Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays” as Want to Read:
Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  47,711 Ratings  ·  1,597 Reviews
In David Sedaris’s world, no one is safe and no cow is sacred. A manic cross between Mark Leyner, Fran Lebowitz, and the National Enquirer, Sedaris’s collection of essays is a rollicking tour through the national Zeitgeist: a do-it-yourself suburban dad saves money by performing home surgery; a man who is loved too much flees the heavyweight champion of the world; a teenag ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Back Bay Books (first published June 1st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Best Humorous Books
3,658 books — 6,745 voters
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Books that Make you Laugh
3,216 books — 4,334 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

This summer the bridge that makes my commute easy breezy and beautiful like a Cover Girl commercial is undergoing construction which has resulted in a Kelly that pretty much looks like this while trying to make her way into the city . . . . .



I decided for my own mental health maybe I should try an audio book, and what better person to choose than my beloved David. What can I say?????



Barrel Fever proved that I am most definitely an “
...more
Calista
This is not my favorite book of David's, but this had moments that cracked me up. He was telling a story where the father tried in vein to have an athlete in the family and he gave the son a football and that son said all he wanted to do was 'bottle and diaper it.' I nearly lost it. I was on the floor.

My second favorite story was about his youngest brother who is a foul mouth with a high pitched voice. If he likes you he will only call you 'bitch' or 'motherfucker'. The best part is he even say
...more
Minnie Romanovich
May 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
Another "bestseller" from the humorist; I bought this in blind faith only because it was a Sedaris. However, I admit I was a tad disappointed. In some of the essays, it felt like he was trying too hard to be funny; the stories seemed to lack the punch found in "Naked," "Me Talk Pretty One Day," or "Holidays on Ice."

If you must read this, borrow it from a library or buy it used. It works well as a paper-weight.
Vanessa
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
The first couple of short stories didn't hit the mark for me so I was a little concerned going in to what I had actually signed up for, but going forward I started to comprehend the authors voice and it fell into place for me, which makes rating this one hard.
Although not all the essays worked for me, I gather from other reviews this maybe isn't his finest work but I can see some glimpses of genius at play. His style is distinct however with many of his characters being mean spirited, down and
...more
Julie Ehlers
As just about every other reviewer has noted, the tone of this is pretty different from Sedaris's subsequent work that's earned him so much adoration. It's darker, more misanthropic, occasionally shocking. But if you can resist comparing this to later books, it stands on its own. I thought some of these stories (particularly "Don's Story") were hilarious, and they were definitely unlike any other short stories I'd read—you can see why this collection made such a big impact on critics when it was ...more
Dagio_maya
Aug 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-grazie
Che immane fatica!
Sì alla fine ci sono arrivata: ma che fatica!
Chi ti ha obbligata (potreste chiedermi)?
Un obbligo con me stessa dato che ho accettato di giocare al gioco “adotta un autore”. Guarda che ...fortunella sono che la ruota della fortuna mi fa adottare tale Sedaris mai sentito nominare.
Dato che difficilmente mi tiro indietro (capatosta!!!) .....eccomi, e questo è anche il secondo libro che leggo!
Per tutta la lettura mi sono immaginata una di quelle scene da (tele)film americano dove il
...more
Anthony Chavez
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
When I purchased this at Beer's Books in Sacramento I had no idea it was Sedaris' debut book, I just knew that he was a hilarious guy and the cover just made me laugh, I loved it and had to buy it.

I sort of went in with high hopes, a few people I know had recently seen him live and said he was great. "Barrel Fever" is a collection of short stories and essays, and for a debut collection it was not bad. None of the stories are bad, but they're not amazingly great either; however, I found the four
...more
Glenn Sumi
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
After reading Sedaris's much better written (and funnier) Me Talk Pretty One Day earlier this year, his debut book of stories and essays is disappointing. The short stories, in particular, are uneven, many of them contrived, failed attempts at being whimsical, absurd or shocking. I guess he's just not very good at making stuff up.

