Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"'s Reviews > This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.

This Is How by Augusten Burroughs
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May 29, 12

bookshelves: av, how-to, nonfiction, four-star-nonfiction
Read in March, 2012

May 25, 2012 UPDATE: News flash for Burroughs fans. I wrote this review long before the book was released. Now it has been out for a few weeks, and it is receiving a big thumbs down from people who have loved his other books. Personally, I found his previous books more dark than funny, but I seem to be in the minority. So pay attention here. THIS IS NOT LIKE HIS OTHER BOOKS. There are a lot of angry readers out there who ordered the book without reading advance reviews, and now they're all bent out of shape because it's not what they expected.

If you've read the author's autobiographical works, you know he's been through more ugliness than most of us. Here he shares a distillation of his life's lessons, and the techniques that did and did not work for him along the way.

This Is How is a catch-all self-help book for the desperate, the disillusioned, or the merely curious. The laughs are there, as expected, but Augusten Burroughs is very much in earnest with his messages. There are 28 short chapters ranging from How To Be Fat to How To Let a Child Die.

Burroughs is the kind of friend you want to have around when it's time to stop whining and wallowing and get serious about change. He'll give you that boot in the backside followed by a gentle exhortation to be hopeful and optimistic. "Stop lying to yourself, but don't you dare give up" is the overarching theme in the book.

A lot of what you'll find here is common sense, but Burroughs's delivery motivates you to use that sense in a practical way. His style is often hard-hitting, occasionally punctuated by coarse language. What's surprising, though, is the tenderness and insight that accompany his boldness.

One-size-fits-all looks a little different on each person, but there's something here for everyone. What I found irrelevant may be just what someone else needs to hear. Even the parts that don't apply to you will have information to help you be more sensitive to the struggles of others.
For me this is the best out of all of Burroughs's books.

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Reading Progress

03/22/2012 page 107
45.0% ""You cannot be a prisoner of the past against your will. Because you can only live in the past inside your mind."" 1 comment
03/24/2012 page 196
82.0% ""You would be amazed by what you can give up, lose, or break, and yet still be a person who gets happy over brownies.""

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Judy (new) - added it

Judy This is intriguing. Do you recommend it, Jeanette?


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Judy, normally I would tell you to steer clear of Burroughs, but this one might be an exception. His autobiographical books are raw and dark. Not your kind of fare. This one distills all the lessons he learned from the ugliness of his early life. I think there are parts of it you might find helpful and other parts you might not relate to. I'd say get yourself in line for the print version at the library. That would work better for you than audio.


message 3: by Judy (last edited Mar 26, 2012 11:21AM) (new) - added it

Judy Thanks, Jeanette. I will do that. :-)

The quotes you posted above are excellent.


Petra Xtra Crunchy Can't wait for your review.


message 5: by Jeanette (last edited Mar 29, 2012 01:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Oh, lord, still working on this review. I can't find a satisfactory way to represent the book...


message 6: by Mikki (last edited Mar 30, 2012 08:06PM) (new)

Mikki Sounds as if his volume has been turned down somewhat. Maybe that's due to maturity? I've only read his debut and I just couldn't connect (me against the world) to how detached he seemed from his more than odd upbringing. However, just by the quotes you've chosen, he seems to be more engaged and taking part in life, yet not losing his humor.


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" That's a good way to put it, Mikki. He has definitely turned down the volume. I'm think it's just the wisdom of age, and also the passage of time. I know for me there were things from my childhood that I used to dwell on, and the years have dulled the memories so I almost never think about them. When they do come to mind, there's no sting attached. Maybe it's that way for Augusten, too.


message 8: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Broomell lyons I love your review and your profile pic! I think Augusten is one of my top five fave authors!


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Thank you Lisa. That big puppy gets a lot of "love" here on Good Reads. I hope you enjoy the book.


message 10: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Sybrandy I love augusten. You are right that this book is not like the others but I still enjoy it. Thanks for the great review.


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" I was a little surprised that many readers didn't even get the humor in this book.


Kashmir White I love the book and think it's plenty funny. It offers good advice as well. It's right up my alley, anyway; I like dark, ironic humor.


message 13: by Ed (new)

Ed Lynch Just curious, how did you read it before it was released?


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