Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas" by Augusten Burroughs
My rating: 3 out of 5
Where I got the book: Borrowed from the local library
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
"From Publishers Weekly
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. (Nov.) "
I really wanted to like this book, but it never quite grabbed me. I've heard a lot of people talk about how funny Burroughs's books are and thought I would give one a try. Perhaps I picked the wrong one to start with, but I did not find it as funny as some of the reviews I saw published rated it. To be honest a lot of it seemed more sad than funny. I realize he was trying to add humor to tough times he dealt with at Christmas, but waking up in a hotel room with a stranger who looked and dressed as Santa was scary to me, not funny. I did enjoy the movie "Running with Scissors" so maybe I should have started with that one instead. I most enjoyed when he got to know the homeless people who spent time on his street and saw that homelessness can happen to anyone depending on circumstances and drug use. I was glad to see that he stopped drinking since many of the unfortunate situations he found himself in were a result of overindulgence. It could just be that this type of humor is not for me.