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Magical Thinking
Magical Thinking
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Augusten Burroughs continues his series of memoirs with this wild collection of stories. Here Burroughs confesses to various outrageous thoughts, including his desire to murder his cleaning lady and an obsession with becoming a transsexual.
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ISBN-13: 9780312315955
ISBN-10: 0312315953
Publication Date: 10/1/2005
Pages: 288
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 270

3.9 stars, based on 270 ratings
Publisher: Picador
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Magical Thinking on + 149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I found this collection of short stories about the author’s life somewhat amusing, though I don’t think I got quite the shock value Burroughs intended. Some of the stories had me chuckling, but others I found myself simply saying so what. I found him to be extremely vain and shallow, and fortunately he sees himself with these qualities too so he wasn’t deluding himself which made me feel better about him. (I really dislike shallow people but I suppose I can stand them a bit more when at least they realize how shallow they are.)

His story about magical thinking really rang true though. There are no coincidences, and if you put enough energy into your thoughts and desires, you can affect change in the world around you. It’s one of the premises of many earth-based religions. Though he approached the subject as if everyone thought he was crazy because he believed it. His exact beliefs about baby Jesus and a cow though, that was pretty cute. But again, each of us is entitled to envision divinity in our own manner, like different facets of a diamond, all paths to the same thing, and all that…

I remember also thinking, while I was reading this, that though he had a f@%#ed-up life, and did some wacky things, my own life would probably be just as comedic and shocking were I to put all my past experiences into a book. I had my own strange oral surgery experience, a somewhat similar rodent/rat incident, and my own way of dealing with door-to-door Jehovah Witnesses that seems to come up at every party I attend. But this journal entry isn’t about my own experiences; I bring it up only to make the point that a lot of these stories didn’t strike me as strange as they may have others possibly because I’ve had just as strange experiences in my own life.

That said, though I found the book interesting enough to continue reading all the way through, I think it was about half way that I began to find them getting a bit more dull. Again, most likely just the way they affected me personally.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information on this title.
reviewed Magical Thinking on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is my third book read by Augusten Burroughs the first two, in order, are Running Without Scissors and Dry) and I don't know what it is about them but I am hooked. Maybe it is just the craziness and the unreal feeling that ALL of these strange things can't possibly happen to one person or maybe it's his honestness about his own shallowness and his own mental health that makes it all refreshing ... but whatever it is, he keeps me wanting more and shocking me over and over again when I think he can't do it after THAT ONE!!

This book is more like all of the events that he mentioned in passing in his first two books and now he goes into detail about them. They aren't in any kind of chronilogical order ... which sometimes makes it confusing and you might have to go back and see "how old did he say he was again when this happened" ... but it does seem to add to the appeal of the book and his now familiar writing. It was nice to see though that it does seem like his life is finally settling down and that he finally seems to have found a wee bit of peace and happiness.

The fourth installment of this amazing person's life is called Possible Side Effects.
reviewed Magical Thinking on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Hysterical and touching. Burroughs has a gift for writing and a life that begs to be recorded. I love his work and this book was fantastic.
reviewed Magical Thinking on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
"Ruthlessly funny...deliciously perverse...he extracts something funny from every shred of his own warped experience. Magical Thinking indeed."--People
reviewed Magical Thinking on + 239 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Okay Okay... I was one of those people that read Running with Scissors and hated it. I still do, I think it was too over-the-top. I know he says it all really happened and I hate to say I don't believe him, but well... I don't believe ALL of it. How's that? I bought his other books, but they'd been gathering dust. I dunno, I just wasn't up for reading more weird wacky maybe-half-true stuff. Then I read Dry. Now I've read Magical Thinking. The man can write, dammit. And his brutal, adult, honesty hits you square in the nose. Oh yes, yes yes, he's funny, but most of his stories have an undertone to them, an almost moral (I wonder if he knew that when he wrote it?). Even the funny housekeeper (my favorite), it shows what a pushover we all can be when people are pushy with us, but it also shows that all of us have a spine and we use it. I dunno, maybe I read too much into it.

This was by far my favorite book. I was hoping it would be a continuation of Dry, about him making his way back from where he left of in Dry, it was, kind of. It was a book of short story memoirs, I suppose. I'm going to read the next one soon, hopefully that will answer my questions more fully :)
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reviewed Magical Thinking on + 11 more book reviews
This is an honest book. Maybe the author sometimes tries be someone he's not -like we all do on occasion- but his writing does not try to be something it isn't. This book is humorous, satisfying, and perceptive.
reviewed Magical Thinking on + 6062 more book reviews
A lot like David Sedaris, which is one too many, I think.
reviewed Magical Thinking on + 16 more book reviews
Definitely worth reading - This book was pretty hilarious!

I read Running With Scissors.. and it was Ok. Very interesting in a screwed-up/self-indulgent kind of way.
Then I read Dry. Much better.. it showed a strange, but really cool insight in his drunken antics, his quest to get sober & the resulting craziness from that.

THEN comes Magical Thinking. This isn't your traditional read AT ALL. Each chapter is pretty unrelated to the previous & following chapters, yet it still kind of follows the timeline from boyhood to present. Whether the chapter is about male baldness, or some horrific date he went on, or his fight against a mouse he found in his bathtub, the thought process & sarcasm he has about everything is hilarious & addicting.

If you enjoy memoirs, or a general sarcastic outlook on the mundane - this is the book for you.

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