Book Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

David Sedaris has written yet another book of essays (his sixth).  Subjects include a parasitic worm that once lived in his mother-in-law's leg, an encounter with a dingo, and the recreational use of an external catheter.  Also recounted is the buying of a human skeleton and the author's attempt to quit smoking.  In Tokyo.  Master of nothing, at the dead center of his game, Sedaris proves that when you play with matches, you sometimes light the whole pack on fire. 

I love David Sedaris.  I've read four of his books now and loved each one more than the last.  Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is my favorite, with When You Are Engulfed in Flames coming in a close second.  

The stories are meandering at times, but hilarious.  They go in directions you don't expect, which makes them all the funnier.  The things Sedaris goes through and the way he describes them are what makes his writing so successful---where the rest of us might bemoan our circumstances or childhoods, he turns his painful memories into something we want to read.

Just One Gripe: 
Some of the chapters drag in the middle a little.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The humor---Sedaris' books make me laugh out loud frequently and when I think back on parts of the book, I giggle, even months later.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
Probably not  



  1. I loved this book. It's so funny, but you're right - it does drag in the middle. I especially liked the skeleton Christmas present story. Another book you might like is Bringing Home The Birkin.
    My favorite Sedaris story is the Santaland Diaries. That's how I first heard of Sedaris - reading it on NPR.

  2. Great review! This book sounds great :)
    I will have to check it out!

  3. Adding it on to TBR list. Will look into Sedaris. What a cover, great with Halloween being around the corner.

  4. David Sedaris is supposed to be such a good author, my dad is trying to pawn this novel off on me right now. So I'd better at it to my Good Reads to-read list ;)


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