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You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas Hardcover – October 27, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Burroughs's holiday-themed memoir lacks the consistent emotional intensity of his earlier work, despite a few gems. Arranged roughly chronologically, the vignettes begin with concrete Christmas memories (preparing a detailed, multipart list of desired presents in Claus and Effect) and move toward musings on the spirit of the holiday (facing a flooded house with an atheist partner in Silent Night). While the childhood stories have Burroughs's trademark dry wit—he once gnawed the face off a life-size Saint Nick made of wax—they aren't particularly memorable. It's when he turns his attention to the less tangible essence of the holiday that the writing comes alive, especially in the final two pieces, The Best and Only Everything and Silent Night. In the former, Burroughs (Running with Scissors) remembers a long-ago Christmas spent with a former lover dying of AIDS and in the latter, which takes place a decade later, he describes dealing not only with a burst water pipe but also feeling ready to celebrate the season with a tree for the first time since the death of his old boyfriend. (Nov.)
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“In his trademark wit and self-deprecating humor . . . Burroughs compiles his favorite Christmas memories. From gnawing the face off of a life-size wax Santa to waking up beside a naked real-life Saint Nick at the Waldorf Astoria, Burroughs spares no details describing why Christmas has always been his favorite holiday.” ―Vanity Fair
“For those who like their holiday spirit with gallons of vodka and a heaping portion of irreverence, You Better Not Cry is at times a laugh-out-loud read. . . . Burroughs is as frank and revealing as ever. . . . Fans won't be disappointed.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“Burroughs succeeds best at evoking true holiday spirit, reminding us that whatever's left after the bulbs stop twinkling, the cookies are all eaten, and the trees lose their tinsel is what's most important.” ―Elle
“Terribly funny, in his tragically honest style . . . You may not cry, but you'll definitely laugh.” ―The Miami Herald--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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I will say that I didn't laugh or cry although I did get a little misty on the last page. As usual, I was fascinated by Burroughs' stories. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a talented writer and as has happened before with Burroughs' books, I read this in one sitting.
These aren't the kind of stories that are going to give you a warm fuzzy feeling about Christmas, but they might stay with you longer than more traditional heartwarming Christmas stories. They speak of the human condition--failed dreams, terminal illness, and lonely times. There is nothing like Christmas to make people who are alone, temporarily or permanently, to feel even more isolated, courtesy of the canned Christmas music everywhere.
But there is love here--amazing, breathtaking love. I found these stories to be bittersweet. Burroughs does bittersweet very well.