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223 Reviews
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magically fascinating, despite the fact that he's happy in the countryside
Having adored the off-beat, self-destructive, endangered life Burroughs wrote about in Running with Scissors and Dry, I was eager to pick up his third memoir. While his path of destruction made for scintillating and darkly comic reading in his first two books, here he writes from a balanced and centered place. He lives in the countryside of Massachusetts with a...
Published on December 14, 2005 by Jessica Lux

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79 of 93 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Graphic Animal Torture is Comedy?
Ooookay. I'm glad I checked this one out of the library instead of wasting money on it.

I've previously enjoyed Burroughs' work. (Sellevision, Dry, Running With Scissors.) So I recognized the first chapter, with the admen for Tang coming to Burroughs' school) as something previously published in another book. I feel a little ripped off when I invest money...
Published on November 12, 2008 by Kate Black


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, a little disturbing, August 31, 2008
This review is from: Magical Thinking: True Stories (Paperback)
Augusten Burroughs does not come across as what you'd call a "nice person," but he's so very honest, funny, and sometimes self-deprecating that the reader can't help being on his side, as he battles a crazy cleaning lady, kills a mouse in his tub, and moves in and out of quasi-relationships with gorgeous, but unsuitable men. And frankly, he appeals to that deep, dark, mean corner we all have suppressed inside, that place where we want to make a snide comment about someone's fatt butt or stupid hairdo. I adore how he hated sickeningly perfect Raoul on their first date, and his description of his schoolteacher in the opening chapter was a delight.

When Dennis enters the picture, we see Augusten's tender side, his appreciation for another's vulnerability, and we start to think perhaps Augusten has been holding out on us, letting us see only his vanity/insecurity polarity, his delayed-reaction remorse for mouse-killing and child-frightening, keeping this kinder Augusten hidden until the time is right.

While reading this book, I couldn't help thinking that I'd love to have him over for dinner, but I wouldn't let him babysit my child.

Augusten Burroughs is a great writer and enigmatic presence on the literary scene.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very, very disappointed., January 27, 2006
By 
R. Kaplan (Chicago, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Magical Thinking: True Stories (Paperback)
I was a devout Burrough's fan until I read this book. Any good material in this book was overshadowed by Burrough's chapter about his attitude toward his admirers. He regards them as pathetic, self-pitying, over-disclosing nightmares. I lost all respect for this author whom I onced revered.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Augusten Burroughs rocks my world., February 16, 2008
By 
Melissa Niksic (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Magical Thinking: True Stories (Paperback)
"Magical Thinking" is the third Augusten Burroughs book that I've read, and I absolutely loved it. This isn't a complete memoir like "Running with Scissors" and "Dry." Instead, it's a collection of short stories about the author's life. All of these stories are incredibly honest, and also quite hysterical. My favorite chapters include a description of young Augusten's experience working on a television commercial for Tang; his stint as a student at the Barbizon School of Modeling; the twisted relationship he has with his corrupt housekeeper, Debby; his various sexual encounters with Catholic priests; and his relationship with his boyfriend Dennis, a.k.a. "The Schnauzer." I read this book very quickly and enjoyed every page. Augusten is an amazing writer, and I always find myself laughing out loud when I read his books. I highly recommend "Magical Thinking" to everyone.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars funny, less dark, December 29, 2005
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I loved Magical Thinking. I love Augusten Burroughs. I think the man is genius. You'll immediately recognize his writing in the third memoir as well as recognize some people from DRY and my personal favorite, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Here's just an example of the Augusten I love (from MAGICAL THINKING):

"When I was in the fourth grade all the girls wore Calvin Klein corduory jeans and wanted to be psychologists. All the boys wore Levis and wanted to play pro football. I wore polyester stretch pants with bell-bottoms and wanted to be Christine Jorgensen, the world's first famous transexual" (p. 25)

See what I mean? priceless. enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oops, He Did It Again, December 20, 2011
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I read 3 books by Burroughs ("Running With Scissors", "Dry", "Wolf At The Table") before this bunch of stories. And all plots were familiar for me, but another thing seriously disappointed me - these stories are very shallow - I wrote such things in my diary during teens, but I never thought about selling them, 'cos' they are so common, we live our lives, we meet different people, but to sell such diaries in such a pathetic way - no, thank you please, it only makes me sneeze.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if you aren't highly judgmental, September 24, 2009
By 
J. Morris "photo_jeff" (Englewood, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Magical Thinking: True Stories (Paperback)
I see why other reviewers compare Burroughs to Sedaris. Yeah, they're both gay authors with a wry sense of humor. But Burroughs is a much bigger prick. Sadistic. Cruel to animals (and babies). And to top it off, he continually is haunted by his childhood and alcoholism.

