Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From Cover to Close

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I ordered Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris from the ever so trusty When I opened the package, and faced the shamelessly exposed pre-anorexia Barbie, I knew I was in for an adventure. Sure enough, Mr. Sedaris pummeled me with his sardonic wit and blunt descriptions. From mocking the Baptists to incessantly infringing personal bubbles, Sedaris had me laughing, sighing, cringing, and rolling my eyes at his audacious narrative. From meeting characters from Brandi to Martin, I was able to pass judgment on a colorful array of personalities and for some reason, finding myself siding with the narrator.

We all have dysfunctional families, or pristine parents that succumb to a bout of chaos at the most inconvenient times. Although we have the mother who drinks and kicks children into the snowbank, she rises as her son's savior when fighting the gruesome beast named Brandi. Her personality is like a bird's nest, which makes her human. She does things that the audience wouldn't have expected, from crying when David moves out to predicting that Amy will own a monkey instead of a child, she strikes me as a woman who is just as confused about life as we are. However, she appears to be the character most likely to figure it out first.

I found the book weird, though. Although the characters were just as aggravating as a fanatic coworker, Mr. Sedaris creates a tangible world that the audience could readily integrate. There is nothing fake or embellished about this book, unlike other memoirs that are chock full of sympathy pitches and over exaggerated situations. Although the ending starts out smoothly, the narrative soon turns rough as the narrator is slowly disillusioned about the world surrounding him. By the end, we are as jaded as he is, but are left with a spout of optimism and a craving to crack open his next installment. In short, the naked Barbie on the cover was quite foretelling. David fully laid himself on the table and allowed us an intimate glimpse into his exposed mind, and didn't have a single qualm about the invasion of privacy.

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