Either you’ve read some David Sedaris essays or you haven’t. If you have, you’ll want to know how David Sedaris’s Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim compares to his other stuff; if you haven’t, you’ll want to know if it’s worth reading at all.

To the latter group, I have a simple answer: If you have a good sense of humor (by which I mean, as per standard usage, that you laugh at roughly the same things I do), yes. Sedaris is one of the funniest essayists I’ve read, and I’m frequently reduced to helpless laughter-spasms.

To the former group, I quibble a little bit. I think Me Talk Pretty One Day is better, largely because its essays are each longer. (Me Talk Pretty is also where I’d recommend starting for a new Sedaris reader, because it is his best stuff.) Other than that, though, Dress Your Family is right up there with the best of his stuff, and not a sign of incipient descent into unfunniness. So that’s good.

Parenthetically and only quasi-relatedly, I’ll add that this is the rare book that might be improved by being turned into an audio-book. Sedaris is a great comedic reader, whose use of tone, timing, and dialect make funny material into incredibly funny material. Given a choice between a written version and a spoken version, choose the latter.


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