Audiobook Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Title: When You Are Engulfed in Flames
Author: David Sedaris
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, humor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: David Sedaris
First line: My friend Patsy was telling me a story.

This is the perfect review for Audiobook Week, because there simply is no other way to experience David Sedaris’s work. Yes, I know a lot of people simply read his books, but those people are missing out on the utter brilliance that is Sedaris reading his own work. The man is hysterical, and his comic timing is so perfect because he knows his material like no one else can.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames is as irreverent, off-the-wall, at times slightly obscene, and quirky as you could want in a book of essays. From contemplating making coffee with the water in a vase of flowers to agreeing to unknown medical procedures because of his failure to learn rudimentary French to the dilemma of having spit a cough drop into the lap of a woman sleeping next to him on a plane – Sedaris takes the little things that happen to him and mines every drop of comic potential. Along the way, he makes the reader laugh at his or her humanity and the sheer absurdity of life.

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22 Responses to Audiobook Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    This was my first Sedaris and is one of my favorites (the other is Me Talk Pretty One Day). OMG I LOVED that story about the cough drop!!!! In any of his collections, not all the stories are funny, but I found that I belly-laughed through most of this one. And you are right, the audio is the only way I would experience him!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – this one was definitely more heavy on the humor than others, but he always makes me laugh a few times with each collection. πŸ™‚ Since Natalie and I have been learning French this year, I loved the one about how he kept telling everyone in France “D’accord” – which means “okay” – and then getting himself into sticky situations, like at the doctor’s office. So funny!

  2. Sheila (Book Journey)
    Twitter: bookjourney

    Ok – adding to my list! This sounds fantastic!

  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    I love David Sedaris on audio!!

  4. jenn aka the picky girl
    Twitter: picky_girl

    Gah! I love this man’s comic brilliance. I own his books but have listened to him as well. He’s genius.

  5. Susan says:

    this sounds funny … and like it would be a good listen, thanks!

  6. Patti Smith
    Twitter: PattiRSmith

    I needed something to download for our family loaded down in the car on the way to the mountains weekend ahead of us and you’ve just saved me!! Thanks…downloading now! πŸ™‚

  7. I am so glad you enjoyed this one, Carrie. I’m listening to my first Sedaris book, Me Talk Pretty One Day, but haven’t been able to make it too far yet. I can’t say it’s especially funny (to me) yet, but I am enjoying it nonetheless.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – He isn’t always as funny, but definitely always entertaining. πŸ™‚

  8. I tried once to read him, and thought I just didn’t like David Sedaris. Then I listened to him and now I love him.

  9. Kathleen says:

    Now I’ve said that I don’t do audiobooks but Sedaris is the one author who I have heard you have to read via audio and it sounds like you agree.

  10. Colleen
    Twitter: booksnyc

    I am listening to this one right now! I agree with you – audio is the best way to enjoy Sedaris. I read a few of his books and then listened to one and realized that was the only way I wanted to enjoy his books. I have donated his books from my shelves and downloaded his titles on audio!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Colleen – me, too! I will only listen to his books on audio now. πŸ™‚

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