In ugly times when many of us face scant, hollowed-out holidays, Burroughs book tells a story of hope, that each of us has the power to reclaim the warmth of the season. Dec 06, Jeff rated it liked it. Oh, Augusten Burroughs, why do I love you? Dec 22, K. Absolutely rated it it was ok Shelves: This is my third book by Augusten Burroughs and I am beginning to understand him. I am aging but I am not any of the other three but still the very moving prose of Isherwood made me emphatize with middle-age gay guys like Burroughs.
In my mind, gays come in two types: In the Philippines, we call the first one baklang tago and the second one palengkerang o parloristang bakla. For me, Isherwood based on his character in the above-mentioned novel belongs to the first group. Burroughs definitely, without any iota of doubt, belongs to the second group. He just does not only scream. He exaggerates just to be noticed. He enumerates the guys — by mentioning their profession or even names!
However, those are in the second half of the book. The Christmases when Burroughs was already a young promiscuous gay man. The first half includes the Christmases when he was a young gay boy and his experiences and innocence were adorable. He thought, for example, that Santa Claus and Jesus were one and the same and when he saw Jesus nailed on the cross, he thought that Santa Claus made a mistake in giving gifts and one father nailed him up there.
Not sure if this is possible since Jesus is slim and trim while Santa Claus is fat and bearded. But then again, Burroughs is fond of exaggeration to get his message across or to elicit laughters. Some people call this poetic license and fiction writers have this in their arsenal of writing tools. Overall, not a totally bad book to read for Christmas season. There are funny parts. There are disgusting parts. Not for anyone whose squeamish about gay sex. So, my reading of this book, including this review, is still on time.
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View all 3 comments. Sep 16, Shannon rated it it was ok Shelves: I give 3 stars to the first few stories and 1 star to the last few for an average of 2 stars. The first couple of stories tell about Burroughs's childhood memories of past Christmases. Two stories are about how he used to confuse Santa with Jesus and also when he bit the wax face off of a life-size Santa Claus and I was actually laughing out loud while reading them.
They were funny and easier to relate to than the stories he recounted of his adulthood. Burroughs's childhood stories are lighter t I give 3 stars to the first few stories and 1 star to the last few for an average of 2 stars. Burroughs's childhood stories are lighter than the rest of the book but are still darkly humorous. The last half of the stories though are a somber solemn affair and not anything I likely would have read by themselves. I wouldn't have picked this book up if the childhood stories hadn't been included.
I understand this is his life he's writing about, but when I think of Christmas I don't think of drinking until I black out, or wanting to spend the holiday alone, or doing the opposite and spending the holiday with a bunch of bums on the street, literally. The last half of the book is bleak and without much hope, and that's just not what I personally want to read about. The transition from early childhood to adulthood could have been handled better as well. We go from one story where he's in elementary school to the next where he's a black-out drunk waking up next to a naked geriatric French Santa Claus.
After doing a bit of research on the author it's probably safe to say that he didn't have too many fond memories of childhood Christmases, but I would have liked to read more of them because those were the ones I enjoyed the most. Toward the end Burroughs flies off into the land of melodrama and it starts to become hard to take him seriously, especially the story when his newly built house floods unexpectedly.
I backed out of the kitchen and turned around. Dennis was at the bottom of the stairs, heaving, unable to catch his breath, as his eyes surveyed the room. He brought both of his hands to his mouth, his fingers touching the bottom lip. Now it's true, it was his boyfriend that had this reaction but I really think Burroughs over exaggerates things.
My parents' basement flooded twice when I was in my teens, and my room was down there. One of the times it got so high it reached the bottom of my mattress. So, yeah, it sucks, but nobody died. It honestly felt like the destruction of the one floor of the house held more emotion than the death of his loved one. It's hard for me to connect with the Christmas stories of Burroughs's adult life when he acts so unrealistically. I had been eager to read more of Burroughs's writing after reading the first pages or so of this one, but after finishing it up I'm not so sure anymore.
Some people like to read darker stories while others only want fluffy happy times. I want something kind of in the middle. I also have a hard time understanding the mind of an addict, it's just not something that makes sense to me, and so it was hard for me to connect on a personal level to the bulk of Burroughs's stories.
I don't necessarily regret reading this book, but I'll keep the stories I read first more in the forefront because they honestly did make me laugh. I have never read any Augusten Burroughs, but this is the 3rd one I've listened to. Running with Scissors and Dry are two of my favorite audiobooks ever.
