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Toil & Trouble: A Memoir

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  5,168 ratings  ·  887 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'

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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Deborah Underwood I find that strange myself. How can you know that we are all energy and connected and not believe that we survive after we finish with these bodies?
Lynne Thompson I did read Echols' book. What he practices is Ceremonial magic, while Burroughs' practice is more cunning man's witchcraft. One is not better than the…moreI did read Echols' book. What he practices is Ceremonial magic, while Burroughs' practice is more cunning man's witchcraft. One is not better than the other; just different ways of expanding one's consciousness and ways of being in the world.(less)
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Theresa Alan
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Elyse  Walters

“There are three things you should know about witches.
1-“As long as there have been human beings there have been witch beings”
2- “Witches have always been misunderstood”.
3 - “Witches are real”.

“Witchcraft is not a religion. It’s the craftwork of a witch;
it’s the thing witches do”.

“Witches can possess any and all of these traits in greater or less or degree”.
[Augusten shared a partial list of things he doesn’t believe in]:
The devil,
ancient alien
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Thank you Netgslley. More later

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Jessica at St. Martins Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

This book was one of my least favorites of 2019. See the rest on my video, The WORST Books of 2019! ☕☕

”Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a
3.5 Stars

My love of biographies drew me to this offering from Augusten Burroughs (not the name he was born with, but one he fashioned for himself). He is a gay writer who formerly worked in marketing, who has been married to his literary agent Christopher for a couple of decades. Oh, and he's a witch. There are actually a lot of witches in his family, primarily his mother and grandmother, and his Uncle Mercer- who constantly fights against the notion of being one.

As the book begins, Augusten re
I call B.S., but still am bewitched!

Run, run, run! This madman swears he’s a witch, and I swear it’s B.S. Yet here I sit, squirmy happy because the guy has me in the palm of his sweaty little witch hand. This writer (of Running with Scissors fame) has done it again in his latest funny and endearing memoir.

I had my doubts. Right from the very beginning, Burroughs starts with the witch business. Look at me, look at me, I’m a witch—like a little kid running around on a broom, giggling away. I didn’
May 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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...
I've read about Augusten Burroughs' unusual upbringing, and about his struggles with alcoholism. I've read the one about his father, and I even read his not-so-holly-jolly Christmas stories. This book will be remembered as the one where Augusten Burroughs claims to be a witch. I don't believe him, but I enjoyed it anyway.

I don't believe that having prophetic visions makes you a witch.

My husband has had some eerily prescient dreams. One morning he woke up laughing, saying he dreamed that our n
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

JFC, this one didn’t make it to the Currently Reading list either??? Methinks things may have been getting glitchy up in the phone version of the ‘Reads. I can see me missing marking one book, but not two. Toil & Trouble was the third Burroughs’ offering I picked up and I have one thing to say . . . .

And also, WHERE MY GIRLS AT?!?!?!?!?! You know who you are (*cough Debbie cough*) – the ones who get dreamy swoon-face like Lisa Sim
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I'm a long-time Augusten Burroughs fan, and Toil & Trouble: A Memoir is the kind of engaging, funny, eccentric, likable book that I would expect from him.

Look, I'm not going to debate the existence of witches or witchcraft, but I found Toil & Trouble: A Memoir to be pretty compelling. His stories that involved his magical abilities were interesting, but it isn't his talent that made the stories so wonderful, but the way he told the stories. I could listen to some of those stories for hours, jus
Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

The other day at work, I was listening to music on YouTube with "autoplay" on, as one does, and because I have excellent taste in music, "Inexplicable" by The Correspondents came on. I heard the lyrics "When I was four / I raised my finger to a moving car / It crashed / So I assumed I had a super power" and I thought, my gods, this man has surely read TOIL & TROUBLE and finds it as difficult a pill to swallow as I did.

It's been a while s
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 compl
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Aga Durka
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Augusten Burrough’s new memoir did not disappoint!! It was a fascinating read about Mr. Burrough’s life as a witch, and his quirky and genuine writing style made this book a pleasure to read. It was funny and quite enlightening, I’ve learned some new things about witches and the history of their existence, (or non-existence, whichever one believes, I guess). Augusten Burrough is an excellent storyteller, and from the first pages I was captivated by his writing. His genuine and unapologetic way o ...more
I absolutely loved Augusten Burroughs memoir "Running with Scissors". I loved it so much that it is on my favorites shelf. I thought this one was okay, I guess just not really my thing. However, if you are interested in this have to do it on Audio. He does a great job narrating his memoirs and he is a fantastic story teller. ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019, memoir
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 absent from this list. The thing is, I wouldn’t believe in them, and I would privately ridicule any idiot who did, except for one thing: I am a witch.

