Merry Wanderer of the Night + nonfiction

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

As someone who has taken a lot of nonfiction writing classes I've heard endless excitement over David Sedaris. In high school I was often given recommendations to read him because I loved authors like Chuck Klosterman and Nick Hornby. But for some reason I've never really felt that driven to read Sedaris, maybe because he gets so much attention and there are a lot of great nonfiction writers out there who don't. At a coffeeshop my friend talked about how much fun she had listening to Sedaris recordings after she finished one of his books, so I decided to take the Sedaris plunge but simply listening. I listened to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

while at work last month and was often laughing out loud at his outrageousness.

Dress Your Family is really a memoir of Sedaris' family. They're all rather bizarre and he imitates them flawlessly-- particularly his brother who has a very thick Southern accent and is basically the epitome of "white trash." Sedaris acknowledges his family member's strangeness, but I think he manages to make us see them as real people and not just characters. What moves them beyond character and into the realm of real person is their relationship to Sedaris and their relationship to their family. Sedaris acknowledges his own quirks in this book as well, and is very self-deprecating. I particularly enjoyed his memories about being a teenager and wanting to be a total hippie, which was very funny, and also his stories about coming out as a gay man in a family that was proud of "manliness."

While the book was hilarious as a whole, I felt the last few essays didn't quite fit with the whole book. There was an essay about Santa Claus in the Netherlands, and while I could kind of make the connection to family I was a little put off by the whole thing. It was very frustrating because I really enjoyed several of the essays I didn't felt fit with the book, in fact I enjoyed some of them more than the essays I did think fit, but overall it was jarring and difficult to reconcile in the end. As an audiobook I thought this was a great listen, and something that was really hard to ignore. I feel like that is something a lot of people have said about audiobooks, they are easy to ignore. I have experienced that a little, but never with this one. A great choice for the reluctant audio listener.

I give this book a B.

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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim + nonfiction