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Possible Side Effects Hardcover – May 2, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 197 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Burroughs is the author of the memoir Running with Scissors (2002), a "runaway" best-seller, and an equally popular collection of essays, Magical Thinking (2004). In light of recent publishing events vis-a-vis truth versus truth-stretching in memoir writing, it is interesting to note the author's prefatory comments in this, his latest collection of memoir-essays. He indicates that some events recounted in the pieces have been "expanded and changed" and that some of the "individuals portrayed are composites of more than one person." What follows is a series of funny, extremely eloquent takes on modern life and Burroughs' own particular responses to life's various stimuli. "Bloody Sunday" begins with a nosebleed on an airplane flight from New York to London and then describes his reluctance to get out and enjoy the sights once there. "The Sacred Cow" is a very sweet story about getting a second bulldog, and now both his dogs, the new one and the older one, are "more precious to me than anything." And "Killing John Updike" finds Burroughs collecting Updike first editions before he dies ("If I was going to spend two thousand dollars on a book about a rabbit, that old man better be dead by morning, or I was going to be furious"). Irreverence done to an amusing turn. Brad Hooper
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About the Author

Augusten Burroughs is the author of Running with Scissors, Dry, and Magical Thinking, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers and are published around the world. A film version of Running with Scissors starring Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow was adapted for the screen by Ryan Murphy. Augusten has been named one of the fifteen funniest people in America by Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City and western Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312315961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312315962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By I. Sondel VINE VOICE on May 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of Burroughs. Like most, I first discovered him through his mega-selling "Running with Scissors." I quickly devoured his hysterical novel "Sellevision." I was less impressed with his memoir "Dry," but fell in love all over again when I read his true story collection "Magical Thinking." "Possible Side Effects" is more dry than magical, and shows the author at a crossroads. Though consistently amusing, many pieces in this new collection seem forced and find the author overreaching for a laugh, while still others feel deriviative of those previously published, or rather they seem as though they may have been leftovers - stories that didn't quite make the "Magical" cut.

Still there are many rewards in "Possible Side Effects." My two favorites in this collection were: "The Georgia Thumper," which focuses on the troubled relationship between the young Burroughs and his paternal grandmother; and "The Forecast for Sommer," which is some of the strongest prose writing yet from this author. Deeply felt, though unsentimental, "The Forecast for Sommer" betrays the author's talent for dramatic, melancholy writing and provides a promising glimpse into his future and better things to come.
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I was a little worried when I started reading "Possible Side Effects," because the first couple of chapters are kind of slow going. However, I am a big fan of everything Augusten Burroughs has ever written, and this book is no exception. It didn't take long for the pace to pick up and for me to start laughing my ass off. This book isn't a full-length memoir like "Running with Scissors" or "Dry." It's a collection of humorous stories, very similar to "Magical Thinking." Burroughs shares stories from his disturbing childhood all the way through to his present-day, slightly more normal (but still incredibly quirky) life. The stories aren't arranged in any particular order, and there are some really, really good ones in here. My hands-down favorite chapter is "Moving Violations," which describes the author's experiences driving around with his friend Druggy Debby during his teenage years, startling bad drivers by flashing them with enlarged photos of hard-core porn. (I laughed so hard reading that part, my husband actually stepped away from his computer game to see what the hell what was so funny. That is HUGE.)

If you want to read a book written by America's funniest and cleverest writer, "Possible Side Effects" is for you.
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Format: Hardcover
more weirdness from my favorite writer. vignettes ranging from being terrorized by the tooth fairy to a dog named cow. delighted to see an appearance from his bizarre family again. maybe because his family's neurosis resembled mine. slightly twisted, slightly campy, always funny. some might find his humor a little too dark, not me. he's also discovered he's no longer unrecognizable to the public. my favorite chapter is the one on his brother who for years went undiagnosed with asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. their interaction with each other is often hilarious, and I loved his brother's nickname's for his family, augusten was "varmint", mom was "slave" and dad "stupid". the back flap has augusten's website address. where he previews his next three books. many giggles throughout, and every bit as funny as anything david sedaris has written. seemingly effortless writing, and razor sharp wit. some may say that it's not up to his usual high standards, but I disagree.
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Format: Hardcover
"Possible Side Effects" is a side-splittingly funny, brilliantly self-aware autobiography that reads like a novel. Burroughs' book puts you squarely into his head. And if you're the type of person destined to be a Burroughs' fan, you'll probably be relieved to get out of your own head for a while.

Does David Sedaris make you laugh so hard you cry? Then you'll also love Burroughs -- a wonderful and insightful writer who does all of the heavy lifting for us lucky stiffs in his adoring audience.

Buy this book. Read it. Wait a while. Read the best parts again. Then give it to someone who's been good lately. Better yet, give it to someone who's been bad.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of this guy, bought this as soon as I could get my hands on it, and cruised right though it. I loved it, and if you like Burroughs' frantic, neurotic writing, like I do, you will not be disappointed. Just like I did while reading his other books, I found myself vascilating between squrming and laughing. And for me, this is the true indicator of good writing -- it grabs me emotionally and makes me feel something.

In this latest collection you'll find essays about Burrough's days spent in the world of advertising, and of course trips back to his (almost unbelievably) tragic childhood. He's stopped drinking and doping by now, but seems to have replaced these vices with other addictions -- nicotine gum, junk food, and, as always, wild, out-of-control introspection.

You'll also find more stories about his brother with Asperger's Syndrom and his depressed mother, all written with a level of sincerity and wry wit that should make David Sedaris jealous.

Is it all true? I've never thought all of his stories were true, and I haven't really cared, but this is the first of his books to actually come out and admit it, in an introductory note. The writing is so good it doesn't really matter. As one other famous memoirist said: Pretend it's fiction.
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