When you are engulfed in flames

“Never fall asleep in a dumpster, never underestimate a bee, never drive a convertible behind a flat bed truck, never get old, never get drunk near a train, and never, under any circumstance, cut off your air supply while masturbating.”

All this sounds like great advice, especially if you are David Carridine, although maybe he hadn’t read Sedaris’ sound advice or just hadn’t gotten around to reading this book before thinking that autoerotic ashyixiation in a wardrobe in Bangkok was a good idea.

I read this book, simply because it was referenced in something else I was reading (I can’t remember what, clearly that had less of an impact, but I remember it was something about a spider and it referenced the essay “April in Paris”).

I didn’t really know what to expect as I downloaded the book on to my iPad, but as I started reading I was met with a series of essays about excerpts and musings from Sedaris’ life.

You are swiftly introduced to an insight in to his childhood, drug abuse, various jobs, his travels and much more.  High in humour and an ability to interpret his life succinctly which makes the read uplifting and welcoming.  I instantly warmed to the style of writing.  It comes across as if you are chatting to an old friend, who is regaling you with his past.

The essays do jump around a little bit, but this just adds to the feeling someone just telling you about themselves.  

I love reading about his relationship with his partner Hugh.  This particular book has quite a focus on Hugh.  I particularly like “keeping up” where Sedaris talks about how Hugh walks much quicker than he does and he is constantly trying to keep up.  I also really like “Memento Mori” where he decides to buy Hugh a skeleton.

The humour within each essay is so matter of fact it verges on dead pan, and I am not ashamed to say that after reading this book I went out and brought several others, including “Let’s explore diabetes with owls”. 

Now, I have read many reviews of Sedaris’ writing (I think I may have a literary crush) and it ranges from many people who love his writing to those who feel if you have read one of his books you have read them all.  Which leads me to the conclusion that he may be a little bit like marmite.  You either love him or you’re fairly ambivalent to him.  So, all I can suggest is pick up this one as I think it is a great way to introduce yourself to his style and see what you think.


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