Review: You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

Title: You Better Not Cry

Author: Augusten Burroughs

Genre/Pages: Memoir/224

Publication: St. Martin’s Press; October 27, 2009

Rating: 1.5  Bookmarks

Source: Library

A collection of bleak, holiday-themed essays, most that left me feeling like jabbing an icicle into my eye and skipping every Christmas until eternity.

With a mere 183 days until Christmas, what better way to herald in the season than with a collection of holiday essays by a darkly witty author?  Sadly, instead of putting me in the mood for the season, this book left me feeling melancholy.  I wasn’t expecting some feel-good book but didn’t think this would be such a spirit-crusher!

As a memoir fan, I’ve read all of Augusten Burroughs’s other books–I even read his brother’s memoir–and have liked them well enough.  But with this one, as with Jen Lancaster’s most recent, it seems that both of these authors are struggling with the same memoirist malaise that comes from running their respective story wells dry.

Burroughs’s holiday collection ran the gamut from his less-than-idyllic childhood holidays to his sometimes-drunken adult ones.  The laughs weren’t forthcoming as in previous books, and some of the situations were so depressing–losing entire days in a drunken stupor only to find himself huddled with a group of homeless people on the street on Christmas morning–that I almost couldn’t finish the book.

I soldiered on but was ultimately disappointed by Burroughs’s latest installment.


  1. I’ve never read Augusten Burroughs – only seen the movie adaptation of Running with Scissors. But have seen this book heavily promoted in stores currently and been wondering about it. Thanks for the heads-up. Will keep reading my book about rats.
    .-= Dishy´s last blog ..Dress Quest 2010 =-.

  2. I haven’t read any of Burroughs books yet, but I do have his ‘running with scissors’ on my bookcase right now. That’s a bit of a bummer to hear that this book didn’t live up to his past books. Looks like they’ve run out of writing material without being repetitive and doing a been there done that sort of thing. Hopefully they’ll get out of their slump though. Thanks for the review on this book. At least I know I can read all of his other books instead.
    .-= dw´s last blog ..Review: Coop =-.

  3. Oh dear. Sorry to hear it made you feel that depressed. I have to say I love the cover though.
    .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness =-.

  4. Eek! Sounds like I need to steer clear of this one.
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Bring books back to Nashville =-.

  5. Kathleen says:

    I read Running With Scissors and while I thought parts of his story might have been exaggerated, I loved the way he wrote about his childhood. I was laughing and crying at the same time. I think I’ll skip this one as it sounds more depressing than funny.

  6. This is in my TBR pile, so I’m sad to see it’s a stinker. I was saving it for the holidays.

  7. I have to agree that the cover is pretty great – too bad the what’s inside was such a downer. 🙁

    Thank you for reading this for us so we don’t have to! 😉
    .-= Rambleicious´s last blog ..Remind you of anyone’s face? =-.

  8. I couldn’t stand Running with Scissors, so I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to read any of his other books.
    .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Book blogger lunch in beautiful Santa Barbara =-.

  9. Well, that’s a little bit of a bummer. The cover kind of grabbed me as amusing but it sounds like the stories just kind of ruined the Christmas spirit for you – good thing you weren’t reading it closer to Christmas! I think I’ll skip this one for sure but I might check out some of Burroughs’s other pieces as it sounds like you enjoyed them.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Review- Enchanted- Inc =-.

  10. I do think that is the problem with memoirists … at some point, the well runs dry.
    .-= Jenners´s last blog ..What Ive Been Doing Cause It Hasnt Been Blogging And SM5S Link =-.

  11. Interestingly, I’m reading Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and he writes about how having things not come naturally to you means you have to dig deep to do them, specifically when it comes to writing. It made me think about how I definitely have one or two books in me but have no idea what I’d write about after that. And now Augusten has me even more worried.
    .-= Unapologetically Mundane´s last blog ..Everyone Can See You with Your Finger Up Your Nose =-.

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