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Magical Thinking: True Stories | [Augusten Burroughs]

Magical Thinking: True Stories

A contest of wills with a deranged cleaning lady. The execution of a rodent carried out with military precision and utter horror. Telemarketing revenge. A different kind of "roof work". Dating an undertaker who drives a mini-van. This is the fabric of Augusten Burroughs's life: a collection of true stories that are universal in their appeal yet unabashedly intimate, stories that shine a flashlight into both dark and hilarious places.
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Publisher's Summary

A contest of wills with a deranged cleaning lady. The execution of a rodent carried out with military precision and utter horror. Telemarketing revenge. A different kind of "roof work". Dating an undertaker who drives a mini-van. This is the fabric of Augusten Burroughs's life: a collection of true stories that are universal in their appeal yet unabashedly intimate, stories that shine a flashlight into both dark and hilarious places. With Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs goes where other memoirists fear to tread.

©2004 Island Road, LLC; (P)2004 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

"This collection showcases Burroughs's sharp, funny and sometimes brilliant writing....Burroughs's smooth prose, peppered with charming and awkward moments, is occasionally reminiscent of David Sedaris and David Rakoff. But he's no imitator of those essayists. Rather, Burroughs ambles toward insight in a continual state of self-examination and just happens to have peculiar adventures along the way." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (286 )
5 star
 (114)
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 (81)
3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.0 (83 )
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (80 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-16-06 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Little Magic"

    This wasn't quite as good as Running with Scissors. It was well read and kept my interest.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. D Strother Potomac, MD United States 09-27-05
    C. D Strother Potomac, MD United States 09-27-05 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "very good; very funny"

    I really like this author. I would say that not all of these short stories are as good as his best work, there is plenty here that is excellent, and most are well-worth a listen. Frequently very funny and observational, and the writing is quite good. A very nice style, many intriging turns of phrases. I would say that these stories are lighter in subject matter for the most part that his full length books. I would sure buy, in an instant, whatever he next publishes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 05-30-05
    Jennifer 05-30-05 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a waste"

    In general, I'm a fan of anyone willing to do a self-depricating commentary on society and one's place it it. As I sat listening to this book, I was more and more digusted by the author. Not in an "eww, that's gross (giggle)" kind of digust, but in an "oh my god, who did this guy sleep with to get someone to allow him to endulge himself in print and now audio like this and get paid for it?" Was publishing him done on a dare? Was this done just as evidence for someone who met him and tired of telling people "You will just not believe this guy" after retelling one of his stories.
    The performance is a flat, stilted "I'm reading aloud for the first time" tone. Even the poor delivery of this sad text can't be blamed on anyone but the author himself.
    The story of finding a mouse in the bathtub and the grueling detail of trying to kill it, including checmically blinding it, but not killing it, watching it panic, then scalding it with hot water and trying to drown it, but not killing it, watching it panic, and finding inner pleasure in this activity is just revolting. It goes on and on, story after story. It I can't believe how much I do not like this guy. A sad rip-off of David Sedaris and David Rakoff this was a waste of my money and my time. I kept listening, but found nothing that could make up for the rest of it. What a waste.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dutch Nebraska 10-28-04
    Dutch Nebraska 10-28-04 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sedaris Lite"

    Augusten Burroughs tells many of the same kind of offbeat, confessional anecdotes as David Sedaris, but Burroughs' self-absorbed tales do not have the same insight or poignancy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Racine, WI, USA 10-18-04
    Jeff Racine, WI, USA 10-18-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NOT worth the listen."

    This book was supposed to be funny and insightful. After about an hour listening to such boring dribble as what he would like to have done to his body if he were to get a sex change, and how he got a blowjob by an undertaker, I shut it off and deleted it from my library. Some people might find this entertaining but to me it's just tiresome. I didn't laugh once during the hour and a half I forced myself to listen to it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Br|hlGermany 05-28-08
    Tim Br|hlGermany 05-28-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disgusting"

    It's very very rare that I dislike an author as much as the repugnant Augusten Burroughs. The culmination is his gleeful description of slowly torturing a mouse to death, which he clearly expects his readers to sympathize with and find amusing. This allegedly true story alone should be enough grounds to have him institutionalized -- along with his crimes against the human language, humor and general human decency.

    Burroughs is barely literate, cannot narrate to save his life and is about as funny as a bare concrete wall painted pink. His many stories about his childhood make it clear that he has always been completely obnoxious, it isn't a quality he has acquired along the way.

    A creepy, nasty, psychopathic book.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn M. Kasarda Marana, AZ USA 03-25-06
    Dawn M. Kasarda Marana, AZ USA 03-25-06 Member Since 2008

    Happy_Dawn

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A time I remember"

    Magical Thinking is my first exposure to Augusten Burroughs. I enjoyed his chronicle of autobiographical stories, starting from elementary school (where a unexpected event becomes the inputus into a future advertising career; to enact his own revenge) to the present time (sharing his philosophy of the power of "the Baby Jesus" and "the holy cow"); excluding the periods that he focuses on in other books. Burroughs own "magical" thinking makes him ideal in telling these stories, since in my x-generation, people tend to be narcisistic, in addition to lacking a certain degree of emotional intelligence and moral rectitude. Burroughs' perspective is a product of our time; his life stories are wonderfully facinating and kind of pathetic at the same time. I really loved this book. I think other readers who aren't put off by sometimes raw content may be disturbed yet delightfully charmed by Augusten Burroughs' Magical Thinking.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Basel, Switzerland 01-11-05
    Lisa Basel, Switzerland 01-11-05 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It seemed like an eternity"

    I suspect it's necessary to be a thirty-something gay man to find this book remotely interesting. For me, it was neither witty nor amusing. It was a collection of anecdotes that left me thinking, 'So what!' I wish I had listened to the sample first. The author's whiny, effeminate voice drove me to distraction. Maybe his other books are better, but this was my first, and last, that I'll get of his.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Phoenix, AZ, United States 09-09-12
    Jeff Phoenix, AZ, United States 09-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Not worth your time"

    This book is good for a few laughs, but not worth 8 hours of your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rpnotme 07-02-12
    rpnotme 07-02-12
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    "Very entertaining!"
    If you could sum up Magical Thinking in three words, what would they be?

    Witty, sarcastic, tragic


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This is a very funny book, although, sometimes I want to make Augusten go stand in the corner.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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