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You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,960 Ratings  ·  696 Reviews
The Santa flasher on the cover is only the first full frontal surprise in Augusten Burroughs's book. The man who went Running with Scissors is back with an equally reckless batch of memories, monologues, and hangover aftermaths. True to the subtitle, most of these tales of personal excess concern the holidays, when everything goes woefully and ridiculously wrong when you w ...more
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 1st 2009)
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ADignorantium It's a collection of humorous and sometimes heartbreaking essays recalling Christmas memories of Augusten Burroughs, from childhood to adulthood. I…moreIt's a collection of humorous and sometimes heartbreaking essays recalling Christmas memories of Augusten Burroughs, from childhood to adulthood. I thought it a perfect November/December read. (less)
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Schmacko
Dec 03, 2009 Schmacko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the realm of today’s gay memoirists, there are two legends: David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs.

David Sedaris (The Santaland Diaries, Naked, When Engulfed in Flames) tells charming, quaint stories to his wacky Geek family. His stories include odd jobs (being a holiday elf for Macy’s) and strange stories that hide a sweet humanity (like when his sister brought a hooker home for the holidays in “Dinah the Christmas Whore.”) Sedaris is kooky but cuddly; he started telling his stories on Nationa
...more
Jeff
Dec 06, 2009 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Augusten Burroughs, why do I love you? You infuriate me sometimes, but I just can’t quit you.

“You Better Not Cry” is not laugh-out-loud hysterical, but rather chuckle-in-the-back-of-your-throat cynicism laced with pull-at-the-heart-strings-despite-yourself sentimentality. The funny thing about Augusten’s breezy Christmas anthology is that for all the times you feel like it is an anti-holiday holiday book, it is actually filled with some extraordinarily lovely moments of … well, the Christmas
...more
K.D. Absolutely
This is my third book by Augusten Burroughs and I am beginning to understand him. Maybe because I was just prompted by Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man that made a tremendous impact on me and I was able to relate to his character – an aging gay literature professor. I am aging but I am not any of the other three but still the very moving prose of Isherwood made me emphatize with middle-age gay guys like Burroughs.

In my mind, gays come in two types: the quiet decent sometimes-closeted type an
...more
kristin
Dec 04, 2010 kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book because I identify with it (is this the most common reason for liking things? I like people for the same reason). Burroughs loved Christmas as a child, and so did I. Burroughs hated Christmas as an adult, and so did I. That’s pretty vague. That’s because my mother was not a mental case, my father was not a nasty asshole, and I was not dealing with confusing feelings about my sexuality. My childhood, however dissatisfying it was, was about a hundred times nicer than his.

On to th
...more
The Holy Terror
I give 3 stars to the first few stories and 1 star to the last few for an average of 2 stars. The first couple of stories tell about Burroughs's childhood memories of past Christmases. Two stories are about how he used to confuse Santa with Jesus and also when he bit the wax face off of a life-size Santa Claus and I was actually laughing out loud while reading them. They were funny and easier to relate to than the stories he recounted of his adulthood. Burroughs's childhood stories are lighter t ...more
Caris
Dec 05, 2009 Caris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, christmas
Every year, new Christmas books are published and line the new books shelf at the library like tacky decorations on a Wal-Mart display. And, without fail, every year, people tell me that I have to read some new seasonal book like The Christmas Box or Skipping Christmas or some other piece of Hallmark bullshit that makes me want to put my eyes out with a barbecue fork. I always decline.

But I always want to read something special for the season, because I love Christmas. I always have. I still get
...more
Megan Anderson
I'd give this five stars, except I'm not so sure about some of the stories. The first few are downright hysterical--I was crying as he described the gingerbread house. However, the later stories of grown-up Christmases are a little more introspective. Not that they're bad, necessarily, but it's like the movie Moulin Rouge, in that everything starts off funny and by the end you're feeling sort of depressed. I've liked the way Burroughs writes since I first read his books in college, and I especia ...more
Topher Hooperton
Jan 03, 2011 Topher Hooperton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Augusten Burroughs has carved a literary career from exposing his troubled family life in Running With Scissors and A Wolf At The Table.

Now, with You Better Not Cry, he brings us a festive series of recollections about the disastrous Christmases he has experienced.

The early stories tread familiar ground, drawing us back to the young Augusten and his fractious relationship with his mentally unstable mother, taciturn brother, and angry, alcoholic father, and the litany of failures and mishaps (to
...more
Jamie
Nov 29, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read any Augusten Burroughs, but this is the 3rd one I've listened to. Running with Scissors and Dry are two of my favorite audiobooks ever.

I also have a touch of OCD, and I can never ever ever ever ever not finish a book. If it's awful, I'll try and read it as fast as possible, but I'll ALWAYS ALWAYS finish.