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I also have a touch of OCD, and I can never ever ever ever ever not finish a book. I was getting ready to go on a long drive, and listening to this was going to dr I have never read any Augusten Burroughs, but this is the 3rd one I've listened to. I was getting ready to go on a long drive, and listening to this was going to drive me insane. Burroughs read soooooooooooo slllllllllllooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy that you just wanted to scream. The first 2 stories took place in his childhood, and were not funny, and grasping so hard to be Santaland Diaries and reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddd in that sllllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwww voice that I thought - "Did he ALWAYS sound like this?
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What could have been wrong with me when I liked it before? Then the 3rd story, about his one night stand with a drunk old French Santa, was a bit more like the Burroughs I remembered. The slow reading stopped, maybe he was trying to sound childlike? The fourth story, about his Christmas spent with a homeless opera singer was more of the same, But the 5th story.
Oh the 5th story. At first, I can't figure out how it related to Christmas, but when it did, it had a jaw dropping twist that is what I love in literature.
And now, when I was thisclose to being able to break my OCD habit of needing to finish everything, said habit has been rewarded, because I loved story 5 so much I just wanted to start over and hear it again. Dec 27, Megan Anderson rated it really liked it Shelves: I'd give this five stars, except I'm not so sure about some of the stories. The first few are downright hysterical--I was crying as he described the gingerbread house. However, the later stories of grown-up Christmases are a little more introspective.
Not that they're bad, necessarily, but it's like the movie Moulin Rouge , in that everything starts off funny and by the end you're feeling sort of depressed. I've liked the way Burroughs writes since I first read his books in college, and I especia I'd give this five stars, except I'm not so sure about some of the stories. I've liked the way Burroughs writes since I first read his books in college, and I especially like his understated sense of humor. I also understand that the subject matter of some of the stories doesn't lend itself to being funny the second-to-last story in particular.
But even the more thoughtful of the stories are still funny in their own ways. His descriptions are poetic and beautiful and spot-on, regardless of the subject matter. Maybe it's just like Christmas itself, for me as an adult: But read this book! It's just left me moody and introspective now, too, which isn't a bad thing! Jan 03, Topher Hooperton rated it really liked it. Now, with You Better Not Cry, he brings us a festive series of recollections about the disastrous Christmases he has experienced.
The early stories tread familiar ground, drawing us back to the young Augusten and his fractious relationship with his mentally unstable mother, taciturn brother, and angry, alcoholic father, and the litany of failures and mishaps to Augusten Burroughs has carved a literary career from exposing his troubled family life in Running With Scissors and A Wolf At The Table.
The early stories tread familiar ground, drawing us back to the young Augusten and his fractious relationship with his mentally unstable mother, taciturn brother, and angry, alcoholic father, and the litany of failures and mishaps to put it lightly that swirl about them. We find him inexplicably eating the face off a giant Santa Claus, failing spectacularly to craft a seasonally charming gingerbread house it looks more like a tenement slum , and executing a diabolical plan to get the presents he wants from his warring parents. These stories, like his previous memoirs, are witty and often surprising, but they don't really offer any further insights into the narrative arc that Burroughs has constructed from the pieces of his life.
They feel rather more like watching deleted scenes on a DVD: Much more interesting, however, are the later pieces, which leap forward into Burrough's adult life. Gone are the bewildered accounts of his childhood experiences, as seen through a veil of youthful confusion about the world. Instead, the adult stories bring the encroaching darkness of his later life into sharp focus.
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The pieces are still characterised by Burrough's biting wit, covering subjects like his waking up naked next to Santa Claus, hung-over and trying to piece together the night before. But the pandemonium that his early life has left in its wake is tangible. One of the finest stories, Why Do You Reward Me Thus, tells of a drunken three day yuletide period that he spent with some 'bums' outside his apartment. It features an exquisitely sad passage where a homeless woman sings an aria to him, as the snow starts to fall on Christmas Eve, and he gets a glimpse of how easily his alcoholism could dismantle his life.
Another of the book's highlights, The Best and Only Everything, recounts the dazzling experience of falling deeply in love, and the subsequent horror of his boyfriend's HIV diagnosis, and the sad, tectonic shift in their relationship. I had approached the book with some degree of trepidation, fearing that it might be akin to a generic Christmas album released by an otherwise well-respected band: Thankfully, that's not the case.
Although it may lack the cohesion of his other work, there are passages that surpass his previous writing, peppered with surprising poetic flourishes. Burroughs is as funny as he's ever been, but he has also compiled a contemplative book about the intangible essence of Christmas, both its sheer joy and its sadness. As we flick through the fragments of his life, there's a real sense of the fragile line that separates any semblance of order around him with complete chaos, and the mire from which he has pulled himself.
