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April 7, 2009 / merlisser

When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

I checked When You Are Engulfed in Flames out of the local library along with some other books.

David and his sister Amy are what you would call “eccentric” people. They are from North Carolina. David is gay and writes funny stories based on his life. Actually, I think they may be true or based on true events— similar to an online journal or a “diary style blog” Of course, his writings happen to be funnier and are published in magazines and book form. Well some of them are funnier. That time Pamie and AB Chao had Vince run over the fish was pee in the pants funny— funnier than Sedaris. Or the time, AB Chao ran over some lady. Yes she hit somebody with her car. Yes I’m going to hell for laughing about it.

Ahem… anyway. So when Sedaris scores, he scores big. You will laugh so hard and think he’s the greatest story teller ever. When he’s not, you’re looking at the last page of the book to see how much longer you have to read.

This book was the second. Not to say that there aren’t some funny stories in here or that it’s not worth reading. It’s just not one of his best and some of the tales/essays had me skimming and seeing how much more I had left of the book before I get to turn it back in to the library. Not a good sign.

Maybe its’ because in the South, telling stories about the goofy stuff you did is part of the cultural landscape. It’s what we do in the country. Sit on the porch, drinking tea (or Coke… I hate tea), listening to Uncle Glen talk about what happened at the Piggly Wiggly this morning when this one woman bought six boxes of tampons.

If you’re a fan read it. If not, try one of his other books first. He really is funny. This just isn’t his best.

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