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Dress Your Family … (D. Sedaris)

2005-12-26 2 min read Books marco

… In Corduroy and Jeans. David Sedaris’s 2004 book continues the series of stories from the author’s family, including early childhood memories and recent memories of life in France with his partner, Hugh.

I find it astonishing how the same man can write 5 books on his family life and still have more to say. I guess everyone else would run out of things to tell, but Sedaris’s family can be counted on for one more little funny story every single time. Or maybe the commentator on the jacket is right: even when given the phone book as material, David Sedaris would know how to make that sound funny.

The book is written as a collection of short stories, all of them inspired by family events. From early childhood trauma to the drowning of a mouse, Sedaris gives his otherwise unremarkable memories a touching quality that makes you smile where most surprising.

There are two main characteristics in these books:

  1. Everyone (including explicitly the author) is fair game for poking fun at
  2. What makes the prose hilarious are short turns and analogies that are not directed at anyone in particular

The humanity that emerges from Sedaris’s books is flawed, but in a very good, sympathetic sense. It is easy to understand why his family has not turned a cold shoulder on the man that mocks them in every single book he’s written, because in the light of Sedaris’s pen, flaws become not just acceptable, but the defining traits of our very own soul.

The good photographer knows how to make a beautiful person look good on a picture. The artist photographer knows how to make an ugly person look good. Sedaris has that quality.