If you’ve been following this blog closely, you will realize that I picked this up right after finishing Me Talk Pretty One Day. I have this habit of fangirling over stuff that got me. A victim of this habit is Sedaris. Or maybe I am the victim? Either way, the fangirling usually doesn’t last. It rarely lasts.
Thus said, this is the last Sedaris book that I read. Why is that? First, I got caught up with other books. Second, his books aren’t always available at second-hand book stores, so if I really want to collect his works, I would have to buy them at regular price.
And for the third reason, I’ll think about it while I hack away on my keyboard.
Like my previous Sedaris read, this one is just as funny. Only this time, the collection of essays leans toward his family. It’s almost like looking at his family album.
At first glimpse, you might describe the Sedaris household as dysfunctional. But dysfunctional is good. Normal doesn’t work well nowadays. I like the picture that he gave me of his family, almost wishing that I was a part of it. Not that I am forsaking my own family. It’s just that the family members seem to hold on together despite the vast differences between them.
Come to think of it, a person borrows traits from the members of his family. I can’t say that it’s the same with Sedaris. But you get the idea. Different people scrunched inside one household. It isn’t always a homey experience, but it is a home anyway.
I don’t really recall a particular essay, but I remember his brother Rooster. I have this memory of him, and my brain dictates that he is the not so smart one, not so attached, almost tough, but he will be there for his family always. I also think that the mother borders on alcoholism. There’s also a sister named Gretchen, but I really can’t recall her character.
So Sedaris dressed his family in those fabrics, but really, he has presented them naked in a hilarious and touching way. Still, I would not recommend it to anyone for the same reasons I would not recommend his other work.
And yes, I haven’t said my third reason yet for no longer following the other works of this author. I just felt like the others would feel flat due to similarities. This one and Me Talk Pretty One Day are already on the same wavelength. I think two works from him would be enough.
Here’s my version:
Unlike my own family, we sort of collapsed despite efforts to stick together. Really, there was no effort, at least on my part. There’s my distant dad who used to be a hardcore guitarist. I don’t know if he ever was in a band because we never really talked. He’s now with another family. There’s my mom who’s being a cool and lovable and liberal mom. It’s only too late that we all found out that she’s very prone to depression. She will always be paranoid however much she dismisses the thought.
There’s my prodigal middle sister who has done a lot of crazy things since she entered her teenage years. Things like running away from home, having different boyfriends of different sexes (straight guys, bisexual guys, and very butch lesbians). She is forever a rebellious teenager. There’s my youngest sister who’s just being a baby and the most promising among us. She did good in high school and I could only hope for her to do better in college. She aims to find a rich boyfriend.
And there’s me. The smart overachiever who can’t fix his career and who can’t seem to satisfy himself. Always alone and always thinking of what? Everything between something and nothing. My inclination to leaving and solitude, I must have inherited from my dad. My bipolar tendencies, from my mom. My unconventional thoughts and manners, my middle sister. My dreamy moods, the youngest.
So how would I dress my family? I wouldn’t. I don’t want to. I was never the one to hide or lie. I’d present them naked. But maybe some flowy fabric would be good, something that would glide over us once the covers are unsheathed.