Rachel's Reviews > Possible Side Effects

Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs
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's review
Jun 04, 2011

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Read in May, 2011

This collection of memoir essays covers everything from blind-dating lesbians to incontinent dogs, and a wide assortment of topics in between. It would be difficult to identify a specific theme among these topics, save perhaps the cause-and-effect relationships that seem to guide the scrapes and gaffes we all encounter in daily living. Burroughs takes the mundane and makes it funny, and if that doesn't work, he hyperbolizes it to death until you just have to laugh because it is so darned strange.

I'm not even going to try to make this review particularly objective, because my reading of this book was so very subjective. I get really angsty about certain topics, especially embarrassing situations or an expose of people's bad habits or activities. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that, even though Burroughs addresses topics that would usually set off my angst buzzers, he was able to do so with enough humor and even sensitivity that I wasn't particularly creeped out, and never once felt the need to put the book down. In other words, his topics may be weird, but for the most part he addresses them tastefully. Sort of.

I will admit that the book had sort of a haphazard feel that made me wonder whether all of his writing is this jumbled, but I can tell from reading other reviews that this isn't considered Burroughs's best work, and it seems that some of his longer memoirs are much more skillfully crafted. Regardless, I'm sufficiently intrigued and amused by this collection to consider trying his other works as well.

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