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Toil & Trouble: A Memoir

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  82 reviews
From the number one New York Times bestselling author comes another stunning memoir that is tender, touching...and just a little spooky.

"Here's a partial list of things I don't believe in: God. The Devil. Heaven. Hell. Bigfoot. Ancient Aliens. Past lives. Life after death. Vampires. Zombies. Reiki. Homeopathy. Rolfing. Reflexology. Note that 'witches' and 'witchcraft' are
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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4.24  · 
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 ·  140 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Theresa Alan
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s pretty impressive that one person can write so many memoirs. In this one, he reveals that he’s a witch, from a long line of witches. He’s otherwise a nonbeliever, of ghosts, God, zombies, Bigfoot and so on. He explains that being a witch isn’t supernatural, it’s natural. For him it’s about seeing things just before they happen (across the country sometimes) and setting intentions—in his case, he creates rhyming spells to create something he wants to attain or avoid. Dubious? Yeah, me too, a ...more
Burroughs is a magnificent storyteller. He has an uncanny ability to pull you into his story and just when you think you might put the book down, he tugs on that literary string and pulls you right back in.
Burroughs is excellent at creating comfort so that you feel you are reading something from your best friend. This book is an excellent addition to his previous memoirs. While reading his books do you ever get the feeling that he's sitting right next to you, whispering the words into your ear?
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was not sure about this one because of the witchcraft but I was wrong to be cautious. This is vintage Augusten, comforting and beautiful, like sitting down with an old friend. Unlike much of his previous writing, this is a book about being happy and what it took to get there. It’s life-affirming (still darkly humourous) and enlightening. Keep an open mind and you will love it.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A weird book. The story is off the wild blue yonder charts. However, it is a well-written book and keeps your interest --- for a while. Some chapters/situations get boring because of too much dialog.
Overall I'd give it a strong 3.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book about witches- and this is also a memoir. Only Augusten Burroughs can get me to go from being nervous about a beloved author going off of the deep end as he comes clean about being a witch to making me wonder if I don't have some witch in me myself. I love his writing style, and have since Running With Scissors. He makes the mundane everyday banality readable. This won't be for everyone but the true Augusten fans will be happy to be back with an old friend. I loved his anecdotes a ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
4 1/2 stars rounded up. First of all, thank you St. Martin’s Press & Augustin Burroughs for sending a complimentary copy of this wonderful book to me. The beginning of the book threw me off & I thought it was a fictional account about witches but it turns out to be about Mr. Burroughs’ wonderful, sad, exciting life told through the lens of his snarky humor. If you like his previous books you will thoroughly enjoy this and if you’ve never read his work this is a fine book to begin with. H ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
So last night I had a dream i was eating a Twix bar, today I was at the grocery store checking out and holy cow would you believe it there was the very same Twix bar from my dream. So I must be a witch!

This book is a mash-up of different "predictions" and weak stories trying so desperately to make himself believe hes different for a reason or has some greater purpose.

I give this hot mess 0 stars and would demand a refund except I was unfortunate enough to be picked as a give away winner...
Karen M
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think the reason I enjoy memoirs is because it’s like living your life out loud but doing it with paper and print so anyone of us voyeurs can enjoy “stepping” into a life that belongs to someone else.

We quickly learn that Augusten Burroughs comes from a long line of witches. Okay, now we’ve dropped that bomb I have to say this memoir was not so much about him being a witch as a new home owner in a totally alien environment to which he believes he and his partner have been drawn.

A pair of city
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I received an advanced reader's edition from St. Martin's Press for my honest review. I immediately signed up for the giveaway because I saw it was an Augusten Burroughs book, and I adore everything he has ever written. Then it came in the mail and I realized it was about witches. Specifically, Augusten being a witch. I absolutely do not enjoy books (or movies) about witches and sorcery and all that stuff. I began reading only because I promised to give my review, and was sucked in to this book ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I recieved this book from Goodreads.