The one gem is the final piece, the now famous SantaLand Diaries, chronicling his experiences as a 33-year-old working as an elf at Macy's elaborate holiday display. Th
...more
Andrea
Apr 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio-style
I loved Me Talk Pretty One Day, but Barrel Fever was painful. The audiobook is read by the author with a few vocal appearances from his sister, Amy Sedaris.... I guess I was just expecting more from them than a tangled mess of sub par short stories - all of which seem to feature the same narcissistic, celebrity obsessed, accident prone, substance abusing, deadbeat narrator who happens to be gay. It's like a terrible version of Curb Your Enthusiam...in which the narrator is plugged into ridiculou ...more
Cassie
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: essay readers, satirists, Sedaris fans
Recommended to Cassie by: Eileen
To all of the reviewers who put down this collection of short stories and essays, I say: Give the man a break! Of course this book is nothing like "Me Talk Pretty One Day"--it's Sedaris' first novel and has very little of his own memoirs inside the cover. Authors are allowed to grow and better themselves and change their style as the years pass, so let's all just take a moment to take this book for what it is: a first printing of short stories written by a man who later becomes a great speaker a ...more
Roberta
E' il secondo che leggo, di suo, e credo che Sedaris si meriti un posto tra gli autori da seguire con più attenzione.
E' umorismo americano ben fatto e soprattutto ha la capacità di passare da uno stile all'altro, da uno stereotipo o un linguaggio a un altro, mantenendo una buona qualità del racconto.
Ripeto quanto già detto altrove: trovo che negli ultimi anni ci sia stata una bulimia editoriale. Non basta un libro, deve uscire la trilogia. Non bastano 100 pagine, bisogna infarcirle di aggettivi
...more
Ginny_1807
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sedaris non è uno scrittore umoristico nel senso più stretto della definizione e chi si rapportasse ai suoi libri animato da simili aspettative resterebbe senz’altro deluso.
Infatti le storie che racconta sono spesso spaccati di vita quotidiana, esperienze vissute o del tutto inventate che non hanno nulla di eccezionale o di insolito, tranne il modo in cui vengono presentate. È il suo tratto scarno, incisivo e graffiante nel caratterizzare i fatti e i personaggi a risultare umoristico, ma di un
...more
J.I.
Jun 21, 2008 added it
Shelves: read-2008
Definitely Sedaris' worst book. The stories are occasionally interesting and hilarious, but are, more often than not, half baked ideas with a little bit of angst-ridden humor that just doesn't work for the most part. The essays, on the other hand, are were Sedaris succeeds. He is funny and captivating and insightful. The way that Sedaris sees life is staggeringly original and thought provoking and it's no wonder his later books have been so popular and sold so well. It is a shame that his fictio ...more
Fran
Jan 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Tre stelle stiracchiatissime.
Si tratta di una raccolta di racconti probabilmente parzialmente autobiografici, che tra loro non hanno nessun tipo di connessione logica o cronologica.
I primi brevi capitoli sono veramente sconclusionati, piccoli aneddoti dimenticabili. Pian piano i racconti si allungano e prendono un minimo di corpo.
Il tutto più che ironico è molto agrodolce, con venature di autentico cattivo gusto.
"Il tarlo del teatro" e "Nudo" sono i brani che mi sono piaciuti e hanno arrotondato
...more
fortuna.spinning
As I recalled from reading the print version several years ago, the personal stories are best. The fictional essays are decent, too, but not quite as entertaining. On audio, it’s still a “pick,” though. I love Sedaris!
Gabriel
May 12, 2011 rated it liked it
David Sedaris has become one of my favorite writers. He's funny, he's brutally honest, and he looks at life through a unique lens that I've grown to love. But I'll be honest: if this had been the first book by Sedaris that I read, I probably wouldn't have found any of this out because I wouldn't have been tempted to pick up another of his books ever again.

Okay, so it wasn't unreadable. In fact, it was often funny and it did shed a light on the stupidity in society, something that I've come to ap
...more
Ensiform
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
A collection of short fiction pieces – parodies, flights of fancy bordering on the absurd, and the blackest of black-humor riffs on dysfunctional families – followed by Sedaris’ debut and best-known memoir, “SantaLand Diaries,” and a few other humorous essays.

