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These often hilarious, sometimes contrived essays put the "me" in "confessional memoir" front and center. Burroughs recounts scenes from the floridly dysfunctional childhood chronicled in his bestselling Running with Scissors, along with vignettes from various bad jobs, including his travails at an ad agency, and his life as a famous writer. His theme is himself: his struggles with alcoholism, a voracious Nicorette habit, compulsive Web surfing, slovenliness, social isolation, unfitness for employment, gross bodily emissions and general embarrassment at being alive. The thin story lines—a visit from the tooth fairy, a trip to the doctor, house-training a puppy—suggest that Burroughs's well-mined vein of life experience may be played out. He fattens up the material—a (Frey-inspired?) disclaimer warns some events have been "expanded and changed"—in ways that sometimes ring false, especially in his childhood reminiscences, which are improbably detailed and infused with an adult sense of camp. Often, though, the only thing animating the writing is the author's perverse imagination. Fortunately, Burroughs has superb comic sensibility, throwing off sparkling riffs on everyday humiliations in a voice that's alternately caustic and warm, bitchy and self-deprecating. His self-involvement can get claustrophobic, but when he steps outside his head no one is funnier or more perceptive. (On sale May 2)
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Augusten Burroughs offers a post?James Frey "dishonesty disclaimer" (New York Times) at the beginning of Possible Side Effects, a provocation that has reviewers scouring the essay collection for signs of the improbable. Sure enough, there's plenty of material that fits the bill, but critics don't seem to mind the tall tales as long as they're in on the joke. The loudest complaints are that the new book mostly retreads the best-selling Running with Scissors (***1/2 Nov/Dec 2002) and Dry and that the quality of these "new" tales varies tremendously. Burroughs's knack as a humorist dampens some of the dissatisfaction, but it might be prudent for him to change his shtick for his next book.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.See all Editorial Reviews
His books are intriguing, some better than others but maybe my expectations are high. Great writer
Looking forward to the next
Not as funny as his other books . I loved running with scissors and dry.Published 23 days ago by Annette
Got this book because I lent my copy and never got it back. That should tell you how good it is. Augusten Burroughs does it again. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Arms
Not his best work, like Magical Thinking, or Running with Scissors, but if you like Augusten, you will like this, therefore, worth a read. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Donald Jans author of Freaks I've Met
"Possible Side Effects" is a book of Burroughs' personal essays, as opposed to "Running with Scissors" or "Dry" which are memoirs, both of which I loved. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Fayette F.
I love everything Augusten Burroughs writes. I devoured this book in a day. Many "LOL" moments as there always are. Anyone will enjoy this book.Published 6 months ago by Brooke Britten