Sellevision
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Sellevision

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  10,755 ratings  ·  729 reviews
Darkly funny and gleefully mean-spirited, Sellevision explores greed, obsession and third tier celebrity, in the world of a fictional home shopping network.

Welcome to the troubled world of Sellevision, America's premier retail broadcasting network. When Max Andrews, the much-loved and handsome (lonely and gay) host of "Slumber Sunday Sundown" accidentally exposes himself i...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Picador (first published September 7th 2000)
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Kent
Well, after reading several of Burroughs’ works, I can’t say I have an overly high opinion of his contributions. When I first asked a friend who this Burroughs person was and if I’d enjoy reading him, they told me that he was similar to David Sedaris and that if I liked Sedaris, I’d like Burroughs. Well, the truth is that I LOVE Sedaris, and tolerate Burroughs.

They both seem to draw largely on personal experiences to weave humorous stories that people can relate to. How can that go wrong, you mi...more
Jennie
I was sorry I didn't care for this book since I adore Augusten Burroughs. It wasn't particularly terrible but it was just a cheap, trashy read that I didn't associate with the witty, biting and unflinchingly honest prose of Burroughs' memoirs. As other readers have mentioned this was a typical airplane read - rife with cliques, flat characters and plot lines that manage to be both absurd and predictable. Its zaniness reminded me a bit of a Carl Hiassen paperback. At any rate it appears fiction i...more
Carmen
Feb 23, 2014 Carmen rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Cynical people who like to laugh
Shelves: fiction
This book revolves around various people who worked or used to work for Sellevision, Burroughs version of the Home Shopping Network.

Max, who is fired for an accidental penis-exposure on air, is searching for a new job.

Peggy Jean is a perfectly coiffed, God-fearing, church-going, proper wife and mother of three. As an unknown malicious someone starts sending her threatening e-mails and packages, her perfect little world starts to unravel. Suddenly vodka and valium are needed to get her through t...more
Chloe
Aug 14, 2009 Chloe rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone turned off by Burroughs' memoirs
I am not a fan of Augusten Burroughs. I think I can specifically remember the moment when I decided this. I was standing behind the counter at the Borders I was working for at the time reading Dry, Burroughs' retelling of his time as an Ad Exec and alcoholic, when I read a paragraph that struck me as especially odious and, quite literally, hurled the book onto the floor and stomped away. I don't know who it was that decided that people who have had moderately-fucked up lives were deserving of ha...more
Benjamin Siess
I liked this book quite a bit, but it had two pretty big problems.



1. There are too many characters for so small a book. It was only towards about page 180 that I figured out that Trish and Leigh were two different people. I had somehow combined them into one super character in my head until that point. I'm sure that this specific problem didn't occur for many, but it is just an example of how confusing it can be to introduce six main characters within a span of 50 pages. The big characters were...more
Teela
Augusten Burroughs never fails to impress me.

This is the first piece of fiction I've read by Mr. Burroughs but I can see where he blends some of his own existence in with this world he's created in fiction. it's the story of the human condition. The good Christian church-going woman who finds in outlet in Valium and alcohol; her husband who is sleeping with the underage neighbor; the 40 something year old woman that looks to the internet to find true love; the trust fund baby who has never had...more
Vincent

I like to watch HSN. I find it soothing. The constant happy banter and steady flow of flattery relaxes me. Even the jewelry showcases; though what I really prefer is the gadgets and only the garish women’s wear. It’s like white noise for the soul. So when my friend Justin recommended Sellevision to me it was a no-brainer to pick up. Unfortunately the book was also a no-brainer.

I thought you couldn’t go wrong with the premise but you can and Borroughs did. I know it’s a comedy but did everything...more
Punk
Fiction, This book is exactly as shallow as the people in it. The story revolves around Sellevision, a home shopping network like QVC, and the people who work there, or, in the case of Max, no longer work there. It's a trashy, unengaging read, and the POV is staggeringly inconsistent. The first two lines give you a pretty good idea about how the rest of the novel works: "You exposed your penis on national television, Max. What am I supposed to do?" This book is filled with cliches. Several times...more
Alice
I've been "reading" an awful lot of audio books I wouldn't have bothered to pick up, otherwise. It's a good way to spend all the driving time I have through work, for the most part. But sometimes, I have a book that's so puzzling I don't even know what to rate it.

