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92 Reviews
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Augusten
I have enjoyed reading Augusten Burroughs books for many years. I was thrilled to learn that he had a new book out. Being a bit of a scrooge myself, I knew this book would not disappoint. It is a compilation of several different essays. I really enjoyed reading the book and it helped pull me into the Christmas spirit.
Published on December 12, 2009 by A. Keith

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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing!!!
We waited at least two years for this? The title was great, catchy, made you think it was going to be funny but it wasn't. To me it seems like this book was thrown together because of some deadline, it didn't seem to have much heart. The stories were long and drawn out and couldn't keep my attention much as his work usually is so intense you cant put it down. I was also...
Published on November 1, 2009


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Augusten, December 12, 2009
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I have enjoyed reading Augusten Burroughs books for many years. I was thrilled to learn that he had a new book out. Being a bit of a scrooge myself, I knew this book would not disappoint. It is a compilation of several different essays. I really enjoyed reading the book and it helped pull me into the Christmas spirit.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still good, October 31, 2009
I'm a huge fan of all of Augusten's books, but I found this one just a little disappointing. I read "You Better Not Cry" in two days...not because I'm a super speedy reader, but because it's a very short book. The page count is decent, but the size of the book is very tiny so the book is over before you know it.

That's my biggest problem with the book. It's just TOO short.

That said, it's an entertaining read. The book progresses chronologically through Augusten's past. The stories of his childhood are generally quite funny. Generally speaking, I actually like stories of his adult life better than stories of his childhood (i.e. I like "Dry" and "Magical Thinking" even more than "Running With Scissors"). This also holds true with "You Better Not Cry". My favorite stories in the book are of his adult life. My favorite story in the book is "Silent Night." This heart-warming little tale makes me really sad that Augusten and Dennis are no longer together.

I found his story titled, "The Best and Only Everything" terribly sad and it's the longest story in the book. But there are amusing stories, too. I really enjoyed the title story, "You Better Not Cry."

All in all, it's a worthwhile read. And with Amazon's discounted price, I'm glad I bought it. I just wish it were longer! Keep writing, Augusten. I just can't get enough of your words!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Burroughs, January 6, 2010
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I found this book to be just like his others! Places in the book are witty, interesting, heartfelt...and then there's the other side-dark, sad, and unnnerving. But with all the other books I found this to be right up there in style and character. I enjoyed this small book of about 200 pages. It was quick to read in between the hustle and bustle of the holidays. For a Burrough's fan...this will be enjoyed!
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing!!!, November 1, 2009
A Kid's Review
We waited at least two years for this? The title was great, catchy, made you think it was going to be funny but it wasn't. To me it seems like this book was thrown together because of some deadline, it didn't seem to have much heart. The stories were long and drawn out and couldn't keep my attention much as his work usually is so intense you cant put it down. I was also expecting more humor but it wasn't the case for this book. I was really, REALLY looking forward to this book so it's quite the disappointment. I guess I'll be camped out until the next one though as I still have a ton of faith in this man. Sorry Augusten but I'm being honest........
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Burroughs' flame is slightly diminished, just in time for Christmas, June 1, 2010
I feel bad leaving anything but a decadent review for something written by Augusten Burroughs. Long have I pimped out his treasure trove of memoirs, as well as "Sellevision," which seems to be tailored to his wild and crazy life a little bit more each time I pick it up.

Simply put, "You Better Not Cry" lacks the spark that Burroughs' previous books (and novel) contain. I eagerly hunkered down with the small tome during spurts of free time, eager to read about the author's caustic family and his almost alarmingly domestic adult life. Augusten's collection of Christmas stories is easy enough to follow, given time lines and events from previous books, but I felt like something was missing. All of the author's trademarks were there, but I wasn't being tugged in any particular direction emotionally. There was no pig's head statue moment like in "Dry"; no "toilet reading" scene, a la "Running With Scissors"; nor nothing particularly harrowing or painful to read, the way most of "Wolf At the Table" was. Bad (and sometimes, good) things certainly happen to Augusten at Christmastime, but he didn't make me feel them this time.

In addition, "YBNC" showcased a lack of cohesiveness, which is unusual for Burroughs. Upon waking up next to a French Santa, who may or may not have put the moves on him, Burroughs-the-character makes a list of all the guys he's ever known in the Biblical sense, in hopes of determining any patterns, a la a fetish for white-bearded old men. It's a funny moment, but there's a distinct lack of mention of Dr. Finch, the Santa-impostor psychologist of whom Augusten paints so vivid a picture in his first book; nor does he correlate his Claus-fetish with the first chapter of "You Better Not Cry", wherein six-year-old Augusten is compelled to make out with a stuffed Santa doll. Perhaps the implied correlation was enough for some readers, but this latest memoir just didn't feel as "together" as the others to me.

