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Publisher's Summary

From the million-copy best-selling author of Running with Scissors comes Augusten Burrough's most provocative collection yet.

  • This audiobook is approved by those seeking pleasure, escape, amusement, enlightenment, or general distraction. It is not approved to treat disorders such as eBay addiction or incessant blind dating.
  • In some studies, people reported inappropriate, convulsive laughter, a tingling sensation in the limbs, and sudden gasping. Fewer than 1 percent reported narcolepsy.
  • This audiobook has been shown to be especially helpful to those with parents, grandparents, life partners, and incontinent dogs.
  • Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to this program, until you know what effects it may have on you.
  • Ask your doctor about Possible Side Effects.
©2006 Island Road, LLC (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"No one is funnier or more perceptive." (Publishers Weekly)
"Irreverence done to an amusing turn." (Booklist)

Featured Article: The Best LGBTQIA+ Listens by Queer Authors


We scoured the LGBTQIA+ canon to present some of our favorite queer-focused listens of all time. Inclusivity and representation are among the most powerful and positive aspects of literature. Here are some of the best LGBTQIA+ listens available, from lesbian literature to bisexual and trans stories. And because we know that authenticity is important, our selections are all stories focused on gay characters, written by gay authors.

What listeners say about Possible Side Effects

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 01-18-10

Clever title, amusing publishers summary

But wow, what a let down. The publishers summary was more cleverly written than the book itself. I really should have read the reviews and not just checked the rating before forking out the audi-credit for this one.

I had a friend download this for something funny to listen to one night during a long car trip. After 2 short stories and several half-stories that we just couldn't make it through, we decided instead to drive the rest of the radio-waveless wilderness in complete silence. It was that bad. Eventually we found a garbled classic-country music station and both felt better about the whole experience.

To start off, the author states that Some of the events happened as stated, others were expanded and changed. Some of the individuals portrayed are composites of more than one person and many names and identifying characteristics have been changed as well. I wasn't sure if this was just dry humor but with those restrictions up front, I thought, This has to be an outrageous book! This author is published and successful and because he is making something up out of nothing or almost nothing, I expected a lot more than I got. The stories I listened to reminded me of a conversation with a pathological liar talking about what 'interesting' (i.e. boring) and nearly unbelievable chain of events happened to him last weekend. I can enjoy a book about the nothings of life, but this was ridiculous.
I have a couple years worth of titles from Audible.com and so far this is the only one that if I could, I would ask for a refund. This is also the first one I've ever written a review for, but maybe it will help someone.
I did not make it through the whole book! This is my opinion after listening to a little less than half the book. There may be some gem in there that I missed. If you read it and love it, please write a review.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Everything it was advertised to be

The cover claims not to listen while you operate machinery, etcetera, etcetera, and the book actually lives up to its dust jacket. It was as entertaining as it claimed to be, though it wasn't packed with hilarity it was entertaining and moving in some part. I had no idea when I bought it that it was a collection of short stories and I usually don't get into books like that, but once I got into listening to this book, I thought it was definitely worth the price.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Unless you're gay....

I thought this was going to be a humorous memoir... well it was... sort of... but I tired of the neuroses and self loathing. There were some funny things, but I had to quit. I hate to not finish a book but this one was too much for me.... Bill Bryson he is not.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

downloaded on a whim

I didn't know what to expect with this book and what I got was the rambling of a gay alcoholic hypochondriac. Fortunately alot of it was very funny and interesting. I found the beginning a bit slow but it got better a few chapters in stayed that way for the remainder.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Expected More

I decided to try one of Burroughs books on Audible to change things up a bit. I've read 3 other of his books and enjoyed them. I guess I was expecting a better narration considering the author is the narrator. But unfortunately I found his voice very annoying. Mostly when he was "doing voices" of other characters, it was pretty obnoxious. It didn't feel like he was a very natural reader...meaning the flow of the story was strange & irritating. He's not a great "actor" as far as expressing the dialogue naturally. And certain inflections of words made it seem like he had never read the book before. I think I'll stick to reading his books myself instead of listening to them from now on.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Second Book By Author

Also listened to Lust and Wonder. Highly recommend that book.

This is the second book I’ve listened to Mr. Burroughs read. This man......hoo boy......Augusten Burroughs is by far the most depraved author I believe I’ve ever experienced. In this book he refers to himself as a Trashy Memoirist. Trashy does not begin to describe this work of Godless Filth.

Perhaps this is because Mr. Burroughs, with his terrible honesty, scathing wit, and lighthearted delivery, is painting a self-portrait. One so open and real that you see yourself in the subject’s mischievous smile.

Burroughs’s work allows you, a total stranger, to look at him. Fully. Inside and out. He allows you to peer into parts of his life that are at times terribly unflattering and unpleasant...and somehow you laugh right along with him. And I laughed. A lot.

Enjoy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Laughing out loud throughout entire book!

With each book I read from this author I find myself feeling a connection and wanting more! I’m on my 6th Audible book now! Keep us laughing and smiling Augusten! The world needs you!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

More of the same, but that's not so bad.

Similar to Augusten's Magical Thinking, this is a collection of short stories from his life. Some are pointless, some are mildly interesting, and others are really good. His narration and the quality of the writing is excellent, as usual. Often his stories make me remember simple things from my childhood, like sitting in class and spelling "Shell Oil" on a calculator.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thank You

I stumbled upon You by chance and I'm so glad you take pride and the time to read your own books. You are a fun writer and one of few that gets me off guard laughing Would love to meet, I'm also in recovery 2.5 years. In Phoenix and teach English. I wish I would write, you inspire me, your flow is melodically comical and you do a great job recreating all your events. Ok you prolly don't even read these, Tinea Rose 🌹 6022927873

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

There he goes again!

Does Augusten Burroughs write anything that ISNT great???
The only thing better than this read is hearing Augusten , in his voice, via Audible. I read and laugh because this man and his writings are a true portrait of dysfunction and fun !
You wont be disappointed with this book, its REAL!!!! I would give him 5 stars but " Dry" is the best works by Mr.Burroughs.😁

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Swirlypepper
  • 06-04-08

So funny

I really enjoyed this book, the way he writes is so funny and his melodramatic statements make you love him ('was this special premium extra-ply tissue? No? it seemed British people ALWAYS use tissues this soft!') as do some of the stories he tells (his fear of the tooth fairy). I also liked that each chapter was a pretty much unrelated story so dipping in and out meant you lost no continuity.

The only downside is that the narrator sounds bored when he reads, which detracts from the clever writing. Shame, since he's the author too and should have been more enthusiastic

2 people found this helpful