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Home is Burning

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,698 ratings  ·  407 reviews
Dave Eggers meets David Sedaris in this uproariously funny, unflinchingly honest, and tender memoir.

Dan's mom has always had cancer. First diagnosed when he was only ten years old, she was the model of resilience throughout his childhood, fighting her disease with tenacity and a mouth foul enough to make a sailor blush. But just as she faces a relapse, her husband —a succe
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Flatiron Books
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,698 ratings  ·  407 reviews

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Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
One hundred percent of our parents are terminally ill.

so, i mostly didn't like this book.

and now you're looking at me like i'm a heartless robot, "how can you hate on a memoir about a guy whose father has ALS and whose mother has cancer? you are a monster!!"

and maybe i am, but there was so much about this book that just pissed me off. i have put off writing this review for a long time, because i have this fundamental squeamishness when it comes to reviewing memoirs. it feels like judging a per
Dan Marshall
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
"Wow, what an amazing book. The writer is clearly some sort of genius type." - Dan Marshall ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I'm the kind of person who grasps for books to speak to what I'm going through, and memoir can be really good for that. This came across in one of the emails I get of daily book deals, and I jumped at the chance, because that very day I was planning the books I'd take along when I flew home to be with my family after my father entered hospice care. You might think I'm morbid, but despite the problematic elements of this narrative, I found it somewhat comforting to read the author's account of si ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

This is a journey into a family's nightmare... at least in my opinion. The author is crude in the book, self absorbed at times in the book and he admits it all. He doesn't care what people think, he tells this story with no holds barred. Why should people put up a front about their life? Why should they hide who they are? Even if we don't always agree with the way people think or do things, I think it's awesome that he could write things that a lot of people w
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, memoir
I don't think I've ever loved a memoir so much, even though, many times throughout the book I really didn't like the author. Ultimately, (no spoilers) I've come to the conclusion that Dan Marshall is a pretty great guy, as well as a brutally honest writer who puts emotion on the page to a level that I've rarely seen. ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Crude, sloppy, and entertaining. I would have IDOLIZED this book when I was a seventeen-year-old asshole. As a grown-ass woman, the weak writing bothered me a tiny bit. But it was heartfelt and sad and a weird/wonderful story. The love the author has for his father throbs throughout every page. Is that a thing? Throbbing throughout the page? Whatever. I'm a sloppy writer, too. I just don't have a book. ...more
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
A hero of sorts! Seriously. I mean, yes everyone dies. But when it happens to you, especially when someone close to you is going to die and you have an endpoint in sight - say slightly over a year- and it's your parent---dealing with that in your 20's (or any age) is TOUGH and makes you do things that you never thought you would have to do. So when you go from being a complete selfish dick to a slightly less selfish dick, i call that a type of heroism.

Dan Marshall had it all; wealth, a future,
At age 25, Dan Marshall went home to Salt Lake City to care for a father with ALS and a mother with leukemia. He and his four hapless siblings (a Sedaris-like clan) approached caregiving with sarcasm and dirty humor. Gleefully foul-mouthed, his memoir lacks introspective depth. He hardly ventures deeper than initial descriptions like “My gay brother, Greg” and “My adopted Native American sister, Michelle.” And even when his sentiments about his father are sincere, they are conveyed via what soun ...more
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If this were a novel, I would have given it 1 star. Being a memoir, I feel like I can't criticize it just because I hate the characters. Almost everyone in the book feels like a caricature rather than a human.

The family is a group of spoiled, rich, arrogant, foul-mouthed jerks, and seemingly proud of it. They're all rabidly disrespectful toward each other and the world. I hate the way the family treats each other (Mother to children: "God forbid you lazy kids actually do something around here...
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I was so looking forward to this memoir. I was aware there would be a lot of bad language and black humor, but I found the author to be a bozo. While I felt for him--at the age of 25, his dad is dying from Lou Gehrig's disease and his mother is continuing to battle cancer, The author's responses were continually immature and often cringeworthy. I am glad I read the book-- it was like an itch I had to scratch--but be aware this is not your typical memoir. ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm sorry, I just can't. I tried so hard and couldn't finish this book. Listen, I love me some edgy, raunchy, raw, potty-mouthed writing just as much as the next girl (okay, more), but I really couldn't deal with the writing and style of these one. Marshall acknowledges being "a white asshole" but it didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I was learning how shitty ALS is, how cancer literally sucks out your soul but I wasn't getting an authentic sense of who these people really are.

