©2003 Augusten Burroughs; ©2003 by Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
"Mr. Burroughs remains ebulliently glib when it's useful, as befits his advertising skills....[He] remains adept at mixing comedy and calamity." (The New York Times)
"Like the alcohol he so enjoys, Burroughs' story of getting dry will go straight into your bloodstream and leave you buzzing, exhilarated, and wiped out...this memoir operates on a high level of involvement and suspense." (Kirkus Reviews)
"[A] wrenching, edifying journey...with the added benefit of being really entertaining." (The New York Times Book Reviews)
"Harrowing yet hilarious personal encounter....His performance blends self-deprecating black humor with wise-cracking confidence. His natural wit and charm keep the listener rooting for his success." (AudioFile)
Tales of substance abuse treatment are starting to become their own subgenre: Carolyn Knapp's "Drinking: A Love Story" and Pete Hamill's "A Drinking Life: A Memoir" come to mind, as does the film "28 Days." Augusten Burroughs' new book is a brilliant addition to this field, outclassing many other entries with its clever wit, ever present sense of irony, and hysterical humor. It's an excellent read even if you're not particularly interested in this topic, picking up the boy we've worried about since "Running with Scissors." He compares to David Sedaris, but wins hands down because he is authentic and faces the pain in his life with more than just sarcasm. I can't wait to see where else his writing career will take him.
This is especially appropriate for gays in recovery, by the way, although there's nothing in it that won't apply to all of us. This edition is brilliantly read by the author.
My mother was a recovering alcoholic and took me to her AA meetings when I was ten years old, back in 1952. Augusten Burroughs attended his first AA meetings in the mid 1990s, over forty years later. Listening to his book, "Dry: A Memoir", I was amazed how little AA has changed over the years. Even the Serenity Prayer as remained a mainstay: "God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Yes, "Dry" is funny but it deals with a potentially tragic subject. Virtually everyone has an addiction or two. For most it's an ingrained habit, such as coffee, talking too much or the Internet. These are tension relievers and not life threatening. But then there are alcohol and drugs. These can be killers.
For most readers, "Dry" is an entertaining romp through Burroughs' life style, his rehab, AA and beyond. The story is well written and narrated by Burroughs himself. I suspect there are some readers who have a substance abuse problem and the book's message could very well save their lives. I highly recommend "Dry" as a fun read. Likewise, I recommend "Dry" to anyone needing an introduction to AA.
Burroughs does a great job of narrating a hair-raising story of excess and addiction and eventually, success, at fighting addiction. I liked it better than his earlier memoir, Running with Scissors, which, while true, was a downright horrifying story of child neglect, abuse and insanity. I think his voice and style have matured since Running. I enjoyed listening to the book and was sorry when it ended.
I could not stop listening. As a writer, I'm not sure I could ever pen an account as personal and self aware as Dry. And Burroughs' candor and veracity seem to be what other readers often call into question. "No one could possibly be this messed up," I hear again and again. True or not, it's a pretty stunning piece of work. Anyone who has struggled with addiction can take two things away from this story. One, the typical way we deal with these problems don't always work — just the opposite, in fact. And two, very few people can hit rock bottom and come back like the author.
I laughed outloud as I read the first chapters and alternated laughing and crying through the meat of the book. Burroughs brings a crisp reality to the process of addiction and recovery, but also a truthful hilarity. As one who works in addictions, I had to laugh at myself and our proces and had to stand in awe of how accurate his portrayal of the pain and reality was. I highly recommend "Dry" to anyone who needs a ride through the entire spectrum of emotions and an introduction to the reality of addiction and recovery. (For those who might ask about the skipped year....one cannot describe the first year of real recovery. It just doesn't translate!)
My first impression of this was that it was not as well-written as "Running with Scissors." (I heard that this was written first, even though it comes later chronologically, so "Scissors" may be a more mature work.) I very much warmed up to it, though. There are priceless descriptions of alcoholic craving, of the regrets and failures that feel impossible to face up to, and of the moment when one faces the pain, which is the first step toward recovery. As another reviewer stated, alcoholics/addicts will recognize it all, while others will learn something about the disease. Another reviewer stated that he emphasized his gayness and spent a lot of time talking about his sexual feelings; this was not the case. There were places where the writing didn't grab me, but the treasures scattered throughout make this an easy recommendation.
This book was just great. If you love an alcoholic in recovery, you should listen to this book. If you are an alcoholic or addict in recovery, you have already lived it but you should listen to it anyway.
My first Burroughs and as it turns out, all of his books are excellent!
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