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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings


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  • Overall

His best yet!

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ami
  • monterey, CA, USA
  • 01-08-05

Read the others first, then judge.......

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jack
  • oakland, CA, USA
  • 10-08-04

He Tells It As It Is!

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.

34 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ciara
  • Sunnyside, NY, USA
  • 03-12-07

A bit repetitive

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great listen for the dedicated fan

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I just don't know

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mary
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 11-15-04

Makes you long for Sedaris...

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 10-18-04

I learned a valuable lesson from this Audiobook.

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?".

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • charlotte
  • san antonio, TX, United States
  • 03-08-12

Burroughs Best

What made the experience of listening to Magical Thinking the most enjoyable?

The humor, lightness, and content is fresh and easy to listen to.

What did you like best about this story?


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

It did make me literally, laugh out loud.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • L. northover
  • 09-23-10

really funny

these short stories are so funny, great on the Ipod as a treat when doing something boring. one of the only audiobooks I listen to over again. Made me laugh out loud!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • 02-07-06

Great Book

Bought this book last month and listened to it within the space of two days. This book is comic and interesting. It is honest and makes for great listening especially the chapter on Augusten's cleaning lady. A must!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Helen
  • 02-19-12

Much of The Same

After the successful way his previous books landed, I was really looking forward to Magical Thinking from Augusten Burroughs. Its the same witty and emotional ride as previous volumes, a real life account from his troubled past and present laid out for us in the rawest descriptions possible, however, by the time I got half way through this one I started to waver somewhat because of the style repetition. Its still a good read and listen, very funny in places, sad and shocking in others, completely inspiring. I would recommend to anyone reading all the Augusten Burroughs volumes to not do what I did and listen to them all one after the other, break them up a bit maybe listen to a couple of other books in between each one then they wont become a bore for you as they are brilliantly written and narrated, I loved them all but listening to them all one after each other made the experience not so enjoyable for me personally.