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Review: When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris

As I wrote recently, I bought a copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris when he was in town for a reading.

I finished it reading it about a week ago. I rarely read short stories, or humour, but I think I should read more. What’s nice about short stories is I don’t feel the need to finish too quickly. With books, finishing a chapter doesn’t feel like much progress, so I feel pressured to read quickly. Not so with short stories.

I remember reading a review somewhere and someone complained (yeah I know all so vague) that Sedaris’ stories could’ve been about their own family and therefore not worthy of our praise. Hmm. Yeah, my family does some pretty silly things too, but I don’t write about them and even if I tried I’m pretty sure the humour would not get across to all of you. The fact that his stories deal with the types of people and situations with which we are familiar is the very reason why they are enjoyable.

I do admit thought that there were only a few laugh out loud moments, and there were some stories that I just didn’t get. Sometimes I forget to have a sense of humour. Overall it was a good read and a nice introduction to his work (other than the excepts I’ve seen online).

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About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Review: When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris

  1. Ooh! Ooh! I am a big fan of Sedaris. I have “Dress your family in corduroy and denim” on cd. It’s fantastic. I am a big. I’m on the waiting list at the library for this one. I want to read it despite the mixed reviews.

    Posted by Laura | 17 Aug 2008, 10:02 PM
  2. well, if the waiting list is too long you can always borrow mine if you don’t mind that the cover has been nibbled!

    Posted by Jen | 18 Aug 2008, 3:16 AM
  3. well, if the waiting list is too long you can always borrow mine if you don’t mind that the cover has been nibbled!

    Posted by Jen | 18 Aug 2008, 3:16 AM
  4. Oh tks but I get it from Benny lib tonite

    Posted by Laura | 29 Aug 2008, 7:37 PM
  5. Are you kidding…..it has MANY laugh out loud moments. I found myself giggling on the bus, at my office and before bed. Dark and hilarious…fabulous stuff.

    Posted by Anonymous | 14 Oct 2008, 5:41 PM

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  1. Pingback: Satisfying Short Stories « A Canuck Librarian - 7 Sep 2009

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