As a great fan of Sedaris, I’ve read all of his work, and enjoyed this book the least. As a fiction writer, Sedaris makes a damn fine essayist; I found his stories to be either too fantastic to be meaningful (“Don’s Story,” in which an obno
...more
Bruna
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
Il primo libro di Sedaris che io abbia letto, e rischia di restare l'unico. Questo racconto semi-autobiografico a singhiozzo, nonostante alcuni momenti resi godibili dall'acuto spirito di osservazione dell'autore, mi ha talvolta irritato ma più spesso annoiato. Può darsi benissimo che io non capisca il suo senso dell'umorismo, sempre che a infastidirmi non sia stato invece il gigantesco e sfacciato egocentrismo di cui mi pare dia prova il narratore, e che solo a tratti viene interrotto da benven ...more
Tracy
Oct 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Sedaris' first book and it shows. I am glad that he switched to the autobiographical stories and left the straight up fiction behind. reads like a john waters film, but could be better. i'd say this book is for sedaris completists and that others should just stick w/Naked.

Very weak. Just go ahead and read the later books.
Graceann
Nov 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: essays
Please see my review at Amazon.com: Grace's Barrel Fever Review

Terrible, terrible book. With the sole exception of Santaland Diaries, this was a waste of time and paper. Borrow it from the library, commit Santaland Diaries to memory, and ignore the rest.
Colin James
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kirstin Lipka
Although many of his stories are filled with delusions of grandeur and insane self absorption, when Sedaris does it, somehow it's still funny. For example:

"The press is having a field day over my relationship with Mike Tyson. We tried to keep it a secret, but for Mike and me there can be no privacy...We look so good together, everyone wants pictures..."

"Mike and I are arguing over what to name our kitten. For the record, a long haired cat is one thing, but a big white Persian/Himalayan blend na
...more
Adam Oster
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm actually surprised I read this whole thing. From the opening stories I felt as though this was nothing more than an amateur author testing his skills, attempting to find his voice, struggling to be humorous. On more than one occasion I actually checked the sexual preference of the author for fear that the entire thing was just supposed to be one horrible gay joke, as opposed to the working out of demons that it more likely is. Perhaps the issue is my knowledge of current David Sedaris and hi ...more
Stacey
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
First, a disclaimer: I listened mostly to the audiobook which, upon closer inspection is titled "Barrel Fever: and Other Stories," not the subtitle from the print version (Stories and Essays), even though the cover art is the same. I was so confused by the audiobook that I was moved to check out the print version from the library to see what the he-e-double-hockey-sticks was happening. It was like David Sedaris on shuffle and I did not understand it at all. There were these like 5 minute pointle ...more
Hilda
Jan 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Yeah, uh..., no. I didn't like 95% of this book. I have now read all of David Sedaris books and I can unequivocally say this is the book I liked least. I liked it even less than I liked "Naked" - or should I say I disliked it even more than I disliked "Naked".

This is Sedaris' first book and IMO it's obvious. There are twelve "stories" - allegedly fiction - and four essays, supposedly non-fiction. As far as I know, all subsequent Sedaris books are essay collections. I can see why. The difference
...more
Kate
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love David Sedaris. Lately I've been listening to more audiobooks but I can really only stand to listen to books that are 5-6 discs or less (I get kind of impatient if they take too long, unless there's a really good narrator). David Sedaris, reading his own work with a little help from his sister Amy Sedaris, is a great narrator. I think most authors reading their own work just know the correction delivery they're aiming for, and David Sedaris is better than most because he's got delivery lik ...more
Johnny J
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
After reading some books that had little to no comedic value to them whatsoever, I thought it'd mix it up a bit with a work from a comedian that I found to be funny in the past, David Sedaris. I had first heard his comedy a few years ago when my mom had me listen to the audiobook version of Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls during a long car ride. As Sedaris has had a very interesting and somewhat checkered past, some of the stories he told (the book was a collection of essays) were pretty awkward ...more
PlatKat
Apr 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sedaris fans
Recommended to PlatKat by: John
The books begins with a tempestuous tabloid recount of the author's numerous affairs with famous figureheads, including boxer Mike Tyson who apparently has a softer, gayer side that none of us knew about. Throughout the first chapter, the most prevalent thought in my mind was "What the fuck am I reading?" But of course, this is David Sedaris we're talking about here, and perhaps the barrage of non-fiction literature I've been reading up to this point hadn't prepared me for the silliness.

