Thursday, June 21, 2012
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Sedaris' essays span his life, beginning with his childhood in North Carolina, through his college years and after, and into what the reader presumes is his present life living and writing in France. He is the center of all of his stories, and he spends most of his time examining his loneliness, his isolation from the world, and his disillusionment with the prospects of his life.
The way Sedaris charts the limits of hope are self-deprecatingly humorous. Whether its needing his mother to rescue him from a neighborhood child he has tried to befriend, or his realization that his house looks like a serial killer's home to the stranger who has just walked in, Sedaris is at his best at the moment when his eyes open and he sees the world from another perspective.
If he wasn't so funny, I wouldn't tolerate some of the solipsism involved (and yes, I am acutely aware of the irony of writing a blog and accusing other writers of solipsism). There was nothing world shaking in the essays, and I wonder at the line between fiction and non-fiction, especially in Sedaris' characterization of his family. One of my favorite chapters featured his redneck brother, an expectant father, suddenly transformed by the nervous energy of dreams for his unborn child.
What made the audiobook especially enjoyable was that several of the chapters were not studio recordings, but live recordings of Sedaris reading to an audience. It was nice to know that I wasn't the only one laughing.
Book 25 of my book a week challenge.