tell the laugh-out-loud funny tale. I loved this book, but try it for yourself. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "THE LOSERS CLUB: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an odd, compelling, funny novel I can't stop thinking about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All Dressed up and . . ., June 2 2005
Ce commentaire est de: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Paperback)
Much like Jackson McCrae (Children's Corner), Sedaris has a knack for showing us the unusual. Sometimes the result is hilarious, and sometimes it has a deeper meaning. Sometimes it's just plain twisted. I've read half of this book and already know that I love it. It bothers me that everyone tries to label David Sedaris as a "humor writer" and then come to only expect him to churn out "humor books." Sure the books are funny, but a lot of his writing is deeper and serves a more significant purpose than trying to make someone laugh. Also, I like how he is a "gay writer" who doesn't just fit into the cookie-cutter by writing "gay stories." He branches out...and he loves to explore the psychological implications of situations from his past. Overall, buy this book, and buy BARREL FEVER, and expect to laugh, a lot, but don't approach Sedaris's writing as you would, say, Bozo the Clown's work. This is thought-provoking writing on a higher level. I really don't think people properly appreciate this author. Also highly recommended and somewhat similar in places: CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Enjoy It. Trust Me., May 28 2005
By 
Ce commentaire est de: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Paperback)
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. For hours, the host's dorky parents dominate the party, trying with pathetic enthusiasm to be cool. But once they retire, the evening takes on an even darker aspect, as cards are brought out and strip poker proposed. Terrified of, ahem, exposure in a roomful of handsome, scantily-clad teens, Sedaris is forced to take desperate measures to avoid a lifetime of persecution. Can he successfully masquerade as a regular guy for the duration of the sleepover? Well, of course not. But it's funny to watch him fail.
"Six to Eight Black Men" starts off as a cursory examination of cultural differences, but quickly gets down to its real subject matter: the fact that in the Netherlands, Santa is accompanied, not by elves, but by a team of, yes, six to eight black men. This piece contains my favorite passage of the entire book: "The six to eight black men were characterized as personal slaves until the mid-1950s, when the political climate changed and it was decided that instead of being slaves they were just good friends. I think history has proved that something usually comes between slavery and friendship, a period of time marked not by cookies and quiet hours beside the fire but by bloodshed and mutual hostility." Ho, ho, ho!
"Blood Work" involves a situation we've all found ourselves in: unknowingly being summoned to perform erotic housecleaning in a stranger's apartment for money. As the homeowner's behavior becomes progressively weirder, Sedaris struggles to retain an air of normality (and finish cleaning the apartment); because the author is who he is, it doesn't even occur to him to either punch the guy in the face or simply walk out. Instead, he keeps his eyes on the countertop, and silently wishes for the inner strength of his family's stern-faced housekeeper. The explanation, when it comes, is one of those stranger-than-fiction things that defies probability - but also makes for one hell of a story.
Many of the pieces have to do with the author's family: either humorous childhood tales or present-day musings on the siblings's often tense and awkward relationships. There are, however, a few stories about Sedaris's exploits in rural France with his partner Hugh. Although the title, as far as I can tell, is never explained, it's probably along the lines of a similar horrors-of-childhood story from fellow memoirist Augusten Burroughs. Perhaps, by leaving it to our imaginations, Sedaris is implying that there are even worse stories about his family - stories so terrible that even he can't bring himself to tell them. So let's not try. It's enough to be glad that the author survived both his childhood and the 1970s, and lived to tell the laugh-out-loud funny tale. I loved this book, but try it for yourself. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "THE LOSERS CLUB: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an odd, compelling, funny novel I can't stop thinking about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yin and Yang, Oct. 19 2004
I've only wet myself on two occasions while reading something funny. The first time was with Sedaris's ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY (his best book to date, by the way) and the second time was with THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. With this said, his DRESS YOUR FAMILY comes in pretty close to second place. I don't know much about Sedaris as a "performer" on radio or at Carnegie Hall, and I don't need to--he's funny enough for me in print. If you haven't discovered him, or, if you've only read one of his books, trust me, they're all great stuff. Just be sure you're not in public when you take one of them on or you might get embarassed.
Now, while he IS funny, there's also a dark side to his work. That's where humor comes from and Sedaris knows this, the way Buroughs and others know it (think RUNNING WITH SCISSORS). And this book has more darkness than his others, as if he's trying to purge some demon (aren't we all?) But this doesn't in any way detract from the humor. As a matter of fact, it compliments it.
If you're looking for a great book that will keep you warm by the fire this fall, you've just found it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He can buy and sell you!, July 17 2004
By 
Westley (Stuck in my head) - See all my reviews
"Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" is a collection of typically hilarious essays from David Sedaris - one of the true modern masters of comic writing. Many of the stories chronicle his years growing up gay in North Carolina, with his wacky family featured prominently. Other stories are more contemporary, with glimpses of his current life in France with his boyfriend Hugh. For his fans, Sedaris and his family have become old friends: I relish every detail that provides insight into his writing much as I savor news about people I know.
In addition, I was pleased by some of his stories that go a bit deeper. Instead of relying on unusual circumstances that he has experienced, Sedaris creates some funny situations through introspection; he's clearly growing as a comic writer. Some of his fans may worry that he will run out of childhood stories to tell - this collection suggests that he'll continue to put out great writing long after that happens. Overall, this collection is top-notch; it's incredibly funny and has a great deal of heart.
Minor quibble: I was a bit disappointed that a few of the essays were familiar - many of them have been published elsewhere, such as Esquire. However, this complaint is minor compared to the pleasure I received from reading this book. A real winner sure to please his fans!
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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (Paperback - May 31 2005)
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