Thursday, August 26, 2010

Augusten Burroughs' "You Better Not Cry"

This is yet another delightful book by Augusten Burroughs. I first picked up his Running with Scissors because I had read his brother's book Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Aspergers. That was an interesting read, but not interesting and entertaining like his brother, Augusten Burroughs.

The two come from a dysfunctional family and reading their books is a Roshomon-type experience, i.e. the same event seen from a different perspective. Very interesting.

This latest book by Bourroughs is an enjoyable collection of short stories related only by the theme of Christmas. They are bitter-sweet funny. They continue the dance-of-many-veils as Burroughs lets you see aspects of his life. He comes across as plagued with problems, but in reality he has managed to make his way through life and is a successful author. His stories are self-centred but wonderfully comic. My favourite story is "Why Do You Reward Me Thus?" with his encounter with Shirley, a down-and-out druggie with the golden voice of an opera singer. The story has the wonderful feel of backing into the unknown with a dash of wholesome human redemption. Very nice.

If you want some light entertainment with a twist, Augusten Burroughs is your man. But -- be warned -- he dances on a precipice. Only if you are able to handle the more bizarre aspects of human existence, will you find this book satisfying.

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