Jason Koivu's Reviews > When You Are Engulfed in Flames

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
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's review
Apr 07, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: comedy, humor

When You Are Engulfed in Flames continues David Sedaris' cataloguing of the awkward moments of his life in humorous, memoir-like essays.

Herein are more of his usual daily-life topics: getting to know the neighbors (I.E. the local child molester), his fascination with creepy shit, the annoying people that enter his life, relationship issues (poor Hugh comes in for it in this one!), his pet spider and a mish-mash of other stuff.

Sedaris is very open about his personal issues. He has some OCDs and while it's surely hell to live through, he kindly plucks out the funny bits for our amusement.

The writing is getting a little bit too meta at this point for me. His daily life over the last few years, due to his own fame and fortune, has become less relatable for us commoners. Thus his material that finds him flying about the world, living in Paris and Tokyo, etc., while still humorous, does not hit the same funnybone as his past works.

The regional idiosyncrasies of the travel-related pieces are good for a few laughs, but they just don't elicit the same home-grown guffaws that sprouted naturally from the stories of his middle class American family's upbringing of him and his many siblings.

Still though, I've enjoyed this a couple times and would again.

Rating: 3.5

Recommended: For people that prefer observational humor and would rather steer clear of his highly personal anecdotes. (Trust me, they get even more personal than this!)
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