Book Review: You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas: Burroughs, Augusten:  9780312341916: Books

Title: You Better Not Cry- Stories for Christmas

Author: Augusten Burroughs

Genre: Non-Fiction/Essays

Number of Pages: 206

Rating: C

Recommended?: No

Seasonal reading alert!

I read Running With Scissors when I was about twelve (it took a lot of convincing on my part to get my mom to let me read that book) and I remember enjoying it. I’ve been meaning for a long time to read more of Augusten Burroughs’ work but I have to admit this book disappointed me. There were a few funny moments but most of what made an impression was what a douchebag Burroughs came off as.

With his trademark cynicism and dark humor, Augusten Burroughs tells several stories from his childhood (featuring his extremely dysfunctional family) and several about him as a gay, alcoholic adult. All of them revolve around Christmas and some of them are darker and more cynical than others. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the cover illustration is better than the actual book.

I get that some of the opinions/feelings Burroughs expresses about are satiric, like his alleged hate and disgust towards the homeless population. But I really wasn’t comfortable with his casual treatment of having an emotional affair with a man whose lover was dying of AIDS (they essentially sat around and waited for him to die.) Then there’s the bit where he talks about groping his boyfriend’s genitals while he was asleep trying to initiate sex… his body would respond before his mind could stop it.

Depending on how you interpret this passage, it could be considered… dubious consent-y? Either way, this scene and others like it left a bad taste in my mouth. I still own some of Augusten Burroughs’ other books and I might read them some day (I have Sellevision, Dry, and A Wolf at the Table, along with Running with Scissors) but this book made me much less eager to explore his work.

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