Another Review at MyShelf.Com

When You are Engulfed in Flames

by David Sedaris
read by the author

      David Sedaris gives us a new collection of comic essays called When You are Engulfed in Flames. Performed by Sedaris himself, he pokes fun at everything from crossword puzzles to his own homosexuality. Profanity aside, the piece on the crossword puzzle was hilarious as he explained how to release anger filling in the puzzle with your own opinion of the target of your anger without creating a scene.

Another essay dealt with shopping with one of his sisters. Being small, he has trouble finding clothes in his size in the men's department. His sister lead him to the women's department. That proved to be quite entertaining. Then, he does what many small people do, including me. He heads for the kidsí aisle. You are not alone, Mr. Sedaris.

Another essay deals with what happens when he coughs on an airplane. He gets a cough drop, but a mishap sends the lozenge careening off the back of the seat in front of him and into the lap of the unsuspecting passenger next to him, a lady in cut off jeans who is sound asleep. Of course the lozenge sticks ...

Then he describes how he quit smoking in Tokyo. This is written in diary style, so we know exactly how he feels every day through the entire ordeal. Along the way, we hear about his Japanese language classes and shopping without being able to read the language.

Many of these essays are extremely funny especially those where there was no profanity. Most of them are like this. It was so jarring when he used it, I wondered why he did it.

All in all, When You Are Engulfed in Flames is good for more than few laughs. It proved, for me, at least, to be a generous dose of the best medicine. Try it for yourself.

The Book

Hachette Audio
June 3, 2008
Audio book / CDs
1600241824 / 978-1600241826
Essays / General Humor
More at
NOTE: Contains profanity
Excerpt link is to book edition excerpt, no audio sample available.

The Reviewer

Jo Rogers
Reviewed 2008
© 2008