jamiebowen0306 (jamiebowen0306) wrote,

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I finished "When you're Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris today.

Anyone who lives in the US and listens to NPR (the closest American equivalent to the BBC) will have heard of David Sedaris. He is a regular contributor to "This American Life," a show hosted by Ira Glass that looks one aspect of American life each week. The show can vary from the the deep (how people adapt to grief in their lives) to the humourous (what happens to teens in the run up to their prom). The show is segmented, with a number of stories told. Sedaris is used in the show when he has written some story about the topic at hand. His stories typically cover some aspect of his life (though I suspected they have been "amped up" for effect) and are read in the form of a monologue.

This book is a collection of essays that talk about aspects of his life. They are lightly amusing tales, but I don't think it's necessarily a good thing to read the stories in quick succession. The problem is that if you read one story it can be funny. If you read two they can be humourous. Read 3 or more in succession and I suspect that you're going to think he's whiny.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book, just a book that works best in short doses. Incidentally, the title comes from those terribly polite (and poorly translated) instructions that you see in Japan. It told him what to do if his hotel room was on fire.
Tags: book, book review, review

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