I approached this book with an open mind; with neither the belief or disbelief of witches and witchcraft. I read it like I would any other autobiography.

That being said, Toil & Trouble: A Memoir is definitely not like any autobiography I ever read before. And that isn't necessarily a good thing.

Nothing about reading this book screamed 'nonfiction memoir' and the witchcraft wasn't to blame. Granted, I have no right to say what is true and what isn't in a c
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

From the number one New York Times bestselling author comes another stunning memoir that is tender, touching...and just a little spooky.

"Here’s a partial list of things I don’t believe in - God. The Devil. Heaven. Hell. Bigfoot. Ancient Aliens. Past lives. Vampir
Amy Bartelloni
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every year I find a hidden gem at Book Expo, and this book was this year’s treasure. I read Running With Scissors a long time ago, and I forgot how much I loved Augusten Burrow’s voice. The descriptions of witchcraft are secondary to his honest observations and down to Earth humor. I love books on spirituality and found the parts about witchcraft understandable (relatable, even), though I don’t think you have to be spiritually inclined to appreciate the book. By the end of the book I both want t ...more
Lindsay Loson
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads, netgalley
First, thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC! (Out October 2019!)

When I heard that Augusten Burroughs was writing a new memoir, I was ecstatic. I have read all of his books but one, and have loved them all. Toil & Trouble is nothing short of classic Burroughs with the same wit, humor, and unflinching honesty that we know and expect from him by now. I was unsure how I was going to feel about him writing a memoir about being a witch, but it is just as fantastic as his oth
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I wonder if part of writing this book was to remind Augusten that he believes himself to be a witch. Every chapter includes the affirmation at least once in some form. When it's not about Augusten as a witch, the book vaguely follows the stories around him buying a house in Connecticut. These stories are much more interesting than the 'Take me at my word, I swear I magicked this into happening' anecdotes that never felt trustworthy.

Also all I wanted was more anecdotes about Jeffrey. Or a link t
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-have-won
Won on
Oh my goodness! I absolutely love reading his stories and this book was perfect. The only thing better would be to actually have Agusten telling me in person over tea! I felt as if a friend paid a 2 day visit . MORE MORE MORE please
Laura Hill
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, memoir
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 1st, 2019.

