Wow. What a ride, opinion-wise. There is a lot to say about this book, believe it or not. My opinion of the book kept changing as I listened to the stories. (I listened to it on CD.) Here are my reactions in order:
#1 More often than not it is a huge mistake to let the author read his own work, and this is a case in point. Burroughs' voice is so annoying in the first couple of stories that it drove me crazy. Try saying "stringy strands" as s-l-o-w-l-y as you possibly can, and you will get the idea. Now try the same thing with "cottony confection." Eeeek. (but see #4.)
#2 Based on the first two stories in the book, my view of Burroughs' childhood and his family was completely altered. If you have read "Running with Scisssors" you will probably have come away with a less than positive view of his parents (that's an understatement, duh). His mother, a narcisstic, drug-addled wanna-be artist signed over her parental rights to a eccentric (understatement) child abuser, and his father allowed this to happen. However, after you read the first two stories in this book, you will suddenly feel much more sympathetic to his folks, and understand why it must have been a huge relief to get little Augusten out of their live. God, what a brat.
#3 I was loving the set-up of the third story, in which the author (Spoiler Alert) wakes up hungover in a hotel room and comes to realize he slept with Santa, but unfortunately, the author takes the narrative too far, and it goes from wickedly funny to just a little sick.
#4 I loved the fourth story. It is a Christmas story that I will never forget. If you are debating whether to read (or listen to) this book, start with the fourth story. He creates images I will never forget, and he started to sound okay, like he got into his reading rhythm at last.
#5 Enjoyed the last two stories. Nice to hear where he is now (or was) in his life after reading "Running..." and "Wet" although it is a little sad to see he has transformed into half of a materialistic DINK couple. Oh well.
There you have it - a stream of consciousness review! Don't avoid this book, but be prepared to have some strong opinions as you read (or listen). Merry Christmas to one and all!
I liked this book a lot. It's short, with short chapters such as "Clause and Effect" - but the whole book is not all knee-slapping laughs. Although some of the stories brought me to tears by laughing, a few of them made me misty because they were simple and sweet. Augusten is just so gifted drawing in the reader to his raw emotions. Can't wait for his next book release in 2012!
I love Augusten Burroughs, but this was not one of his finer efforts. Additionally, he gives it a strange, trying-so-hard-to-be-heavy read, much like "A Wolf At the Table". Can't hold a candle to "Running With Scissors" or "Magical Thinking".
Not David Sedaris funny, but funny all the same. Burroughs is able to blend humor into his most gut wrenching memories. I give him props had I lived most of the things he talks about, I would've done everything in my power not to ever let anyone know they ever happened. But God bless him, Burroughs writes them down for all the world to read. I especially loved reading about how he and George met absolutely beautiful.