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When You Are Engulfed in Flames

When You Are Engulfed in Flames



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I'm not sure why I bought this book. I barely enjoyed Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I guess I'm a slow learner. I know this author appeals to many readers. His wit is sharp and embarrassing and right on in some instances. As one reviewer put it, "David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art."

But for me, it's not so wildly entertaining. Sometimes it's just gross and whiney. I know he had a terrible childhood. I got that years ago. There was a part of me that just wanted to say, "Get over it" while I was reading. And we know he's gay. I had the same "Get over it" reaction to the intimate details he discloses on that account. Even the essay on his quitting smoking left me cold. I appreciate how hard that is, but really. Did you have to fly to Japan and spend $20,000 to quit smoking? You quit when you want to quit more than you want to smoke - whether you spend $20,000 or not, right?

This is not to say that there aren't redeeming moments in the book. You'll stumble on a line like this every once in awhile. "I've always admired people who can enter a conversation without overtaking it." Isn't that beautiful? But I'm not sure there are enough of those to make it worthwhile. I'm lukewarm to cool on David Sedaris' new bestseller, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

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