It’s hard to believe but this is my first Augusten Burroughs book! I’ve heard of Running With Scissors of course but somehow never managed to get to it. My loss. Burroughs is funny, clever, and writes in a wickedly delicious, entre-nous style. In this segment of his ongoing memoirs, he and husband Christopher make the move out
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love books about witches. Love them! When I saw this one, I thought - I will love this. But alas, I didn't. I think the author uses the term witch in a much looser way than I would. I too have a life filled to the brim with coincidence and intuition, but I would never describe myself as a witch. I just think I pay more attention to the details of life than most people, and therefore, make connections between events others wouldn't even notice. But putting that difference aside I just didn't co ...more
William Dameron
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Burroughs' writing is magical and now I know why. He's a witch, seriously, and I could not be more of a believer. Burroughs writing is so clear and well-crafted in this memoir (and in each of his memoirs, to be honest) that you can't help but be transported in time and space into his world from childhood to Manhattan to Connecticut, growing up as a witch. Whether you believe or not he is a witch is really beside the point, because it's more about his ability to charm us into a story that rings s ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC copy of this book, along with some very cool swag, for an honest review. I had heard of the author, but had not yet had the opportunity to read any of his work. I was quite surprised on how much I enjoyed this book! I would’ve had it read in less than a day if I had had the time, but unfortunately work got in the way, causing me to take longer. I’m not usually a fan of the memoir genre of books, but the way this is written, you want to keep reading to find out what happened nex ...more
Tianna Moxley
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, nonfic, 2019
Augusten Burroughs is a witch and I’m a newly converted believer. The mere mastery of his writing and its eerily compulsive nature could have alone convinced me of this. Yet, as it is, we are lucky enough to have a glimpse into the life of a sickeningly interesting individual with the publication of his second memoir. As one who often dismisses biographical content with the notion, “What could be so interesting in this person's life that I would be compelled to read about it?” I can tell you, wh ...more
Carly Bohach
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book that really makes you think about what goes on around you.
I haven't had this much trouble with an Augusten Burroughs book in a long time. It was difficult for me to connect with him on his journey. The book felt...disjointed. I found myself disconnected from much of it. It rallied toward the middle and up to the end, but....the first half just didn't ring my bells.
Ashley Scott
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, favorite-author
I will withhold my review until the release of the book - I was able to read it early thanks to a special friend. :)
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Not Augusten Burroughs best book, but somewhat enjoyable just the same. Most of the chapters are interesting essays about things that happen when Augusten and his husband buy an old Connecticut farm house. Unfortunately, to tie these stories into a theme, Augusten shares with us that he is a witch. We then get endless examples of superstition and coincidences that "prove" this. I could have done without that. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for an honest ...more
Ted Waterfall
Jul 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is written as a memoir of two male witches (not warlocks), who live pretty normal lives like most other people in modern America. That's the problem with this book. Who wants to read about your next door neighbor's uneventful life? It's boring. They almost never use their powers for anything, and a couple of incidents described in the book which (witch?) could have been developed into something interesting were dropped like a hot cast iron skillet. So many books waiting to be read and ...more
Angela McVay
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Augusten Burroughs so when I saw this as an offering at Netgalley, I couldn’t have jumped any faster to click the request button. He could write about horse shit ten times over, and I would leap every time. So, I have known two very lovely people in my lifetime who claimed they are a witch, and I am open minded and have no real reason to doubt their beliefs. I was a bit skeptical on Augusten’s claim but no worries...this book is way more than about witches or witch ...more
I have been a fan of Augusten Burroughs for about 14 years now, and I was excited when he announced that he had a new book coming out in 2019.
I was skeptical when I read about the subject matter of this forthcoming book, simply because...well, it is 2019 and all things "witch" have seen a commodification over the last couple of years. Suddenly, I can buy "aura cleansing crystals" at clothing stores in my local mall (most of which aren't even stone at all, they're plastic). On the on
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Augusten Burroughs tells us about being a witch, growing up witchy, life with a sixth sense and an eye on the underworld, and to be honest, for this, I read the first few chapters as fiction rather than as memoir. Then when I realized this is meant to be his personal story continued, with a straight face, for a few chapters I enjoyed it less, because of that improbable conceit. However, I came around, and mostly due to the way Burroughs describes the characters in his life. From his forbearing h ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I should start this review off by stating that I am a big fan of Augusten Burroughs and all of the wonderful memoirs he has written. Being such a fan, I went into Toil & Toruble understanding that this would be a unique read and that I should lend an open mind to the idea that this wonderful author is in fact a witch.

If you know Augusten Burroughs, this book was magick - pun intended. It made me feel all of the emotions that Burroughs is known for making you feel. I adored the ties to his c
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, nonfiction
I have fond memories of reading Running with Scissors back in the mid-2000s when it was blowing up bestseller lists, yet I never revisited Burroughs' work until now (by no means due to lack of interest - more along the lines of so many books, so little time).

I was skeptical about how I'd feel re. the whole witchcraft thing but was delightfully surprised - Toil & Trouble: A Memoir is really such a treat! Kooky, clever, and engaging, Burroughs' writing has certainly matured, and his wit is as
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Augusten Burroughs born Christopher Robison, son of poet and writer Margaret Robison and younger brother of John Elder Robison.

Burroughs has no formal education beyond elementary school. A very successful advertising copywriter for over seventeen years, he was also an alcoholic who nearly drank himself to death in 1999. But spurned by a compulsion he did not understand, Burroughs began to write a