When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Library (audio)
Description: Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life - having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds, to the most deeply resonant human truths. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I had just finished another audio book and this one was available. I have had mixed results with Sedaris but I figured I'd give this a try.
My Impression: There are some books that really should be listened to instead of read and When You Are Engulfed in Flames is one of them (so is Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler if you were wondering). Quite a bit of this is done as a live performance and that's where Sedaris really delivers. His timing is spot on and there were a number of times where I literally burst out laughing. My favorites were when he bought his boyfriend a skeleton for a gift, when he gave up asking people to repeat things after moving to France and settled with just saying basically okay to everything with incredibly varied results, and the babysitter his parents left him with as a child. His travels with Hugh are often hilarious and I loved listening to him talk about his time in Japan.
Several stories went on far too long and I could've lived without his Princeton graduation speech entirely. There were a number of times that I thought "if I was reading this I'd be annoyed" but in audio form it was entertaining.
If you're familiar with Sedaris you know he's not family friendly and this is no exception. This isn't an audio you want to listen to with small children around since mine at least repeats everything. Sedaris quickly made it onto the list of top 5 people I really don't want to be trapped in an elevator with but I think he'd be okay with that. In fact he'd probably nominate himself. Despite the flaws I really enjoyed listening to this one and look forward to trying more of his books in audio form in the future.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely though I'll probably continue to go the audio route.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes definitely though I would recommend the audio route.