What could be more entertaining than THAT?

If you like sick humor, you will love this book. If you get just a bit squeamish about explicit descriptions of gay sex, you'll still love this book. Some reviewers hopped on their high horse and gave this book a low rating because they don't agree morally with the author's actions. I don't agree with poisoning and drowning mice either, but I admit that it makes for a great read.

Burroughs as a human being: probably a D+
Burroughs as a storyteller: A-
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but I needed more Augusten Burroughs, March 8, 2007
By 
Barb Mechalke (in the lovely Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I read this after reading Running With Scissors and Dry. I love his 'voice' and his dark smart-alec sense of humor but this was not a novel it was a hodge podge, mish mash, stew of stories, some of which were previously published in his other books. I felt cheated and insulted by this book having already read many of the stories contained therein. But when I was done I still wanted more from Augusten Burroughs. I thought the two other memoirs were very well done. Dry was great even. This one wasn't even close
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars peaceful endings, August 14, 2005
By 
Emmy Lou (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
A madcap set of stories that put a smile on my face, made me suspicious of mad cleaning ladies and aware of the existence of the North American Opossum - scary! What I loved the most was that they weren't just funny and entertaining but said so much more.

I'd agree that these stories are not a cohesive 'autobiography' as such, and many reviewers seem to find them somewhat lacking or 'boring' as one person put it. For those with that view, I'd argue that reading these new tales in the context of 'Running With Scissors' and 'Dry' they take on a whole new meaning, and become the most recent chapter in Augusten's turbulent experience of life.

'The Schnauzer' and other stories focusing on Augusten's great love Dennis give the happy ending that I'd hoped for through Running and Dry - Augusten discovers that despite his various obsessions and troublesome personal history, so much can be overcome by him and by a lover. It's no Hollywood cliche of perfection, but this only makes it more real - Augusten's writing and expression just seems to echo the good fortune and luck he feels to have found something true and real - there is a real sense of joy in so many of the stories that I hadn't previously observed in the author's other work. These stories give the sense that Augusten's on the path to finding peace in all the madness, which is something so many of us are aiming for.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magically Delicious, April 24, 2006
This review is from: Magical Thinking: True Stories (Paperback)
I came to this book after reading Augusten Burroughs' columns in "Details" magazine. His blend of the startlingly serious and funny is his talent. Though this book only hints of a terrible and abusive childhood (more fully profiled in "Running With Scissors"), the bleak chasms of his earlier life are curbed by his humorous outlook on things big and small. There is also an element of progression in this book, as many of the essays reveal his life with a new, lasting boyfriend.

This isn't for the weak. If Burroughs' tales of ribald drunkenness don't get you, his anecdote about killing vermin in the bathroom will. I guess it is a memoir, although surely he has taken a "million little pieces" of liberties throughout these essays.

The most delightful was his experience attending modeling school. This rare inside look is out-loud hilarious while seeming to be fully true. The overly-positive artificiality of the teachers, Augusten's own earnest desire to be at the center of a flattering career, and the steps required to be a human mannekin are sad while being funny--and all in the same hurried breath.

If you like David Sedaris, you will find this material almost exactly like his in tone and content. That's not a bad thing, but be aware that despite what some critics have said, Burroughs and Sedaris are barely distinguishable from one another.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop listening the CD, July 10, 2005
By 
Endre Pekarik (cincinnati, OH, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had to sit and listen the whole book at once. I started seeing myself in him even I'm not gay, but would love to have a partner in life like his. I also have a dog who sleeps between me and my girl friend. She also- didn't want a dog, now she and the dog are together all the time.
This book is wonderful, funny, sad, interesting peek into the gay lifestyle without pushing it down in your throat like those who march and kiss on the street with gay pride.
At the end of the CD, there is a great interview with the author, a little more insight about his life and his way of thinking.
Today I ordered Running with and Dry. I want to know more about him and his life.... I hope I can meet him in person, he sounds like a wonderful friend.
I didn't give five stars because I think, but could be wrong, that sometime he was reading the book while chewing his nicotine chewing gum. Or he could be just clinching his jaws for some other reasons. Four or five stars, no matter,-- Thank you for a wonderful experience!
ps: I love William Sonoma, the only place I get stuff for my Kitchen. Does it mean I'm gay too?
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Magical Thinking: True Stories
Magical Thinking: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs (Paperback - October 1, 2005)
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