book review :: dry

Dry: A Memoir
Augusten Burroughs

This is the third (okay fourth) book by Augusten Burroughs I have read. I started with Magical Thinking and then read Running with Scissors. And I followed that pretty closely with Possible Side Effects.

If you are unfamiliar, Augusten Burroughs has had a pretty crazy mixed up childhood. One of the highlights was that his mother turned him over to her psychiatrist (for adoption) when he was a tween – not a baby. And while some might think that would be a saner living environment, they would be wrong. Oh, so wrong.

In this book, Augusten deals with his alcoholism. Despite dropping out of school (around 8th grade, I think), he managed to score a great job with an ad agency. His drinking finally started to catch up with him, and his employer forced him into rehab. And so the story unfolds.

This is a much tamer version of rehab than A Million Little Pieces, which as everyone now knows, was a complete farce. In some ways it almost seems too tame and easy. We have been warned before the title page that while a memoir, names and incidents have been changed, and some of it is made up.

This probably wasn't the best book choice given that I have been a bit out of sorts lately. In my defense, I checked it out from the library. Books like these always bring up stuff. My Mom was in rehab. She referred to it as "Camp Cronin". Most of the folks there were given the choice between there and prison. They stole her shampoo. I still remember sneaking Girl Scout cookies to her. The counselors watched me like I might be sneaking in drugs. Crazy times.

If you liked Burroughs other works, you will probably like this one as well. He does have a way of explaining things. And somehow can make you laugh despite the fact that he is describing his life crumbling around him.

He has a new book coming out at the end of April. It's called A Wolf at the Table: Memoir of My Father.

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4 Responses to book review :: dry

  1. Lauren says:

    I actually just picked up Possible Side Effects last night. It's been sitting in my office in case I needed to kill time at work, and last night was that time. So, while my class was busy filling out paperwork and evaluations and doing a Q&A panel with staff while I sat outside the room, I devoured chapter after chapter. I love his writing and his stories. I can't believe a life like his exists, but I love to read about it, and especially so from his point of view.

  2. HapaLove says:

    Thanks for the book review… this is on my "to read" list. I really liked Running With Scissors – fast, interesting read. He has an uncanny ability to make a really sad, serious topic funny at times and entertaining throughout the book.

  3. chris says:

    This is probably the least funny of his books, although it does have its moments. Surprisingly it didn't move me to tears but I had been warned that this is one where you might want to keep tissues on hand.

  4. chris says:

    He definitely does make for interesting reading.

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