Customer Review

78 of 91 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Graphic Animal Torture is Comedy?, November 12, 2008
This review is from: Magical Thinking: True Stories (Paperback)
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 and/or time into consuming the same content in multiple works.

And then came the "Rat/Thing" chapter, in which Burroughs describes torturing a white mouse which was unfortunate enough to find itself in his apartment. As a citydweller, I know unwanted pests spread disease and nibble wiring that causes fires, and I sympathize with the need to exterminate the tiny squatters as necessary. But Burroughs seems to take pleasure in this -- detailing how he sprayed a can of RAID on the mouse, noting how the chemical burns dulled the animal's eyes and made it frantic with pain. He then filled the bathtub it was in with scalding water and, getting creative, started flashing a lightbulb like a strobe light in the mouse's face until it had a seizure and died. Y'know, I didn't think there was a way to make glue traps seem humane, but Augusten Burroughs found one.

This is comedy writing?

I'm disgusted.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 12, 2008 8:07:54 PM PST
gypsycaster says:
It's amazing what people think of as "acceptable" behavior towards animals. What a jerk! I'm with you 100%!!!

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 10:53:14 AM PST
C. moreau says:
Way to go Kate. Thank you for speaking up for animals, even the little bitsy ones, that are not supposed to be "lovable". Rodents deserve our respect as much as any other living beings. One sure thing, I will never read that writer. More time to read awesome ones!

Posted on Nov 14, 2008 8:48:10 PM PST
kp says:
Thanks for the warning. I won't be reading anything else this author writes & I will spread the word to friends, too.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008 10:37:34 AM PST
Brian Friel says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2009 9:18:53 PM PDT
Brian that's the same argument used to justify torturing and killing slaves, Jews, and any other "less than" group. "Hey, who cares how it feels? It's just a nig__r"!! You're disgusting.

Posted on Apr 11, 2009 9:21:40 PM PDT
Kate I couldn't agree more. I also enjoyed his previous work, but was mortified to read this chapter. I stopped reading immediately, as I no longer respect this author as a human being.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 4:09:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2009 4:14:18 PM PDT
Eviva B. says:
You people are idiots! If you had read the whole chapter instead of dismissing Augusten as a cruel, terrible excuse for a human being right away, you would know that he felt sick of himself after killing the rat/thing. He says he felt like he had just killed a person, and he worried about being a serial killer at heart. You're the kind of person who would rather save a dog from being ran over than save fifty thousand people in Africa. Next time you express your hatred for someone because they killed a dirty, possibly diseased rat in a time of fear and panic, go kill yourself.

And just because of that one chapter, you shouldn't give this book such a bad rating. This is a great book, it's beautifully written, and I guess you're mind is too undeveloped to appreciate that. And you obviously don't know how to rate products on Amazon. Cast your rating based on the book's quality, content, and overall enjoyability. Just because you had a disagreement with something the author wrote doesn't make it a bad book.

Posted on Jul 30, 2010 12:31:27 PM PDT
M. Annal says:
Oh, my. You just made me really sorry I purchased this book. I'm glad I read this review.

Posted on May 26, 2012 8:50:04 PM PDT
Ben V Hoff says:
I wrote something very similar to your review. This is something I would send a child to a psychiatrist for, fearing a sociopathic personality. Wish I had read your review before I purchased that.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2012 8:58:34 PM PDT
Ben V Hoff says:
I did not get to the part where he describes feeling guilty. That does not change the content and the apparent enthusiasm with which he wrote. I wouldn't finish a glass of spoiled milk either but it would preferable to thinking about finishing that book. What was his editor thinking? Spoiled. I guess that is not an accident when commenting on this guy.
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