Although
...more
Bruce Thomas
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Many hilarious moments - the rare laugh out loud event occurred a few times in the car, especially his depiction of his brother Rooster with sister Amy in You Can't Kill the Rooster essay:

My brother politely ma'ams and sirs all strangers but refers to friends and family his father included, as either "bitch" or "motherfucker." Friends are appalled at the way he speaks to his only remaining parent. The two of them once visited my sister Amy and me in New York City, and we celebrated with a dinner
...more
Wes Locher
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of David Sedaris
Shelves: humor, essays, 2010-reads
Even though this is one of David Sedaris's earliest offerings, I did not read it first. I came onto Sedaris's sardonic wit through the fantastic essay collection "Me Talk Pretty One Day." After laughing my way through those 200 plus pages I was hungry for more by the author. Being a completest, I usually read everything I can by authors that I enjoy.

Coming from the high that was "Me Talk Pretty..." I was a little put off by "Barrel Fever," the next title I attempted from the author. Where as "Pr
...more
Kate Vocke
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm a HUGE David Sedaris fan but this was not my favorite. This was written in 1994, his early years of being published, and he has definitely improved with age. He's still trying to find his voice and clearly we all know he does! "Me Talk Pretty One Day", "Naked", and "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" are proof of that.

"Santaland Diaries" is an exception - I give that 5 stars alone, his recollections about being a mall elf at Macy's are hysterical to say the least, and you glimpse true Sedaris
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
You Need To Write Essay Your Way To The Top 1 1 Apr 10, 2018 05:00AM  
Review 1 1 Feb 28, 2018 08:01AM  
What things can enable an individual be able to write a high quality essay? 1 1 Jan 15, 2018 05:53AM  
How to Write an Excellent Essay 1 2 Jan 12, 2018 10:50PM  
Not Funny 8 43 May 16, 2013 12:18PM  
paperback,hardback or electronic 3 18 May 27, 2012 03:41PM  
  • The Book of Liz - Acting Edition
  • Fraud: Essays
  • It's a Slippery Slope
  • Pure Drivel
  • I Love You More Than You Know
  • Possible Side Effects
  • An Idiot Girl's Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List
  • Skipping Towards Gomorrah
  • The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006
  • Take the Cannoli
  • My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face
  • Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus
14,710 followers
David Sedaris is a Grammy Award-nominated American humorist and radio contributor.

Sedaris came to prominence in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand Diaries." He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. Each of his four subsequent essay collections, Naked (1997), Holidays on Ice (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Dress Your Fa
...more

Nonfiction Deals

  • The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Life Lessons from Matthew
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace
    $9.99 $2.99
  • My Mother Was Nuts
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Final Vows
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chosen by a Horse: a memoir
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made
    $17.99 $1.99
  • John Quincy Adams
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match: 70 Recipes to Pair and Share
    $15.99 $2.99
  • By Myself and Then Some
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
    $9.99 $2.49
  • Shakespeare Never Did This
    $6.99 $1.99
  • No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Wish You Happy Forever: What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains
    $14.74 $1.99
  • The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
    $12.74 $1.99
  • People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful
    $13.49 $0.99
  • The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Supreme Gift
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered One Mom's Small Prayer in a Big Way
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why
    $9.99 $2.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner
    $18.50 $3.99
  • The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Life Lessons from Ephesians
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Marriage in Dog Years
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Trusting God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotions
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Founding Mothers
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (Kindle Edition)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Ida: A Sword Among Lions
    $8.24 $2.99
  • Unsinkable: A Memoir
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
    $7.95 $2.49
  • Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On Becoming a Novelist
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe
    $17.99 $1.99
“If you're looking for sympathy you'll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” 6335 likes
“I just looked at the pattern of my life, decided I didn't like it, and changed.” 123 likes
More quotes…