Friday, December 11, 2009

You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

by Augusten Burroughs
St. Martin's Press (October 27, 2009)
Genre: Essays; Humor

Summary in a Sentence: 

Augusten Burroughs recounts moments and experiences from seven Christmases, describing how he crafted gingerbread tenements, woke up next to Kris Kringle, and more.

My Thoughts:

Burroughs is back, this time with a Christmas memoir. I first discovered Burroughs about 3 years ago and read every book he had written to date in one month. My friend and I both fell in love with him during the same summer. He is so irreverent and brutally honest. I wrote down pages and pages of quotations as I read Dry and Magical Thinking. Needless to say, I practically peed on myself when I found out he was coming out with another book.

Alas, this memoir starts out rocky for me. Arranged chronologically, his first two or three stories are funny, but not overly so, and something about the first story made me downright uncomfortable. There were great moments, though. Burroughs goes into great detail of his long battle of alcoholism in his memoir Dry, and "Why do you reward me thus" features a Christmas when he goes on a drinking binge and literally wakes up huddled between two honest-to-goodness homeless bums.Or how about waking up next to a fat and dirty Santa in "Ask again later"?

Where Burroughs truly shines is when he is talking about his relationships with George and Dennis. His writing that at times can be crude and completely in your face is immediately tender when talking about those he has loved in the collection's last two stories, "The Best and Only Everything" and "Silent Night." Fans of the irreverent memoir or of Augusten's earlier work will appreciate most of the stories in the collection, especially the last two.

This book counts towards the Four Month Challenge.

Rating: 3/5

Also recommended:

For more funny Christmas tales, check out my Humor for the Holidays post.
For the best of Burroughs, check out Dry or Magical Thinking.

Other Reviews:


Nina said...

I dont know about this book. It sounds okay. Thanks for the review!

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Sounds funny. Good review

brizmus said...

I've been wanting to read a review of this one to see if I should give Burroughs another try. It's weird, but I find his humour lacking - he for some reason just doesn't make me laugh. Even this cover of the book - I find it vulgar and unnecessary.
Meaning finally I will pass on this one.
thanks for the review!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

brizmus~ You're very welcome. Burroughs isn't for everyone, and even I wasn't a huge fan of this particular work.

Unknown said...

That book cover has me totally cracking up. Good review!

Michelle said...


I wanted to write and thank you for the very thoughtful gift that you sent through the Book Blogger's holiday swap! I've only just gotten it because I came home from college today for winter break. Thanks so much for helping me in the process of completing the Alice in Wonderland Challenge! And I LOVE the Jane Austen address book!

Thanks so much! Happy Holidays!


Veens said...

Well that cover is definitely funny. I think I would check out his earlier work and see if his humor works for me!

christa @ mental foodie said...

I didn't get around to review this book (most of my 2009 books didn't get reviewed but I planed to change that in 2010!) but I agree with you completely. After I read Running with Scissors, I just had to read the rest of his books (didn't read his one fiction though). I thought his childhood stories in this book was fun to read, but the middle part was a bit boring. Loved the story with Dennis.

Anonymous said...

I too liked the relationship parts. I like a darker, more serious Augusten. The parts about the gingerbread house etc. I could do without. I'm still a fan. I have Dry to read soon. . . My favorite was A Wolf at the Table.

Anonymous said...

Actually when Burroughs isn't funny, he's at his best and if people want to read another review (I too gave it 3/5 rating) I wrote one back in October when he launched his book tour and if I'm right the book was won from me, but I can't remember. I'm just not popular out here:

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