Like so many others, I read Running with Scissors when it was first released – telling the sad/funny story of a
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
Angela Pineda
3.5 stars. Full disclosure: Augusten Burroughs is one of the reasons I became a 'reader.' He's the reason I started reading memoirs, which I still consider my favorite genre (though thrillers have crept their way up in the last year or so). I vividly remember loving & dying laughing while reading "Running with Scissors", "Dry", "Magical Thinking" and "Possible Side Effects" when I was in college. Though a few of AB's recent memoirs I (own but) haven't read yet- I was excited to read this one (an ...more
Jeanette (Again)
This was so astonishingly bad. I was downright gleeful when I got rid of it. I have enjoyed Augusten's other books to varying degrees, so I stuck with this far longer than I should have. Finally I just couldn't bear one more word. Toil and Trouble? Oil and Rubble, I say.

Before launching into his "I am a witch" fantasy, he lists some things he doesn't believe in, including God, the Devil, Heaven, Hell, Bigfoot, past lives, life after death, Vampires, Zombies, and Reiki. I agree with him on almos
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.
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
It's a fairly common misconception that your everyday witch has glowing green skin, a nose full of warts and a janky broomstick that cruises through the clouds. But did you know there are many that actually live among us? They could be your kids teachers! Your next door neighbor! The barista who always misspells your name at Starbucks! (Seriously, is 'Kate' really THAT hard?!)

Or they could also be a New York Times bestselling author.

Augusten Burroughs has always tackled some pretty astonishing a
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Laura • lauralovestoread

“𝚃𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚛𝚎𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚜𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚔𝚗𝚘𝚠 𝚊𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚜. 𝙽𝚞𝚖𝚋𝚎𝚛 𝚘𝚗𝚎: 𝚊𝚜 𝚕𝚘𝚗𝚐 𝚊𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚑𝚊𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚑𝚞𝚖𝚊𝚗 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚑𝚊𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚌𝚑 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜.”

-𝙰𝚞𝚐𝚞𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚗 𝙱𝚞𝚛𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚜, 𝚃𝚘𝚒𝚕 & 𝚃𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚎

I enjoyed Toil & Trouble so much, and appreciated how transparent that Augusten Burroughs appeared to be. He’s funny and charming but also honest and relatable.

The fact that witches are real, and happen to be living among you and me, makes for a very interesting memoir! Witches on broomsticks and pointy hats don’t make an app
Augusten Burroughs is one of the reasons I finally became a reader. I picked up his first memoir in my early 20s, fell in love with the genre, the rest is history. He’s a darkly humorous and talented storyteller. When I saw the basis of this one, I wasn’t sure what hokeyness awaited, but it was quite interesting. Yes, he discusses his “powers,” but it’s also about his mom, moving to the country, and, of course, dogs. 🐾
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
There are authors I read whose writing is so deeply satisfying to me (usually on some level I don't completely understand) that I really don't care what they write about, I'm going to enjoy it. Augusten Burroughs is one of those writers. I love his neurotic, anxious, lunatic energy. I love his way of looking at people and the world.

In Toil &Trouble, Burroughs declares himself a witch from a long line of witches. Chapter after chapter, he explains how he's manifested some reality by m
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this review and others on my blog:

Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs is a fascinating memoir about Burroughs’ life is as a witch. Burroughs hails from a long line of witches, and his mother taught him everything she knew before she succumbed to mental illness.

Burroughs always knew he was different growing up. He could often see flashes of the future before events unfolded and simply knew things others didn’t. He had no idea he was a witch until his mother to
Karen M
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

Articles featuring this book

For Augusten Burroughs, one of the most acclaimed memoirists of his generation, no topic in his life has been off-limits.
47 likes · 24 comments
“I can almost never say what I'm thinking at any given moment. I would have been stabbed to death years ago.” 5 likes
“What I am certain of is that there's something wonky going on beneath the surface of what we call reality. Things are not as they appear. They are much, much more.” 5 likes
More quotes…