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.
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.
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 :)
This was my first foray into the world of Mr. Burroughs, and I am now hooked. I've read two of his books and am hoping to find others on PBS :-D The author had a very odd childhood, one that would make most people turn into very unbecoming, hurtful people (which to a degree he does), but somehow he is able to share these sometimes painful tidbits in humorous language, giving just enough of the right details to make one feel as if he/she is standing in a corner of the room watching each story as it takes place. This is a very easy read that can be read one chapter at a time (as each chapter focuses on a different story).
An awesome collection of the author's bizarre and quirky experiences during his life. Absoultely hilarious and endlessly entertaining. I was so sad when I finished this book because I always looked forward to reading the next little tale.
Augusten Burroughs third book, another collection of memoirs and essays. His life has been as odd and unconventional as perhaps any life could. Magical Thinking, which refers to the false impression that we can influence events by thinking about them, consists of more strange moments from his life that illuminate common truths in all our behaviors and lives.
I only got through the second disk. He does something awful to a rat. I won't say what because it made me uncomfortable and I don't want to do that to someone else. I know it's only a rat, but I don't have any desire to hear that sort of thing. The image has stuck with me ever since and I am never reading any of his stuff again. I wish I had been warned.
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.
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.
3 great CDs of stories read by the author. All from his extraordinary life. What would crush other people has made him into a unique person able to see the bizarre humor in any situation. Obsessive and compulsive doesn't even come close to describing his viewpoint! I listened to these in the car and my passenger cried with laughter during the tale of his experience with Debbie the cleaning lady.
Read this after "Running" and found it to be just as funny, twisted, sick and over the top as the other. He is hilarious, though unfortunately (or not) due to the f-ed up life he led! Very quick read, laugh out loud. Favorite story in this book had to be the housecleaner one, "Debby's Requirements".
This is the second time I have read this book - and I really hadn't remembered much about it. It had a few very funny parts - namely the cleaning lady and the shrimp and the killing of the rat/thing. But, overall, it seemed... more arrogantly amusing than truly funny. I don't know - I just really prefer David Sedaris' writing. This book just seems like a more self-involved, graphic version of the same basic idea. Not that it was bad, at all, I did enjoy it, I just wouldn't recommend it with the same fervor that I would David Sedaris' books.
JeanneB - reviewed Magical Thinking : True Stories on
I have read all of Augusten Burroughs books, and I highly recommend them. His books are about his unusual childhood and struggles as an adult. His memories are both heartbreaking and funny. Sometimes I wonder how he put down some the stuff. Even though I have not had such wild experiences, I can somehow relate to his writing. I would recommend you start with 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry'. Reading those books first will put this book into perspective.
I find that each story is so funny that it touches a part of my own life. Real things are so much funnier because you can't dream things up like this. Another winner of Burroughs in my heart. Can't wait to start the next one of his.