I loved the satire in this book. I loved that it poked fun at consumerist culture, shallow Christianity, hypocrisy, and sensationalism. I liked the main character, Max, even though he didn't have much more personality than the other Sel...more
Tim Williams
It takes a lot to get me to give a one-star rating but maybe I should have. Here's the thing. The book has nearly no redeeming features. Plot - nope. Interesting characters that draw you in - not even close. Entertaining - not for me. Funny - I didn't find it funny at all and with none of the other elements I was wishing it was. At least if something is humorous you can ride along and laugh. Not here.

The part that bothers me the most is that apparently the writer (and some number of readers) fin...more
AJ Griffin
Jul 03, 2007 AJ Griffin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who found the Ted Haggard thing really, really satisfying
I don't think this book is going to change anyone's life. It's pretty entertaining, pretty quick, and probably could be described as "quirky" if I were the type of person who used the word "quirky." It's also kind of over the top sometimes. Personally, I'd prefer that Mr. Burroughs keep his personal life fucked up enough that he can just keep writing weird memoirs.
Sophie
Very quick and easy read. Really enjoyed it.
Trudy
This is SO funny if you aren't offended by the obscenities and very adult subject matter. One of the funniest I've read in a long time.
Margaret Knight
Definitely not as engrossing as Running With Scissors, but still a very enjoyable read!
Kim
I have become a big fan of Burroughs' books, but I was disappointed with this one. I like his more autobiographical books much better. I have always related to those works with him sharing the pain of what he's been through and how he has used humor to deal with his life experiences. I have always felt empathy for Burroughs and the characters around him in his other works. In Sellevision, I didn't feel for any of them. It may be because in Burroughs' other writings, we often start with him as a...more
Katie
I love this book. It is one of my favorites - it's the kind of book you read for the hellofit and then you remember it years later and recommend it to all your friends who enjoy sarcastic and slightly dark and cynical humor.

The characters in this book all revolve around one TV station - the shopping channel. This channel has created a couple "star" actors, or sellers, but they each begin to go through a crisis and the way each character unwinds from these situations is extremely entertaining. T...more
Tung
Three years ago I read Running with Scissors and found it funny, but largely mediocre. Two years ago, I read Dry and found it tolerable. Well, no more books by Augusten Burroughs because Sellevision is awful. The novel focuses on several characters, all of whom are hosts on a fictional home shopping cable television channel. One is fired for accidentally exposing himself on a live broadcast; another is a prim and proper lady who is being stalked by an obsessive fan, and who is completely unaware...more
Aaron
Augusten Burroughs started his writing career with his novel, which he based largely on his experiences in the advertising trade. All of the characters are tied together through their employment at Sellevision, a cable shopping network not unlike the Home Shopping Network or QVC. Each of its star hosts are about to be confronted with some personal issues.

It all starts with Max Andrews, who falls into controversy during a Toys for Tots segment on his Sunday morning brunch show. All the guests and...more
Bethia
I kept waiting for this book to become amusing. Or, at least for one of the characters to become intriguing.

The best part of this book is the fact that the setting, a home shopping channel studio, would lend itself well to a sitcom. This sitcom could be very good or hopelessly crude and sexist, ala 2 1/2 Men, but at least it has not been done before.