Might try again
Lelia Nebeker
There's something intoxicating about Dan Marshall's voice that makes you unable to put this book down, even as his family's story goes from hilarious to devastating with the turn of a page. Marshall's sharp humor stems from his brutal honesty and his unflinching portrayal of himself and his family as they navigate the uncharted waters of caring for two parents battling terminal illnesses. His family's experiences range from absurd to cringe-inducing (sometimes both), but, remarkably, Marshall al ...more
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
A sad memoir of a young man's return to his unconventional family when his father is diagnosed with ALS at the same time that his mother is dealing with cancer. The of the day to day dealings with medical care became repetitive and the constant F-bombs and fart references turned me off. ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was AWFUL. Lots of swearing doesn't make you funny or edgy, or a writer. Any comparison to David Sedaris is slander. ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Having been the primary (read:only) caregiver for my mother in law as she was dying of breast cancer I wholeheartedly give this memoir five stars. One for the bravery it took to publish a very private and horrifying chapter of a family's saga. One for the humor that was not scrubbed clean in an effort to conform to how many people want to believe a family will handle this traumatic series of events. One for the explanation and facts about a disease that were written in such a way that it never f ...more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The criticisms of this memoir that center around the author's supposed "incompetence" in caring for his dying father seem to come from a place where the reviewer just simply has never cared for someone that is dying. It's imperfect and awful. Or maybe that reviewer is just the one person who is able to get it right while the rest of us just flounder. Whatever was awful about you before the illness is only amplified in hardship. So was Dan an entitled asshole before his dad got sick? Seems so. Wh ...more
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book made me laugh and cry all within 300 pages. One of the best memoirs I've read (not like I've read enough of them, but I did take an undergraduate class on them). From my knowledge and understanding of them, this book took what I knew of a memoir and totally revolutionized what it means. No longer was it a story of a pity party to make other people feel sorry for you; memoirs instead are supposed to inspire emotions in other people, whether they be good or bad. Thanks, Dan Marshall, for ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
First off, if you are offended by swearing, don't read this book because there is a ton. What a horrible thing to go through. Dan tells the story of when his Mom was going through cancer treatment and their Dad was diagnosed with ALS and eventually died from the disease. It's a very frank and brutally honest look at how a family copes with two parents dying. ...more
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
I liked this better when it was A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I laughed a lot. I didn't cry but came close.
Dan made me love this family and want to be a part of it, despite everything.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of memoirs so I was extremely happy that I was able to pick up an ARC at BEA this year. This was the one book that I saw EVERYONE carrying around and reading on day 1, as if they couldn't put it down, and now I understand why.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for the sad, sappy, life stories about losing a loved one. Sometimes you just need to sit down and remember that life is short and all that jazz. But boy oh boy, Marshall takes it to a whole other level that is so honest and r
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse Coulter
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-books
Sorry, Dan Marshall. I really wanted to like this book, but the harsh truth is that it's just not very good. I loved the concept of a tragic time in someone's life being treated with warmth and humour, but in practise it's just the same tired toilet jokes being recycled ad nauseam. With the exception of Marshall's long-suffering father, I wanted to strangle everyone in this story at one point or another. This being a true tale, I'm not going to judge a person's approach to personal tragedy, but ...more
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I loved everything about it. The humour is extremely dark, wildly inappropriate at times, and completely hilarious. It is a painful subject and difficult to believe it could be dealt with with so much humour but Marshall really pulls it off. This book is definitely not for everyone as I am sure some people would find it offensive but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hands-down the best memoir I have read in years.
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. This is the most irreverent book I have ever read, and I mean that as a compliment. I think it will be way too crass and caustic for most people, but for the right audience in a similar situation, it could be a lifesaver. Besides David Sedaris, it also had shades of Patton Oswalt, Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of It All, and The Silver Linings Playbook.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
I liked this book, but a bit over the top in when it comes to the crudeness. The experience the family had was tragic and I do understand that gallows humor can sometimes help get you through the agony but that can be offensive to some and as a result limit the audience for the book.
Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves
Made me laugh, made me cry. A giant lesson in putting on your big girl/boy pants filled with F bombs and inappropriate jokes! Review to come.
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
If you don't think this is funny after the first 15 pages, don't bother reading the rest. ...more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This starts out strong and hard with Marshall's mid-twenties self ringing clearly (and crudely) on each page and I was quite entertained by first. Then I figured out that reading hundreds of pages from the POV of a young, wealthy, self-absorbed white guy whose nickname of "Dickhead Dan" was very apt, was not my cup of tea. Still, I enjoyed hearing about his family and his deeper insights into caring for his dying parents, and definitely echo his sentiment: 'F*** Lou Gehrig's Disease!" ...more
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
First off, my emotional reaction to this book is so strong, I wanted to give it 5 stars, but realistically it probably doesn't deserve the "amazing" rating. This book is damn funny and heart-wrenchingly heroic. Much of it is R-rated, maybe even X-rated. (If every f-word was deleted, it would probably be a chapter length shorter.) I also don't remember crying so much over a book. Not in a long, long time. The much loved father of the family is diagnosed with ALS and his family of "rich, asshole" ...more
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Play Book Tag: Home is Burning by Dan Marshall - 4 stars 1 10 Oct 23, 2016 09:46PM  

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DAN MARSHALL grew up in a nice home with nice parents in Salt Lake City, Utah, before attending UC Berkeley. After college, Dan worked at a strategic communications public relations firm in Los Angeles. At 25, he left work and returned to Salt Lake to take care of his sick parents. While caring for them, he started writing detailed accounts about many of their weird, sad, funny adventures. Home is ...more

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