Book Diary: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris)


(finished reading 15/09/2011)

As the extensive gushing in my previous post about David Sedaris demonstrated, he is my new current obsession.

After finishing Me Talk Pretty One Day and finding much in it as regards the alienation resultant from being a country where your grasp of the language is shaky (I was reading it on holiday whilst trying to advance my rusty A-Level Spanish and imagine a time when I might be fluent enough to be able to move to the country), I moved on to this next volume and found as much in it as the previous book, this time regarding families and the complicated relationships of which they comprise.

As when reading Me Talk Pretty One Day, there were embarrassing moments for me.  Especially on the ferry on the way home where I attracted confused and/or disapproving stares following my uncontrollable laughter.  I’m not usually someone who expresses themselves openly like this.  Even when chatting in public I keep my voice down to the lowest common level so as not to become irritating to anyone.  I never, ever cry at films, or books and I don’t often find something so funny I quite literally cannot contain myself.  But, all this was out the ferry port-hole when reading a few of the essays in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

As many of the essays centred around the Sedaris family, my excessive laughter brought to mind my own mum, who although is also a generally unobtrusive person, will – if she finds something funny, and she’s a person who laughs easily – let out a laughter so loud and hearty that I still, after 31 years of getting used to it, will jump.  Not only this, for some reason she is often the only person in these situations who is finding whatever it is funny.  She’s great to take along to any kind of performance where there aren’t many people, or where you’re not quite sure how it’s going to go down, because she will make up for a whole staid audience.  My experience of going to watch films when we were young (and still now in fact), is of a full, yet silent cinema and one big, loud laugh, ringing out from the seat beside me.

I like that one of the many things I’ve taken from reading this book is that it reminded me of how a family’s idiosyncrasies, though more often than not cause complicated, usually negative emotions, also make your family what it is and families being what they are it’s unlikely that it will ever change, so sometimes you may as well embrace it and laugh (loudly) along too.


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