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Sellevision

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,055 Ratings  ·  839 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kent
Jul 09, 2008 Kent rated it liked it
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
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Carmen
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Cynical people who like to laugh
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
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Jennie
May 27, 2008 Jennie rated it did not like it
Shelves: popular-fiction
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
Benjamin Siess
Aug 04, 2011 Benjamin Siess rated it really liked it
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
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Vincent
Mar 11, 2010 Vincent rated it did not like it

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
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Chloe
Aug 14, 2009 Chloe rated it really liked it
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
Rebecca McNutt
Jul 19, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was ok
I liked the story, but the crass language and the author's self-insertion into the main character got on my nerves.
Teela
Nov 06, 2009 Teela rated it it was amazing
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
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Pat F.
Feb 25, 2015 Pat F. rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, satire, media
Here's the ins and outs of a home shopping network cast of characters, as told via the warped perspective of the man who gave us Running with Scissors.

Things are humming along nicely for everyone at Sellevision when one fine day, one of the senior hosts accidentally exposes himself during a live segment aimed at children and their parents. Turns out to be the beginning of a major downward spiral for the network. Shortly after, another host finds herself the target of a stalker and becomes progre
...more
David
Jul 30, 2015 David rated it did not like it
I think (?) this was Augusten's debut novel, and frankly, I'm surprised they gave him a second chance after this one (which would have been a shame, because I normally get a big kick out of his humor and writing style)! It is a disjointed conglomeration of narratives of vapid shopping network hosts absurd lives. It's awful. I've read 'Kindle First' books that were better than this, and that is not a compliment.
Punk
Jun 14, 2007 Punk rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
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
Megan
Aug 17, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
I respect and thoroughly enjoy Burroughs yet this book screams first novel and it is. The characters are over the top and outrageous, just as I would hope Burroughs would write them yet there is a brilliant comedic heart missing in this fiction. His memoirs are weighty and sincere in their bitter humor. He is genuine and rich in his other work. There is no question that Augusten is a tremendous writer- I simply find that when writing from the heart, he is something more than from the imagination ...more
Kelly
Jun 25, 2012 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I barely made it through Running with Scissors years ago, but wanted to give Burroughs another chance to redeem himself. Alas, he failed yet again. I do not understand why everyone loves his books and thinks they are so wonderful--what am I missing? This story was mildly amusing at some parts and even though I know it was supposed to be a farce, a mockery of the industry in which he writes about, it still felt like he was trying too hard. Different title, different book cover, same crappy disast ...more
Matt
May 16, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Welcome to Sellevision! In an era when all your shopping can be done from your couch comes the premiere retail shopping network, complete with its collection of on-air personalities. Each host has their own personal story and collection of foibles, some of which Burroughs develops into vignettes, amusing the reader as he spins tribulations out of the most vapid situations. From the host whose live crotch cameo cost him his job to the woman who thought she could secure a position at Sellevision b ...more
lp
Jun 13, 2016 lp rated it it was ok
HAHAHAHA. God was this bad. I'm sorry, Augusten, if you're reading this though you're certainly not. But I feel like I am friends with you after reading Running With Scissors, Dry, and Lust and Wonder. I liked you so much after reading those books and was in love with your writing. I day dreamed about seeing you walking the streets of New York City. And I feel like this book was so bad that you have to know it, too. You have to agree.

I know you published it after you had already received praise
...more
Writer's Relief
Apr 23, 2015 Writer's Relief rated it really liked it
In the mood for something darkly funny and deliciously nasty? Look no further than SELLEVISION by Augusten Burroughs, a satirical look at greed and celebrity in the world of a fictional home shopping network. It opens with gorgeous fan-favorite Max Andrews accidentally exposing himself to twenty million kids during a “Toys for Tots” segment, forcing Sellevision Retail Broadcasting Network to face its first scandal. It only gets crazier from there. Burroughs peppers his biting novel with outrageo ...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
Alex
Dec 11, 2008 Alex rated it it was ok
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
Brian
May 13, 2016 Brian rated it it was ok
Snotty, easy satire (*Titantic II*, har har); "mean," and not in a good way. Paper thin characters, and Burroughs' writing has all the grace and style of a Dan Brown--the same sentence structure over and over, the same needless, gratuitous naming of items ("She stepped out of her S-Series Mercedes;" "he bit into his crispy recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken"), as though material goods are a fine substitute for characters who are otherwise lifeless automatons.
Laura
Mar 16, 2011 Laura rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t finish. Which is a rarity for me. I love love love Augusten Burroughs, but 50 pages in to Sellevision, and I still couldn’t get on board. This is Burroughs’ only novel, and I think there’s a reason for that. He’s a fantastic memoir writer, entertaining and self-deprecating, but his talent just didn’t translate well to fiction. Sellevision was supposed to be a witty commentary on our consumerist culture, but for me, it was just too surface-level. The characters w ...more
Janelle
Feb 16, 2009 Janelle rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs is a behind the scenes look into the lives of the quirky hosts at Sellevision, the premier home shopping network. Readers are introduced to Peggy Jean, the conservative Christian being stalked by a viewer; Max, fired for accidentally exposing himself on air; BeBe, the shining jewel in the network’s crown, Trish, a rising star on the network; and Leigh, a young host sleeping with the boss. If only QVC was more like this book.

