Friday, May 15, 2009

Review: Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Book Info:
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Picador (April 1, 2004)
ISBN-13: 9780312423797
Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir
Rating: 4.5/5

From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry—the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.

I've read all of Augusten Burroughs books, except for his newest A Wolf at the Table, and while I enjoyed them all, I think Dry is my favorite. Dry is also quite a bit different than his other books, especially Running With Scissors.

I know some people found Running with Scissors to be out there, with too much craziness to possibly be true. I took Running with Scissors with a grain of salt and enjoyed it, but I did think things may have been exaggerated to help play up the shock value. That isn't the case at all with Dry.

I found Dry to be much more introspective and very honest. While Burroughs humor and crazy personality still came through the story, it wasn't as jaw dropping as Running with Scissors. Burroughs talked about his drinking honestly, why he did it, why he couldn't stop and all of the emotional issues that go along with alcoholism. If you've ever been close to someone with a substance abuse problem, Dry gives some insight into an addict's thought process. It's a sad story, but Burroughs did have me laughing too. 4.5 stars


Sandy Nawrot said...

I think it was "Wolf at the Table" that won the title of one of the worst books of 2008 by EW. I have "Running With Scissors" on my shelves to be read some year. This one sounds worthy of a go. My sister-in-law is having some really serious issues with alcoholism, which we will see up close and personal when we visit Poland this summer. It would be nice to have a little insight...

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

The only Augusten Burroughs I've read is WOLF AT THE TABLE. I didn't find anything funny in it; it was just. so. sad.

It was well-written, though, maybe I should give DRY a try.

Melissa said...

Sandy and Dawn: I have Wolf at the Table, but haven't read it yet. Dry is sad too, but I think it did help me to understand the mindset of an addict a little better.