Dec 21, Denise rated it it was amazing. This is my favorite Augusten Burroughs book yet! I was a little skeptical at first. The book starts with some of his darkest stories from his childhood and early days as an alcoholic. They are fascinating in the way a train wreck is, you just can't bring yourself to look away. Slowly, as you work your way through the book, the stories begin to change as Augusten's idea of Christmas evolves.
There is the Christmas a group of homeless people take him in, look after him, and teach him to accept hel This is my favorite Augusten Burroughs book yet! There is the Christmas a group of homeless people take him in, look after him, and teach him to accept help from others. The book ends with two truly heartwarming stories about taking care of an HIV positive boyfriend and dealing with a flood. Make no mistake, the hilarious, sarcastic humor is still there, but added is a real love for himself and the people around him.
There was more depth of feeling and true emotion in some of these stories than I've ever seen in Augusten's other books. You Better Not Cry is the perfect holiday collection - you will definitely laugh, you might even shed a tear or two, and you'll end feeling strangely better about Christmas and what it means. Dec 17, Lisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really loved this. Dec 14, Petra rated it liked it. This book is a collection of stories of Augusten's Christmases over the years, starting at childhood and ending at the time of writing the book.
The stories of the younger Augusten were sweet and funny. They told of childhood wonder, of mixed up beliefs that kids sometimes get and general childhood. Augusten was a precocious and difficult child but one that saw the world in a different and interesting way. It would have been both a difficult and exciting thing to watch this kid go through life. In adulthood, Augusten has some low Christmases.
The story of his time on the streets was heartwarming, really. That was a nice Christmas story. The last couple of stories are after the hard times. Augusten has found his peace and is happy. These stories are lovely, knowing that he's found his way but they were also the slowest paced.
All in all, I enjoyed these and they revolved around Christmas. I preferred the stories of his childhood. Jun 28, Cheri rated it liked it Shelves: Christmas can be such a busy time of year, the hustle and bustle of it all. His tales are occasionally charming, funny, heartfelt, sweet and sad, maybe even depressing, b Christmas can be such a busy time of year, the hustle and bustle of it all. His tales are occasionally charming, funny, heartfelt, sweet and sad, maybe even depressing, but overall it was a fun read.
Burroughs humorous rant on the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song was one of my favorite parts Nov 08, aaron rated it really liked it. Bittersweet memories for Burroughs. I think most Catholic grade school children would. But then it went dark for me. I stopped laughing when he reached adulthood. I didn't expect that. I've only read Running with Scissors and laughed continuously, so I thought this would be more of the same. There more more sad and pitiful moments on the last few chapters. Not a book to lighten the Christmas spirit, although there is some deep Bittersweet memories for Burroughs.
Not a book to lighten the Christmas spirit, although there is some deeper meanings in the retelling. You can keep your Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp crushes. I have read every one of his books and gotten a stomach cramp from laughing too hard at each one. I love his sense of humour, I love his brutal honesty and I just love him. That first novel was about four greedy and ambitious people who work at a television company.
What followed was years spent at Dr. Despite the fact that this is my second re-read of the book, my stomach still cramped from belly-laughs. I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph. It makes sense, in a twisted way, that he would be confused in the month of December when he is bombarded by images of Jesus and Santa yet he is never explicitly told what everyone just expects his young-self to know.
As a young child I had Santa and Jesus all mixed up. I could identify Coke or Pepsi with just one sip, but I could not tell you for sure why they strapped Santa to a cross. Had he missed a house? He lived in the North Pole with Mrs.
Claus and some little people who made toys for him. My grandmother sucked in her air. Where did you even learn to combine such words? Leprechauns are those little drunk motherfuckers from Ireland. The stories get sharper and funnier with a biting edge as Augusten grows into a curmudgeon alcoholic. I knew what I had become. I was that old man on the cartoons I used to watch as a kid. What was his name? With the big nose and the ghosts? And there was a little gimp kid that trailed him around? Scrooge, that was it.
Actually, there was a clinical term for what I had become: And then there are those short stories that hark back to the true message of Christmas if, slightly skewed. And I began to let him go. It was a physical sensation, like letting out the string of a kite. Except that the string was coming from my centre. This is what Augusten Burroughs does so well.