So, the first 2 stories on this cd were SO BAD that I nearly quit listening and called it a day. I was getting ready to go on a long drive, and listening to this was going to dr
...more
Denise
Dec 21, 2009 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Augusten Burroughs book yet! I was a little skeptical at first. The book starts with some of his darkest stories from his childhood and early days as an alcoholic. They are fascinating in the way a train wreck is, you just can't bring yourself to look away. Slowly, as you work your way through the book, the stories begin to change as Augusten's idea of Christmas evolves. There is the Christmas a group of homeless people take him in, look after him, and teach him to accept hel ...more
Cheri
Christmas can be such a busy time of year, the hustle and bustle of it all. Sometimes that’s fine, and sometimes you (or, more specifically me, myself and I) need a break from the “too much” of it all. Augusten Burroughs “You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas,” a compilation of chronologically told stories of Christmases past, was hopefully just the right thing to bring some merry into the picture.
His tales are occasionally charming, funny, heartfelt, sweet and sad, maybe even depressing, b
...more
aaron
Nov 10, 2009 aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another memoir by burroughs, another great read. by now you either know augusten burroughs' work or you haven't even heard of him. this is just another in his witty, slightly melodramatic recounts of his life. this one tackles the topic of christmas and gives a few looks into the disaster that christmas can turn out to be. he hits a few ages in this collection, starting from when he was young to just recently. they are all interesting looks into burroughs' psyche which just makes them an interes ...more
JP
Apr 12, 2014 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I didn't know what to expect from this book. I guess, when it's coming from Augusten Burroughs, I always knew that it would be quirky but I assumed it could not be any weirder than his most famous piece: Running with Scissors. Eventually I stood corrected.

The story revolves around Burroughs’ memory of Christmas across several points of time. However, it’s not going to be a white-Christmas-and-glowing-tree kind of story as disconcerting events and morbid conversations demand being prese
...more
Chris
Dec 13, 2009 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
But you will cry when you read these stories-either from laughter or sadness. The adult ones are Christmases not to remember, but ones you can't escape. If this were a movie it would be "Brokeback Mountain" meets "A Christmas Story." The stories as a young boy are hilarious. The ones as a self proclaimed alcoholic with lovers dying from AIDS are poignant and dark. A very different book that stimulates you to think of all your Christmases.
Mary Lou
Dec 16, 2015 Mary Lou rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
When will they stop allowing authors to read their own audio books? Neil Gaiman is the only one I know who does a good job of it. Augusten Burroughs is among the worst. Someone should have had the guts to tell him how awful he is. So after listening to an excruciating three chapters, I just couldn't do it any longer, but tried to be fair and thought that the text itself might actually be amusing if properly read, so I turned in the audio for a print copy. Regrettably, chapter four consisted of B ...more
Joanna
This is my first time to read an Augusten Burroughs' memoir and I am delighted to have started with his stories for Christmas.

His stories are not your typical Christmas stories of love, giving gifts, spending time with family or loved one, or caroling houses. It's about how a curious child can shape the real meaning of Christmas as a substance, and not only a holiday while knowing Santa and celebrating Christmas itself at unusual situations. While he questioned about Santa or Jesus Christ's birt
...more
Carmen
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, but especially addicts of any kind
Augusten Burroughs really blew this one out of the water. He made me laugh, he made me sad (I can't say 'cry'), he was touching and sincere, mean and petty, spiteful and backstabbing.

STORY 1: You Better Not Cry. A hilarious story of Augusten's childhood and his inability to tell Jesus and Santa apart.

STORY 2: And Two Eyes Made Out of Coal. A funny story about Little Augusten's failed attempt to make a gingerbread house, ending with love for his brother.

STORY 3: Claus and Effect. A story that giv
...more
Amy
A nice little short story collection. I tend to like Burroughs' full-length memoirs better than his short story collections - but then I generally like novels better than short stories. Still, in this case, I liked how the short story format allowed Burroughs to explore the different aspects of Christmas, from the excruciating anticipation and euphoria that you feel as a child, to the jaded outlook that budding atheists and agnostics start to adopt. I also liked that he explored the idea that Ch ...more
Lormac
Dec 03, 2010 Lormac rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What a ride, opinion-wise. There is a lot to say about this book, believe it or not. My opinion of the book kept changing as I listened to the stories. (I listened to it on CD.) Here are my reactions in order: #1 More often than not it is a huge mistake to let the authori read his own work, and this is a case in point. Burroughs' voice is so annoying inthe first couple of stories that it drive me crazy. Try saying "stringy strands" as s-l-o-w-l-y as you possibly can, and you will get the id ...more
ALPHAreader
Dec 18, 2010 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can keep your Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp crushes. . . if I am being 100% earnest and honest, my number #1 fan-girl crush is unashamedly on gay American writer, Augusten Burroughs.

I have read every one of his books and gotten a stomach cramp from laughing too hard at each one. He is my author/reader soul-mate and I’m sure that if we ever met I would fall at his feet and beg him to be my friend. I love his sense of humour, I love his brutal honesty and I just love him. . . ‘You Better Not Cry’
...more
Aaron
Nov 25, 2009 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The newest option by Augusten Burroughs brings together seven short biographical essays relating to some of his Christmas experiences.

