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4.5 out of 5 stars
It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With great wit and gentle grace, Robert Fulgham holds up a mirror so that we may see ourselves and our foiables more clearly. He has a unique ability to point out the treasure of the little things, the common things in life. After reading one of his books, I feel more serene, more appreciative of my blessings, and smile at the memories he has helped me recall. If you have not been "stopping to smell the roses" this book will help you start. Enjoy!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is simliar to ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN in consisting of several dozen short, easily readable, reflective essays. I liked his first book a little better - I thought the overall quality a little higher. There are, however, many fine pieces in this collection (including one commenting on the theme of his first book that is brutally honest). The mood is a bit darker in this second volume, but that is not meant as a perjorative description, it merely means that Fulghum shows a different side to his ponderings. If you liked his first book, you will like this one. If you didn't, then you won't like this one either.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you've read my other reviews, you know I am a HUGE Robert Fulghum fan. He is my mentor - the reason I began writing my first book that got its first contract. This book is almost funnier and better than the one before, if that's even possible, but only almost. This book inspired me and made me think, made me cry, and made me laugh. You can't ask for a better read than that!

The title piece of the book talks about a man who was interviewed by the news for a house fire. The question posed to the man was how the fire, which was in the bedroom, from the mattress, had started. The man had answered that he didn't know how the fire had started, since the bed was in fire when he lay down on it. Mr. Fulghum talks about how we do that, sometimes: lay down on burning beds. This is, of course, a metaphor for us making poor decisions, decisions not in our best interests, when we know this is the case when we're making them.

And that is the best example of what Mr. Fulghum's writing in all his essays and books I've read have been, including this book. It Was on Fire When I lay Down on It is a series of poignant memoir-style essays, each with their own metaphorical 'lesson' or moral to them... some are touching and moving while others are giggle and snort funny, but all of them speak to a bigger picture or a deeper meaning if you're willing to look beyond the implied. Well worth the read.

I agree with some about his attitude about dogs. I am a dog lover. My Jake is my son, my furry fur-legged brat dog and I love him dearly, but I can't see discrediting an entire man and his entire library or work and contributions to literature, reading, faith and humor just because his opinions differ from mine on one point. The stories he tells are not graphic in nature about his dislike of dogs, so I take those with a grain of salt and move on to the other more poignant things with which I can relate. I will never agree 100% with anyone on everything, and this is simply a point of division in mind between me and Mr. Fulghum. To stop reading him for his personal opinions when he is doing no physical damage (it's just opinion), is something I'm not wont to do.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must confess that, when I heard that this was a bestselling collection of inspirational anecdotes and essays by a minister, I was prepared to be skeptical. I was expecting oversimplifications, sentimentality and proselytizing.
In fact I found myself moved to laughter and sadness.
It is indeed written in simple language, but it is the simplicity of the clever writer. Fulghum quotes from Horace in Latin and from the Septuagint in Greek, and describes attending a talk on chaos theory at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, but makes it all sound plain and easy.
He mentions "Apocalypse Now" but not the Book of Revelations. He is a long way from original sin and Calvinism. I think the central message is that there is much good in people and you can bring it out by being patient and being nice to them. I was almost convinced.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was my first introduction to Robert Fulghum and meeting this humorous man was truely enjoyable. Like many personal accounts on life, there were things that he writes about I found touched me deeply and others that were just interesting. It was a pleasure to take a peek into his world of "show and tell" and compare it to my own. Robert Fulghum's perspective is healthy and positive and he even redeems himself with the dog population in the credits at the back of the book. His humor added a dimension to some of his tales that made them truely memorable "lessons of life." A book to make you laugh and cry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started reading this book on an airplane...and in some ways I wish I hadn't. I was laughing and laughing at the sheer unexpectedness of this book, shaking the entire row with my convulsions. I think some were trying to figure out if I were laughing or crying, as I had tears running down my cheeks. The stories were a total surprise to me, for I didn't buy this book for the humor. I actually bought it because a friend had told me one extremely meaningful story out of the book, regarding the meaning of life. In essence, this story-ette is about a priest and his meaning of life, and a small mirror...he believes the meaning of life is to bring light to dark places, a game he used to play when he was a kid with sunlight and a mirror. That game has become a metaphor for his life. So I bought the book for that reason, for a few little pages. But now 1/2 way through the book, it has entertained me way more than expected.

The book is written in article form, with each story-ette lasting 3 to 7 pages, so it makes for excellent bedtime reading. FYI, this book and the writing remind me of Bill Bryson, and his writing style.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I extensively mark books that move me, motivate me, inspire me, and instruct me. I have virtually no marks in this book. It reminds me of the communicators who know how to play with an audience's emotions, but when they're gone, there's no substance. This book will move you emotionally, but it doesn't really leave you any better off in the long run.
Fulghum has the gift of communication. He can tickle your emotions, but he just doesn't say much when he's through. His book is full of personal anecdotes. Nothing wrong with that, per se. A lot of storytellers have made a fine living that way. If that's what you want, escapism, then you'll find it in this book. It's just that Fulghum and I apparently don't have the same worldview or appreciation for the same things.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book has touched me more than any other one I've ever read. I sometimes refer to it as my personal bible. Fulghum's ideas on the simple things in life always give me hope that life isn't as bad as I sometimes think it is. This book will make you think about things in a different way. Personally, I carry it with me wherever I go and use the stories to apply to some of the hardest subjects in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stories about real life that make you laugh out loud and put a smile on your face about how good life can be if you look at things the right way. lot's of quick little stories that are snapshots of goodness.
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on February 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
The jack of all trades, Fulghum, says its a continuation of "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten". With his live and let live, universalist world view he shares his observations and opinions of every day life. Each chapter is a short story with a special meaning, and usually brings a chuckle. Many are personal; subjects include: scientific uncertainties, parents, blood, public affection, marriage, religion, lemonade, travel, customs, blessings in disguise, and even yucky stuff----thanks mothers. The book is a good release for every day tension. He is still pondering, "what is my occupation?"

Wish you well
Scott
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