With gimleteyed wit and illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.
You've eaten too much candy at Christmas...but have you ever eaten the face off a six-foot stuffed Santa? You've seen gingerbread houses...but have you ever made your own gingerbread tenement? You've woken up with a hangover...but have you ever woken up next to Kris Kringle himself? Augusten Burroughs has, and in this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection he recounts Christmases past and present—as only he could.
Burroughs's holiday-themed memoir lacks the consistent emotional intensity of his earlier work, despite a few gems. Arranged roughly chronologically, the vignettes begin with concrete Christmas memories (preparing a detailed, multipart list of desired presents in "Claus and Effect") and move toward musings on the spirit of the holiday (facing a flooded house with an atheist partner in "Silent Night"). While the childhood stories have Burroughs's trademark dry wit he once gnawed the face off a life-size Saint Nick made of wax they aren't particularly memorable. It's when he turns his attention to the less tangible essence of the holiday that the writing comes alive, especially in the final two pieces, "The Best and Only Everything" and "Silent Night." In the former, Burroughs (Running with Scissors) remembers a long-ago Christmas spent with a former lover dying of AIDS and in the latter, which takes place a decade later, he describes dealing not only with a burst water pipe but also feeling ready to celebrate the season with a tree for the first time since the death of his old boyfriend.
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You Better Not Cry
Absolutely entertaining! Funny, dark, wry, almost tragic at times, and always painted with the sharp wit that is uniquely Burroughs. I have read all of Mr. Burroughs books, and would love to think that another may be coming.