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When You Are Engulfed in Flames Paperback – Jun 2 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (June 2 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316154680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316154680
  • ASIN: 0316154687
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Bennett on July 3 2008
Format: Hardcover
David Sedaris' managed to write a stream of consciousness set of reminiscences which were hilarious, sometimes upsetting, brave and often thought provoking. He talked about the kind of embarassing or uncomfortable moments that most of us try to forget right after they've occured with both humour and honesty. His section on how he quit smoking was brilliant and really very insightful about the whole subject of addiction. I think what I liked so much about this book apart from just how funny it was is that it was filled with insight without ever becoming pompous. All in all, a really good book that makes you laugh out loud, think about difficult topics, and read far later in the night than you meant to because it's so hard to put down.
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By Bookie on Oct. 24 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love David Sedaris. He is a master of his craft. This book made me laugh until I cried.
I highly recommend it.
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By Tara on July 23 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very funny, he writes what I sometimes think. And is not ashamed! The last story is the best, I too no longer smoke.
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By Sparks394 on March 16 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first David Sedaris book I have read so I cannot compare it his other works, but having read it I will definitely seek out other books he has written. I found this an enjoyable meditation on the foibles of the the author's life, family and loves. It was like peeking behind the curtain of someone's private life and feeling okay with laughing about what you find there. Irreverent and very funny with moments of seriousness and even slight tinges of sadness. I book I would recommend to friends.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 18 2008
Format: Hardcover
Laugh at yourself and the whole world laughs with you. It's hard to write humorous essays that stand the test of time. Will Rogers realized that and just read the newspaper to audiences while adding an occasionally wry quip to get huge laughs. Put those messages into a book, and they wouldn't have lasted.

I haven't heard David Sedaris perform in person (which he does as readings), but I'm told he's marvelous. If you have had that pleasure, you will undoubtedly hear his voice, know his timing, and see his expressions as you read this witty, self-deprecating book. I suspect that such an imagined performance would easily turn this into a five-star book.

Proust waxed poetic about his memories of a madeleine (a shell-shaped cake in the France of his youth) in stream of consciousness prose. Sedaris does the same thing for a painful boil on his derriere, his horrible inability to learn new languages, and his desire to show a little more plumpness in his derriere. The results are equally memorable . . . but much more amusing in the case of Sedaris.

Sedaris likes to put together mosaics of seemingly unconnected memories that when combined show a different image and send a different message. It's a little like a Chuck Close portrait.

Like the best humorists, he takes us into her personal life . . . into the kinds of details that few of us would openly share with the public. In exchange for yielding his privacy, he helps us see ourselves in his experiences. Who hasn't struggled with a foreign language with embarrassing consequences? Who hasn't wanted to be a little more in some aspect of their lives? Who hasn't had trouble getting rid of a bad habit?
Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Bellamy on July 24 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of David Sedaris for a few years now, and have read and re-read his books many times, often for the novel experience (for me) of laughing out loud while reading; few writers are as honest and funny.

This book didn't make me laugh out loud, but I enjoyed it hugely nonetheless, it is a bit deeper, a bit darker, and perhaps more thoughtful and personal than his previous writing.

I look forward to more writing from this author, and I congratulate him on his accomplishment with this latest book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 14 2008
Format: Hardcover
What to do when you are engulfed in flames?? This funny set of personal anecdotes from David Sedaris is clever, witty and downright hilarious. This is my first David Sedaris book and it certainly won't be my last.

Among some of the best "Sedaris moments" include: the long arduous yet funny attempts to stop smoking, his obsessions with his parents, what to do when your neighbor is a sex offender, and hilarious attempts to buy a human skeleton.

The book is universally funny and is meant to be read aloud for maximum humor effect. One of the better books I've read this year.
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