Augusten Burroughs is the wit of a generation. A perfect anecdote to Christmas-backlash with an uplifting message amidst the muck. Initially I didn't know what to expect from this book. I guess, when it's coming from Augusten Burroughs, I always knew that it would be quirky but I assumed it could not be any weirder than his most famous piece: Eventually I stood corrected. Anyway, the book actually starts off quite hilarious and comical before it leads to blatant profanity and disturbing affairs.
Honestly, I almost regretted having bought this book despite getting it from clearance sale. But then, the narration takes another turn toward a whole new direction. Burroughs shares other stages of his life where he was more mature and mentally much stronger. Some events are dark, some are gloomy, others are sweet, but never any less funny.
Sometimes, they might even reflect elusive wisdom and overlooked beauty; just as he beautifully explains in the simplest although, mostly forgotten way: Attraction is the very point of gravity; timespace itself bends to allow it. It is attraction in its pure form that holds the galaxy together.
Attraction is our glue. I might completely disagree with how he thinks and the decisions he makes; but again, it is not my life. It is his life. And really, it amazes me to see how completely different events can make two people experience exactly the same feeling. Listen with your chest. You will feel a pendulum swing within you, favoring one direction or another.
And that is your answer. The answer is always inside your chest. The right choice weighs more. It causes you to lean in its direction. Probably that passage explains very well why I ended up bringing this book home after several minutes of consideration. I am glad I bought this book.
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I give it three stars out of five for the stories, but overall four stars for its ability to evoke emotions. This is a book that will play with your feelings and allow you to experience different spectrums of emotions in just one sitting. At the end of the day, it gives your heart a soft nudge that reminds you of Christmas and the essence of being a human: Nov 25, Aaron rated it really liked it. The newest option by Augusten Burroughs brings together seven short biographical essays relating to some of his Christmas experiences.
The stories are full of the wry wit that is found in much of the rest of his work, but I thought that the tales didn't float quite as well.
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In his earlier books, most of the stories had a common themed and flowed more evenly. The earliest pieces highlight his earliest confusion between Santa and Jesus since modern America seems to celebrate them equally during the The newest option by Augusten Burroughs brings together seven short biographical essays relating to some of his Christmas experiences. The earliest pieces highlight his earliest confusion between Santa and Jesus since modern America seems to celebrate them equally during the holiday season.
He later moves on to adulthood when he has a surprising interaction with a French Santa, a special Christmas with a boyfriend who is coming to terms with how AIDS has changed his life, and finding a great deal of holiday cheer despite things going terribly wrong with a new house.
The last story seemed a little forced when it comes to the theme. It is set during the Christmas season, but that is about the extent of things. Most of the stories in this book were written for children but I found them inspiring as an adult as well. With chapters by familiar authors such as Pearl Buck, Henry Van Dyke, and Elizabeth Goudge, these festive short stories capture well the holiday spirit. Written for his Christmas service, this pastor and bestselling author has put 12 of his favorites into a book.
Each story features a family caught in some unexpected predicament or trouble over Christmas and shows how God provided and took care of them in a Christmas miracle kind of way. If you grew up with Elsie Dinsmore, this is a book you really must add to your collection. I appreciated the scriptures and the family values that were strongly portrayed in this delightful collection. These were the books that made me fall in love with Christmas Collections when I was a pre-teen. Anne with an E has been capturing the hearts of readers for generations now, mine included. I knew that I had to have this book for my collection as soon as I saw it.
While only two of the stories in this book are actually stories about our beloved Anne-girl, the remaining stories are told in that same delightful writing that and wit that made L. Montgomery one of the best-loved novelists. I loved the idea of easily being to relieve the holidays with the Ingalls family in each of the unique places they lived over the years. As usual, their stories center on faith, hope and the blessings of the holiday season and the Greatest Gift ever given. Written by the author of one of my most loved stories, An Old Fashioned Girl , this collection of holiday tales by L.
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This book is a special collection of most of her published holiday stories and it is truly delightful! I read this book on a beach on the outer banks of North Carolina this summer when I accidentally grabbed it off my to-read pile instead of the more seasonally appropriate book I was actually reading at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the stories I read! Since Dickens is one of the literary giants of all times, it was fun to get to read not just the popular works, but some of the lesser-known Dickens stories as well! The stories are short, and that makes them perfect for filling in the moments when you need to be reminded what exactly is this season all about anyway.
I wanted to find a little collection of Christmas novels that was not strictly about a romance. And I love the idea of stories featuring American settlers in different areas and generations and about them using their simple means to make time to celebrate the advent of Christ. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that we share this as our genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here. Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration.
Chantel Brankshire is an everyday kind of girl who loves ordinary life, barefoot days, laundry on the line and fireflies.