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You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas Hardcover – October 27, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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Review

"[Burroughs] matches fine perceptive writing with heartfelt, note-[erfect narrating, achieving an emotional power few audiobooks can match. Burrough's life can be a wild ride, and his reading can match it, but it's a ride worth taking." –AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner
 
"Burroughs reads with such ease and candor he seems more old friend than narrator. With his crisp diction, smooth delivery, and relentlessly funny material, Burroughs could easily have a new career as a performer, but for now, listeners can give thanks for this early Christmas present." – Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
 
"In his trademark wit and self-deprecating humor, author Augusten Burroughs compiles his favorite Christmas memories in his new book, You Better Not Cry." – VanityFair.com
 
"Burroughs has the sort of distinct voice that lends his stories a memorable charm." –CreativeLoafing.com
 
"...He [Burroughs] takes listeners on a rollicking, personal chronological tour of some of his more memorable Christmases...this is laugh-out-loud stuff that nevertheless, with genuine warmth and sensitivity, pays homage to the spirit of giving for which the holiday season is known." - Sound Commentary
 
"This most candid of memorists evokes poignancy and a kind of subversive nostalgia, spiked with flaws and good intentions." - BookPage
 
"He [Burroughs] matches fine perceptive writing with heartfelt, note-perfect narrating, achieving an emotional power few audiobooks can match. Burroughs's life can be a wild ride, and his reading can match it, but it's a ride worth taking." - AudioFile magazine, Earphones Award Winner
 
"Burroughs' stories about Christmas memories alternate between loopy and hilarious and poignant and heartfelt. Burroughs matches his reading style to each story superbly." - Audiopolis, a blog from AudioFile
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312341911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312341916
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Keith on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Burroughs writes once again about his childhood as it pertains to Christmas memories. Unlike his other works, which are often funny and/or poignant, this collection is simply grotesque. The author makes all of his characters, including himself, out to be the most odious people on the planets. The childhood Burroughs comes off as mentally challenged and slightly unsound. He paints an unsympathetic picture of his mother as drugged up and disgusting. There is none of the reflection or humor of his previous writings. Everyone else in his life is either drunk or dim-witted. These stories are a far cry from his thoughful, moving, and humorous memoirs and essays.

The book is not helped by Burroughs' reading of his work for the CD. He apparently attended the School of Pretentious Acting to prepare for this audio book. He does a great job reading his earlier works, and I still enjoy them and marvel at what a good writer he is. This collection, however, along with "A Wolf at the Table", is so overly emoted and annoyingly smug that it undermines any good writing that may have snuck through his catty attitude.

I advise any person new to Burroughs to avoid this work. I highly recommend "Running with Scissors", "Dry", "Magical Thinking", and "Possible Side-Effects". "Wolf at the Table" and this collection are not his best, and especially stay away from the audio editions. If you are already a fan, just know that these stories are a major disappointment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Because he makes you feel like like they really are true. But this book is very contrived-feeling, with some stories that because they don't feel like they come from life, just feel offensive. He can really get away with telling us some horrific stuff when it feels like we join him in a journey about life, about being human, about truths. But there are stories in here that are inflicted upon us, about attention seeking lies, about lying gratuitous vulgarity, about false and beautiful icing pretending it's not on a sh*& cupcake. I'm dissappointed. Someone needed money and wrote this piece of crap knowing it would sell because some of us out here are loyal to _Augusten Burroughs_. What a letdown.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My book club always chooses a Christmas themed book for December. It's what we do. We've read everything from warm and heartwarming books like Christmas Jars to the weird and raunchy like Holiday with a Vampire. Someone chose to read this book this year and I was excited as I'm a big Burroughs fan.

This book is, of course, Christmas themed. More importantly, it doesn't disappoint from his previous work. There's the complete laugh-out-loud pee-your-pants stories. But there's also a lot of introspective and real-life stories that show a side of Augusten that warms my heart.

This was actually my second favorite book from this author, my favorite being Dry. Both because of how he opens his heart and life to the readers but also because he truly knows how to make me laugh. His humor is not for everyone (a few of members disliked it - a lot), it's very wry and more than a little dark.

The stories all wonderful in their own way.

Highly recommended for fans of humorous memoirs or those that can "get" that humor that is Augusten Burroughs.
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Format: Hardcover
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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