maricar's Reviews > Dry

Dry by Augusten Burroughs
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's review
Jun 16, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary, nonfiction

Sharp, candid, and surprisingly poignant...

The fact that I finished this book in one day probably indicates that I enjoyed it. Indeed, the only novels that I recall where I truly laughed my head off were from chick-lits, trivial as that may sound. But, really, Burroughs has managed to be disarmingly droll while being frightfully honest and self-deprecating. I can't attest if that's from being gay, the result of coming from a dysfunctional family, or perhaps from working in advertising (in New York, no less).

What made this story interesting for me was the way he narrated his excruciating battle with alcoholism, that even someone who doesn't suffer from that ailment can actually empathize with him. Definitely he refrained from being too long-winded about it, avoiding the pitfall of letting his story become boring or monotonous--his cracks about himself, his fellow addicts, down to the closet case that is his boss, openly drew chuckles from me. There was enough balance of falling into bouts of introspection as well as allowing the story to progress via the lively dialogues with the equally captivating secondary characters--the tragedy that is Pighead, the complexity and apparent exceptionality that is Foster, and the oddity namely Greer, among others. A guilty enjoyment for me as well was the encounter with the German advertising client who unwittingly provokes the imagination of Augusten to spout Nazi stereotypes.

Unexpected, though, was the striking insight into repressed emotions and the ability of a person to love another despite seemingly insurmountable flaws. Augusten's relationships perfectly capture what I think is a quintessentially urban tendency of people nowadays to tirelessly compensate for what they think they are missing in life. In a way, this novel shows how cheerless that condition is, and, at the same time, be unafraid of what is, after all, a price for being human.

Augusten's narration of what his childhood was, the blatant abandonment he experienced from his parents, the perversion done to him as a teenager, makes the reader in turns awed and morbidly fascinated with the man that he has become. There were times our protagonist was readily aware of his shortcomings--from keeping up with the AA meetings to juggling his relationships with Pighead and Foster--and if those weren't uncomfortable enough, the reader is also made cognizant of his glaring denials about how he was living his life, pre- and post-rehab.

I highly recommend this novel. Whether one is seeking an understanding of alcoholism, or simply in want of a refreshing, entertaining read--granted it's peeking into the "memoirs" of a self-confessed mess--this story will take you from laughs to sadness, hope to sorrow. (and back again). Without a doubt, this work proves that Burroughs is an Original.
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Quotes maricar Liked

Augusten Burroughs
“...handsome people are always interesting to watch. But a handsome person in crisis is riveting.”
Augusten Burroughs, Dry

Reading Progress

04/01 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Christa (new)

Christa Jones Nice review! I felt much the same.

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