Sellevision is a fun book, though near
...more
Maya
Dec 19, 2009 Maya rated it really liked it
Shelves: ir-books
Sellevision is a very inappropriate book about a few people who worked for said TV channel. One of them has an affair with her boss; another has a psychopathic son and an obsession with femininity; and a third accidentally reveals his penis on national television, and then becomes a porn star. The forth is the boss who is having an affair.

The main external conflict in this book is that all the previously said things happened. However more important than them simply happening is the fact that the
...more
Kate Schultz
Oct 01, 2013 Kate Schultz rated it it was amazing
Super funny look at home shopping networks and the people who work for them. I was expecting a series of essay from this book, as I had been used to from Burroughs' other books. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a fiction novel. Burroughs followed five or six characters that all work for Sellevision, the nation's top home shopping network. The book is fun and funny--I read it rather quickly because the characters are so vivid--they border on stereotypical, but then the do something that mak ...more
Shannon
Jun 04, 2009 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: not-in-library
Augusten Burroughs' first novel... I thought it kind of read like a first novel -- a little unsure of itself, sometimes weird transitions, strange ending -- but I did enjoy it.

I'd read "Running with Scissors" so I was interested to see what Burroughs would do with a novel. He created some very vivid characters (I swear I know a few Peggy Jeans), and totally committed to the whole "home shopping network" vibe of the novel/characters/settings.

"Sellevision" was an easy read, fun, naughty in parts
...more
Jeremy Preacher
Oct 31, 2011 Jeremy Preacher rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I would have liked this better had I read it on the plane, which was my intent - it's not quite the sort of thing I dig, but it was funny enough. It's wildly over-the-top, which is kind of its only charm - from the intro, where the only sympathetic character gets fired from his Home Shopping Network-type job for a wardrobe malfunction of the highest order, it doesn't let up on the broad caricatures or ridiculous action.

It's badly dated, of course, but that can't be helped. I wasn't totally a fan
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Giuseppe D
Jun 15, 2016 Giuseppe D rated it really liked it
Yes, this book is very light-hearted and definitely not mind-blowing but damn was it funny!! I really like Augusten Burroughs!
Heather Friedman
Apr 07, 2014 Heather Friedman rated it liked it
Ha. Definitely a LOL book. A quick and entertaining read of the silly lives of the hosts for a shopping network. If you need a pick-me-up, this is a great fix.
Sarah
Jul 30, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
A hilarious, entertaining look at the lives of home shopping hosts once the cameras stop rolling. I could not put this book down, it was so funny. A great quick, funny read.
Mandy Wultsch
Jul 03, 2016 Mandy Wultsch rated it it was amazing
This book is just plain fun. The action is quick and the writing is very smart; it was a pleasure to read. It starts with the lead character, a host of a Home Shopping Network-type of channel, getting fired for flashing the audience of a Toys for Tots Christmas show because he chose not to wear any underwear under his bathrobe after he spilled a drink on himself before the show. (Who can blame him? I know I wouldn’t want to be running around in wet underwear for an hour or so.)

The book follows n
...more
Brian
Feb 18, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
“Sellevision” is Augusten Burroughs’ only novel, to date, and having read all of his works it is safe to say that his forte is nonfiction. Although the plot is a good one, characterization is weak in this text and characterization is what makes for the best fiction. Still, it is an enjoyable read.
The novel is a little dated, it was published in 2000, and I had to often chuckle at characters who express shock and amazement at email, and photos being sent as JPEG files, etc. It is not a weakness o
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #66 Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs 1 2 Jun 20, 2014 08:30PM  
Sellevision: very funny take on consumerism 2 16 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
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“I'm a sunflower with a cracked petal.” 4 likes
“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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