(or at least, that's what I like to think)
The author presents 22 biographical short stories with a concrete theme for each of them, so the stories are about a long variety of topics which include his visit to a pathology lab and the subsequent impression about it (and being Sedaris, you can be sure it’s not something boring), his life in New York with a crazy old but sometimes a little bit loveable neighbor, the purchase of a human skeleton in Paris in order to find the perfect gift for his beloved boyfriend, or the trips with this same boyfriend, named Hugh, and the adventure to quit smoking in Tokyo.
I started the reading with curiosity and good expectations, since I had read “Me talk pretty one day” and pretty much love it, but the first short story didn’t quite liked me the way I though it would. Maybe it was the way I felt towards the “guinea warm topic”, which on the other hand wasn’t the main subject on that story. Anyway, my point of view had changed by page 10 when I begun to enjoy it and found that it builds up progressively into a compelling, entertaining and funny bunch of short stories that become a witty and truthful portrait of human character.
When you are engulfed in flames is an original Sedaris in all his good terms, a nice walk by the hand of the author through his memories where absurdity meets tenderness in the coolest ways. Just the literary pill you might need in a gray rainy day to light your spirits without the fear of becoming naïf.
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