©2004 Island Road, LLC; (P)2004 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
"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)
For fans of Augusten Burroughs, this is a real treat. Snippets of stuff you know from Running with Scissors weaves through his best writing yet in the form of essays about his life, relationships, neuroses, and career. He's a great reader, too, and his words and voice combine to wonderful effect. I laughed out loud a couple times in public while listening on my iPod, and while I must have looked like a wacko, I had a great time.
I ordered the book from Amazon and then found I could get it today (10-5-04) thru Audible. I had to erase David Sedaris from my MP3 player and settled in for a most wondeful night.
If you have not read Mr. B before, this is a funny, with dark tones, great book.
But, if you are like me, I not only read but listened to his all his books and more than once, and this is like a film-buff finding a long, director's cut of his favorite films.
It fills in little corners of his life with such richness of character that you can relate to his stories...who hasn't enrolled in a model school (I flunked an IBM School 'cause I didn't like being on the bus in the morning with commuters) and the Undertaker Story brings to mind a character from "Dry" to whom, for one, I always wanted to hear more about.
Mr. B actually will answer your E-Mail (don't expect a PenPal!) and I asked him why he never mentions his famous relative, William. I never forget his answer "I am not related to him!" (thank God you can't see a person turn red on the internet)
I have pushed his audio's on various people at work and was surprised when the young married ladies (27 - 40) thought he was hilarious.
Read the book and Buy and listen to him reading them. I love "Running With Scissors" I suppose best, but there are a couple of times in "Dry" (usually when I am in heavy traffic!) when I have cried, a lot.
"Magical Thinking" is so much fun and I just love being with him, again.
And now I am wondering when will his next book come out?
By the way, I started listening to this just as I was coming from having my 91 year mother commited to the Pysch Ward. It made me fill much better and more hopeful.
To all those comparing this author to David Sedaris because they are both gay and both write memoirs, please stop. So they are both homosexual and write about their lives -- after that their similarities stop. Anyone who has read Running with Scissors and his followup Dry, understands where this author is coming from. There is a reason why he is darkly funny and considered somewhat into himself. Your perceptions of egotism would change if you knew more about his humor and childhood. Though I didn't think that this was his best work yet, it was very worthy of my time and I enjoyed it. Before you take this one on, make sure you read his other books first.
If you've read his other works, you will see how repetitive he is when discussing his life lessons. I didn't find the material to be fresh. Also his narration is stilted.
If you enjoyed "Dry" and "Running With Scissors" and wished they wouldn't end, this is the book for you. It's a series of vignettes and little stories from his life, all written with his particular blend of dark, funny, self-deprecating narcissism. I can't get enough of it.
That said, this lacks the narrative structure and the visceral satisfaction of his other books. "Running With Scissors" is warped, but it's basically a coming-of age story. "Dry" is a dark story of personal transformation, with characters to care about, etc.
"Magical Thinking" is more like a really good dinner conversation. Some stories have a point, others are just some funny thing that happened. That's just fine with me and his other fans, but if you're not already sold on the guy, don't make this your first listen.
Oh, and one more thing: There's one story where he's really cruel to a mouse and regrets it later. It's pretty hard-core, as mouse-killings go. If you can't handle the grisly death of a mouse, either skip the story or don't get the book. Simple as that.
I was first introduced to Augusten Burroughs with his book "Dry" and enjoyed his self-deprecating sense of humor, but this book is not of the same caliber....I found myself wincing at most of the "funny" anecdotes that he recounts. Additionally, Burrough's narration is at times embarassing, as his ability to emulate his character's voices comes off a bit sophomoric and amatuerish. My suggestion to anyone looking for light, comedic reading to purchase go for anthing by David Sedaris, as he is the definitive master of this genre.
I suppose it's a bit unfair to compare Burroughs to David Sedaris just because they're both gay essayists. But it's impossible not to. Sedaris is genius and I was hoping that Burroughs would be just as good, if only because I've run out of Sedaris books to listen to. Unfortunately, Burroughs doesn't even come close. He readily admits in one of the chapters that he is shockingly self-absorbed. There's no arguing that. It's clear from every story he tells. And in the end, it's difficult to like someone who's so into himself and thus, difficult to like stories told by an unlikeable person. Burroughs tries for sentiment sometimes, but it seems forced and always goes back to him, him, him. The humor is likewise tortured out of the banal stories which just don't deserve telling. And his attempts at self-deprecation are just not convincing given his pervasive egotism. Having said that, some of the reviews here are unfair and come from homophobic people who had no idea what they were getting into. That's not the reason to avoid this audiobook. The reason is you're much better off listening to one of Sedaris' over again.
If you don't know anything about the author or their work, listen to the sample first.
I was looking for something different to listen to and from the reviews it sounded like something I would enjoy, but I didn't find it interesting or funny and when he gleefully described trying to kill a white mouse that had the misfortune of finding itself in his bathtub I was disgusted.
There were some interesting parts like when he was in a Tang commercial as a kid but most were like the story he told about dating a guy who worked at funeral home. They left me thinking "So what?".
The humor, lightness, and content is fresh and easy to listen to.
It did make me literally, laugh out loud.
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