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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim


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Adult/High School-This lighthearted follow-up to Me Talk Pretty One Day (Little, Brown, 2000) contains a selection of personal essays. Some of the pieces appeared previously in magazines or on the NPR radio program This American Life. The first half of the collection focuses on Sedaris's childhood, including his relationship with his supportive mother and "man's man" of a father. Family vacations, snow days from school, and parental conflicts are all rendered in a comic style. Several of the pieces highlight the author's growing up with the knowledge that he is gay. He writes about the mixture of feelings he experienced in a real but funny manner. The second half moves Sedaris into adulthood. Although still dealing chiefly with his family, the focus shifts to his brother and sisters. From Tiffany, who collects and sells junk right from her house, to macho, floor-sanding Paul, Sedaris sets up a family dynamic that's sometimes odd, sometimes sad, but always funny. A handful of pieces include or refer to his life partner, Hugh. Whether it's apartment searching in "Possession" or the clash of personalities in "A Can of Worms," it's refreshing to see a writer portray a gay relationship that's committed and monogamous. Although not as unified as his other books, this collection serves as a touching reminder of how odd, funny, and unique our lives really are.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving tales of al too ordinary madness....Do yourself a favor and rush c to read the damn book for yourself."

In his latest collection, Sedaris has found his heart. This is not to suggest that the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and other bestselling books has lost his edge. The 27 essays here (many previously published in Esquire, G.Q. or the New Yorker, or broadcast on NPR's This American Life) include his best and funniest writing yet. Here is Sedaris's family in all its odd glory. Here is his father dragging his mortified son over to the home of one of the most popular boys in school, a boy possessed of "an uncanny ability to please people," demanding that the boy's parents pay for the root canal that Sedaris underwent after the boy hit him in the mouth with a rock. Here is his oldest sister, Lisa, imploring him to keep her beloved Amazon parrot out of a proposed movie based on his writing. (" `Will I have to be fat in the movie?' she asked.") Here is his mother, his muse, locking the kids out of the house after one snow day too many, playing the wry, brilliant commentator on his life until her untimely death from cancer. His mother emerges as one of the most poignant and original female characters in contemporary literature. She balances bitter and sweet, tart and rich-and so does Sedaris, because this is what life is like. "You should look at yourself," his mother says in one piece, as young Sedaris crams Halloween candy into his mouth rather than share it. He does what she says and then some, and what emerges is the deepest kind of humor, the human comedy. Author tour. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Sedaris has a knack for turning heartbreaking antics into moments of outrageous humor. This collection includes two hilarious vignettes about his younger brother Paul, the foul-mouthed, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth hope for the Sedaris clan. The first story about Paul chronicles his engagement and subsequent marriage to a girl from the North, which provides a 50-50 chance for an improvement in the family gene pool should they have any offspring. "Baby Einstein" relates the pregnancy and birth of this anxiously awaited child. Sedaris portrays his redneck brother in a high-pitched twangy voice that is equally as entertaining as the actual words themselves. In one tale that features his mother, she cozies up to a rich old aunt in anticipation of an inheritance, and in another she locks her children outside on the fifth snow day home from school. It's a hallmark of true comedic wit when stories can be heard more than once and still generate laughter. Highly recommended for all audio collections.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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