David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim stands as another strong effort by the essayist. It rings of everything typically of Sedaris-humor: awkwardness, an honest examination of both reality and society, and of course and increasingly metatextual awareness generated by the fact that the author’s family is now well aware that they are fodder for his writing. Of course, even their fears have become material and their requests to be off the record put on open display.
While the text is not innovative, and in my opinion as interesting as some of his other works, Sedaris has a way of turning the mundane into something interesting. How else could one enjoy hearing about running an apartment complex or the strange events of a biker wedding? Yet Sedaris makes menial landscaping and domicile upkeep sound fun while transforming his brother into a redneck alien that struggles to comprehend fatherhood. As always she strikes a balance, lingering in the general humanity of us all, finding our shared experiences. Everyone struggles with the kids, gets together with friends from high school or college in order to awkwardly reminisce, and deals with family oddities. It is here that Sedaris captures us, it is here that his constant reader returns.
For the newbies, give the text a shot, chuckle a bit, and expand your scope on the world while remembering that the human experience is just that, an experience.