When You Are Engulfed in Flames

[openbook booknumber=”9780316143479″]

[rating:5/5]

Another hilarious collection of essays by David Sedaris. This was another book that I read aloud to my husband. Again, a lot of this book had to be read in private though, and not around relatives. It’s definitely adult reading and adult language!

The portraits he paints of every day people doing things that are absolutely crazy in a way that makes them seem mundane is his calling card and he does this to excellent effect in this new novel. Whether it’s the woman that lives alone in an apartment building that acts like she runs the place (and really does), the crazy people he hitchhikes with in the early 70’s, his parent’s take on art, or the people he meets in his attempt to quit smoking in japan, it’s all written with a humorous edge and a sarcastic wit that makes even the most outcast and odd palatable.


Six months earlier, my ice breaker concerned a stripper who became a quadriplegic and eventually had her vagina eaten away by bedsores, not the easiest thing to wrangle into a conversation. But if I could pull that off, I figured that a burning mouse should pose no problem.

There were several parts where he seemed to go over the edge beyond funny into really being almost sad, pathetic, or even hateful. But, the rest of the book is so well written and his humor continues to be so endearing that you can’t help forgiving it as you continue on.

When You Are Engulfed In Flames is an excellent, strange, but very well written series of comedic looks into David Sedaris’ life and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to read some fun short true stories about NPR’s funniest voice in comedy.

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