I'm not sure whether the author's interpersonal life is to 'blame' (I mourned upon hearing that he and his long-time boyfriend had broken up); moreover, I wonder if Augusten has just run out of things to memoir. I will still eagerly await his next (if any) offering, but this one felt more like a present hastily shoved into a gift bag than what I've come to expect from Burroughs' otherwise meticulous-in-their-mess oeuvre.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account of Christmas, December 21, 2009
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Not at all what I expected to read ---. I had not known the author and had not realized he was gay. That didn't change my mind though as I read; it was truly fun and sad at the same time. I believe the hour you spend with this book will not be wasted --- obviously, it's heartfelt and I got a sense that Christmas was longed for, as it should be. The childhood glimpses were tough, sad and tragic. The flood was also extremely sad but brought the whole Christmas theme to light. Thank you
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories, great writing, December 15, 2009
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Jeffrey Arndt (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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I've been doing a fair amount of holiday-based reading. When I picked this one up, the first thing that struck me was the quality of the writing itself. Burroughs has wonderful stoires to share and he shares them in beautiful language. The stories themselves run the gamut -- humor, love, sadness, forgiveness, the essentials of all his works. I have never read a description of being in love like you'll find in this book. You better run out and grab this one!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars He told me not to cry..., January 9, 2010
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...but I did, and "sobbed" is more like it. His Pighead essay was one of the most romantic and devastating things I've ever read. His ability to express love in such a complete way in just a few sentences amazes me. Some of the essays were lacking on the provocative, humorous or emotional levels at which he so consistently writes, however, as a whole this collection was a joy (and sometimes a joyous sorrow) to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really getting to know Burroughs!, January 25, 2010
What can I say but that I'm really getting to know Augusten now. This was not what I expected. The first half was traditional Burroughs, light and funny, but when I kept reading I started to feel more and more depressed as he revealed much more than even in his book Dry.

Burroughs doesn't let you down and creates very vivid stories that one can remove from your mind. I laughed out loud after reading how he ate the face of a life size Santa (who he confused with Jesus). You could feel how nervous he was waiting for his parents to see what he had done; imagine what was going through this young boys mind (must have been about 8 or 9).

Also, the story about how Augusten wanted a pony for Christmas, but his Dad tried to tell him about how he had a monkey as a child and how mean the monkey was; you have to read it, but I tell you it was very golden!

As the story went on you meet the grown up Burroughs who seems to attact disaster and find a beautiful love story and the display unexpected friendship that will lift your spirits after trudging through a difficult story about George in the chapter called "The Best and Only Everything".
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Sleigh Ride through Augusten's Holiday Memories (or, How I Can't Follow Directions.), November 6, 2009
It said it on the cover of the book, but I failed to follow the directions.

You better not cry.

My right ear was filled up with tears. I was hyperventilating. That was the precise moment I had to set the book down on my red sheets and announced to the entire world how much and hard I was laughing less than one chapter in to YOU BETTER NOT CRY. I posted this news on Twitter and Facebook from my iPhone and then went back to the book and read it, almost in its entirety before falling into a slumber and having silly, pleasant dreams.

YOU BETTER NOT CRY takes readers on a sleigh-ride through the (sometimes even ghosts of) Christmas past of Augusten, beginning when he's eight-years-old and obsessed with shiny things (as we learned in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS) like tinsel, lights, and gold nuggets. We move rather quickly into Augusten's adult life, spent in the most famous Christmas city of all, New York City. Here, the stories are not as gift-wrapped with material that prompts tears of hilarity: they are more about love and loss and growth- but the holidays are about that, too.

When I think about this book as a whole, the childhood chapters are like the angel at the top of the tree (or, the golden nuggets that Augusten begged for), while the adult stuff is more like a stocking-stuffer (like the crackers he wasn't expecting so much of), even though the latter material fills more than half the book. I don't want to say I was let down, but I so much adore Augusten's humor and his playful, observant, imaginative, innocent, and curious view of the big world around him and the unique story-telling style that matches. So with that in mind, I wasn't expecting the book to take such a leap from childhood to mid-twenties and later so quickly. Maybe it's because I am obsessed with my own childhood, but I feel a certain comfort being in young Augusten's world. The book unwraps with such child-like detail, such as students in his class folding metal chairs and stacking them so they "fit like Pringles in a can." However, his details as a grown up are just as vivid and perhaps more moving, eloquent, and beautiful. It is through his descriptions and imagery that you can see how his impressions as a child have lingered through adulthood, giving that same knack for detail no matter what age he is writing from. I have dozens of pages folded over so I can go back and enjoy the passages again and again.

I felt the book was short and quick and over too soon, but nonetheless, very enjoyable. Nothing wrong with a quick read at all, so I don't want to say that's negative. However, it's Augusten, so I wanted more. It was like the feeling you get after an exciting Christmas morning of smiles, laughter, and quickly tearing through gifts, and finally unwrapping the last one and staring at the empty tree skirt, knowing that, while you were happy for what you received, disappointed that there would be nothing else until next year. I wanted more from his big sack of childhood memories, perhaps stories of holidays that involved the Finches, the psychiatrist's family we came to know and love in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, and even sprinkled about his other titles.

Long-time fans of Augusten will surely enjoy YOU BETTER NOT CRY, as if familiar old friends are coming in from out of town for a holiday dinner after years of being apart and hearing new stories, getting new laughs, and learning more about each other. A familiar theme flows this book as well: Augusten's alcoholism. We see how this affects his holidays, his loneliness, and ultimately even his happiness.

After reading this book, I could not help but reflect back on my own Christmases. I, too, made very specific lists, for one. But, more importantly, no matter how terrible I thought life was at any given time period, Christmas was always a happy time. That's why this book is so relatable to so many people. Memories of holidays are about laughter, about hope, about family, about friends, and even the absurd and shocking. We get one Christmas a year, while regular days zip by. Perhaps that's why we remember holidays with such detail, clarity, and often, with such fondness. Augusten, one of wise men of the memoir genre, recounting his holidays past captures that exactly the way the tree at Rockefeller Center attracts Manhattan tourists.

YOU BETTER NOT CRY is a must-read for Augusten fans. I highly recommend to those who have not yet read Augusten read RUNNING WITH SCISSORS first to get to know him better. It will make this holiday memoir far more understandable and enjoyable. And remember, if you are anything like me, you WILL cry, either from laughter or from inspiration.
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You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas
You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs (Hardcover - October 27, 2009)
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