I have kept Augusted Burroughs at arms' length ever since he related the Christmas tree incident in 'Running With Scissors'. It seems his drunken,...more
Roxy
Alas, I have read every single book by Augusten Burroughs. Luckily, he plans on writing many more. Let me tell you something about Sellevision! It was Augusten's only real fiction novel, the rest of his books are autobiographical stories or essays. It was also the first thing he ever wrote and published, all the way back in 2000. He explained in Possible Side Effects that he wrote this book in a total of one week as he was trying to become sober. And after a few tries, he got it published. It wa...more
Deb
Well that was an wild ear-reading adventure. I'm not quite sure what to think. Funny but different. I will say that Burrough's humor is not for everyone as it is quite twisted. That said... This was a darkly humorous, weird, wacky story full of superficial people (most you love to hate) that had me laughing at times. I'd have to say the only character I did "like" was poor Max who, by total accident, exposes himself in front of a TV audience during a Toys for Tots segment of a popular TV shoppin...more
Bryan
Sellevision was entertaining enough to read and I was torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one. For entertainment value I would say its a 4. On writing quality it's a 3. Burroughs has not, thus far, hit a home run with me. I can see why many like him and I can, if I ignore my negative bias, find his writing enjoyable. However, in Sellevision, there are some big issues that were hard to get past.

1) For such a short book there are way too many characters to keep up with. I wouldn't even mind this i...more
Clifon Lesueur-brown
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tira
It is no secret that I am a huge Augusten Burroughs fan. I eat up everything that he writes and practically foam at the mouth when I learn that he is releasing a new book. With that said I have to say that I am glad that I read his other books before I read this one otherwise I do no think that my admiration for him would be there. I mean I like this book that's why I gave it 3 stars but I just like his other works better. This was so different because it is a novel and totally fiction whereas a...more
Donna
This book is Augusten Burroughs' first novel. The book follows 4 people, all hosts of the popular QVC-esque television channel called Sellevision. The first is Max, who on the very first page of the book gets fired after his penis "peeks" out during a live Slumber Party bathrobe special on the TV station. The book follws him through interviews, friendship and then an unusal career choice.

Next there's Bebe, a very popular host on Sellevision, who finds that she is getting older and lonely and me...more
Meghan
Max is a host on Sellevision, a TV home shopping network. After accidently exposing himself live on the air, he finds himself looking for new work. But is the host of a shopping channel show qualified to do anything else, especially after such a scandal? As Max searches for work, we are also introduced to the other on-air personalities of Sellevision. Peggy Jean is the perfect mother and wife, and host of Sellevision’s most popular jewelry show. But after a viewer points out a shortcoming in her...more
Jessie
After reading this, I'm really glad that Augusten Burroughs keeps mainly to non-fiction, and I sincerely hope he will never write fiction again. I love pretty much every book he's ever written, except this one. I will try not to hold it against him, since it's not his usual genre, but still.

A lot of people who reviewed this book said that they hated the character because they were shallow and vapid. I felt like that was the entire point, since this book was obviously a satire. But the whole thin...more
Milan/zzz
This was quite fast and amusing read. So trashy, superficial, actually terrifying how nothing is how it “looks”. World of shopaholic zombies with an absolute lack of empathy but in the same time religious fanatics then, gays, adulterers, porn stars…
What was quite striking is that I really don’t see the scenario in which guy’s penis accidentally pops up under bathrobe on national TV which provoked a tsunami of e-mail sent by angry mother’s in which they are threatening with child abuse lawsuit as...more
John
I became an Augusten Burroughs fan concurrently with David Sedaris so there has always been a bit of a friendly competition between the two authors in my mind. The parallels are quite obvious. Both Burroughs and Sedaris are auto-biographical and hilarious, but since this review is specifically about Sellevision, I will leave that comparison for another forum.

Sellevision was, by far, Burroughs weakest offering, and his only work of true fiction. Its plot lines are contrived and the mystery elemen...more
Alex
I want to make it known that I really do Augusten Burroughs a whole bunch. "Dry" is my favorite book. "Sellevision" is not. Maybe I'm just becoming too much of a literary fiction snob, but this book was so simple that I could never rally behind it. The basic idea is interesting enough, following the action of the hosts of a home shopping network, but the execution of that idea was incredibly muddled. There weren't really even any characters - just these one-dimensional character kernels in a ske...more
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Sellevision: very funny take on consumerism 2 14 Oct 15, 2013 08:43AM  
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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
More about Augusten Burroughs...
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“Adam had smiled at him and Max had smiled back. And then they both just stood there in that awkward silence that happens when two people are attracted to each other but don’t know what to do about it because they are strangers.” 3 likes
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