After Running With Scissors, his memoir of his childhood, I didn’t think Augusten Burroughs could offer anything more enjoyable. As it turns out, though, Dry is even better. It documents his attempts to conquer his alcoholism whilst at the same time dealing with his advertising job and the illness of his friend, Pighead (who is HIV positive). The recounting of his adventures is very funny, but there is more emotional depth in Dry than in Scissors. Burroughs’ writing is much better in this book as well, with long stretches that are unbearably tragic or moving.
An honest account of alcoholism, Dry taught me many things about the affliction that I didn’t know in a way that makes me sympathise with alcoholics more than I did before. He talks about rehab and therapy and the dinginess of AA meetings, and informs the reader of how alcoholism is an open-ended thing, something that never stops until you die. Without being able to ever “complete” it, the difficulty of staying sober is articulately expressed.
Funny, moving, heartfelt, Dry is an excellent memoir.