Tom's Reviews > Dry

Dry by Augusten Burroughs
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's review
Dec 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: glbt
Read in November, 2011

"Dry" is Augusten Burroughs' autobiographical account about his life as a drunk while working in advertising in New York City. For the most part, it's a compelling, madcap read, but by the last few chapters, I was starting to tire of his ups and downs. He does have many humorous passages about his time in rehab, probably the most interesting part of the book. But he tends to be murky and vague when writing about his gay love life. The image that comes through is a young guy seeking quick gratification and unwilling or unable to make commitments to either friends or lovers. So any empathy we might have for him in his struggle with alcoholism gets trumped by our distaste for his conceit. Those who have read his first autobiography, "Running with Scissors," (which he references many times) may be inclined to cut him slack, since his childhood was so chaotic. Many alcoholics might question how typical Burroughs' journey was: even when he hit bottom, he never seemed to lack money or a few friends to rely on. For yuppies who manage to hold onto their jobs despite blackouts, the story may ring true. I much preferred his anthology of short stories, "Magical Thinking." He works better in sketching out short episodes than in sustaining a lengthy narrative.
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