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.
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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.
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.
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 :)
"Ruthlessly funny...deliciously perverse...he extracts something funny from every shred of his own warped experience. Magical Thinking indeed."--People