The stories are full of the wry wit that is found in much of the rest of his work, but I thought that the tales didn't float quite as well. In his earlier books, most of the stories had a common themed and flowed more evenly.

The earliest pieces highlight his earliest confusion between Santa and Jesus since modern America seems to celebrate them equally during the
...more
J
Dec 12, 2011 J rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When did Christmas become "the holiday you love to hate and hate to love" as described in the book jacket?!

Hating Christmas is akin to hating Shirley Temple and Easter bunnies. I've been searching for festive holiday reading material and have stumbled into a patch of snarky & cycnical books on the 'darkside' of the holidays. I get frustrated and stressed during the holidays too, but I'm shocked that anyone would take the time to write (or read) a negative book about the holidays. I don't en
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Was this supposed to be funny?

...Oh my god, that's just sad.

This is one case where you should most definitely judge the book by its cover; nevermind the fact that Augusten Burroughs is notorious for possibly publishing malicious lies about his guardian family in the memoir Running With Scissors, but not only is this next book of his incredibly hard to believe ever truly happened, but its "humor" really crosses the line from being dark humor to nasty, crass and disgusting.
Cindi Moss
Nov 17, 2014 Cindi Moss rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. This is the first time I've done an audio book with Augusten, and he narrated his own book. Usually, I love that. But I didn't enjoy his narration as much as I usually do. Not sure if it was his speech patterns or where he put emphasis, but it didn't work for me. Still, the text overall was enjoyable, especially the beginning with Jesus/Santa - that part had be rolling with laughter. :)
Claire
Jan 05, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Burroughs is in top form again with a series of episodes from his life occurring around Christmas. Outrageous, horrifying, moving, full of humor and humanity. Through it all, I was rooting for him. The stories occur at different points in his life, but I always felt in the often Oh No! moment with him.

If you liked Running With Scissors, you'll like this.

Note well: it's not fluffy Christmas stories for children. Nor does one need to be into Christmas to enjoy it. He spent time fed up with the com
...more
Judy
May 25, 2011 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book at Christmas, but I didn't want to read it then and get mental pictures lodged in my mind that would last beyond New Year's. So, I put the book into the pile and just read it. Yes, I read a Christmas book while sitting outside in shorts and a polo shirt. Still loved it. This book is hysterical, disturbing, heart-warming,and a tad bit sad. Burroughs brings his own twist to the holiday season. Okay, he once ate the wax face off a life-size Santa (whom he confused with Jesus to ...more
Lynn
Jan 22, 2013 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a Borders employee when I read this; Borders had selected it as a "make" book, so I read it. I laughed hysterically at certain points and was confounded at other times, for various reasons. I forewarned all my coworkers to screen customers showing interest for language and homosexuality...since the store was located in what I feel to be a conservative area. I am interested to read some of his other books now. His writing is raw and uncensored to a great degree, at least in my opinion! By b ...more
Joyce Mason
Mar 24, 2010 Joyce Mason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my hands-down favorite of all the Augusten Burroughs books I have read to date. As the book flap says, he's "pathologically honest" and this time, he's not just painfully funny but totally touching as he recounts moments of both love and madness about the holiday packed with such longing and often disappointment. As a writer myself, there are few times I have what I call "Venus envy," where a passage is so beautifully written, I wish I'd done it myself. There were a half-dozen of those f ...more
Beth
Oct 31, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed with holiday collection of stories, Burroughs has a great self-deprecating style. I liked the childhood centered tales the best. In one, he thinks Jesus and Santa are the same person (horrifying his grandparents) and spends Christmas day getting his stomach pumped, and another year, he deviously asks for something ridiculously expensive and impossible, thus ensuring he gets everything else on his list.

Later stories are well told, insightful, humorous, not as cheery, and more adu
...more
Laren
Jan 20, 2010 Laren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, humor, essays
For his latest foray into his life, the author relates significant Christmas-themed tales. As always, humor abounds. By far the funniest is the first one, in which he relates just how confused he was about Jesus and Santa Claus as a child, and why. Several of the tales are for adult readers only (drunken stupors with homeless people, anonymous sex with "Santa") and if you can't stomach the fact that he is gay, you should skip this altogether, because you probably won't properly appreciate the be ...more
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Augusten Burroughs born Christopher Robison, son of poet and writer Margaret Robison and younger brother of John Elder Robison.

Burroughs has no formal education beyond elementary school. A very successful advertising copywriter for over seventeen years, he was also an alcoholic who nearly drank himself to death in 1999. But spurned by a compulsion he did not understand, Burroughs began to write a
...more
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“And I began to let him go. Hour by hour. Days into months. It was a physical sensation, like letting out the string of a kite. Except that the string was coming from my center.” 85 likes
“Acceptance, when it comes, arrives in waves: Listen with your chest. You will feel a pendulum swing within you, favoring one direction or another. And that is your answer. The answer is always inside your chest. The right choice weighs more. That's how you know. It causes you to lean in its direction.” 58 likes
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