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You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  9,984 ratings  ·  827 reviews
You’ve eaten too much candy at Christmas…but have you ever eaten the face off a six-footstuffed Santa? You’ve seen gingerbread houses…but have you ever made your own gingerbread tenement? You’ve woken up with a hangover…but have you ever woken up next to Kris Kringle himself? Augusten Burroughs has, and in this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection ...more
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 1st 2009)
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ADignorantium It's a collection of humorous and sometimes heartbreaking essays recalling Christmas memories of Augusten Burroughs, from childhood to adulthood. I…moreIt's a collection of humorous and sometimes heartbreaking essays recalling Christmas memories of Augusten Burroughs, from childhood to adulthood. I thought it a perfect November/December read. (less)

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  9,984 ratings  ·  827 reviews

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Dec 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In the realm of today’s gay memoirists, there are two legends: David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs.

David Sedaris (The Santaland Diaries, Naked, When Engulfed in Flames) tells charming, quaint stories to his wacky Geek family. His stories include odd jobs (being a holiday elf for Macy’s) and strange stories that hide a sweet humanity (like when his sister brought a hooker home for the holidays in “Dinah the Christmas Whore.”) Sedaris is kooky but cuddly; he started telling his stories on
Dec 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Oh, Augusten Burroughs, why do I love you? You infuriate me sometimes, but I just can’t quit you.

“You Better Not Cry” is not laugh-out-loud hysterical, but rather chuckle-in-the-back-of-your-throat cynicism laced with pull-at-the-heart-strings-despite-yourself sentimentality. The funny thing about Augusten’s breezy Christmas anthology is that for all the times you feel like it is an anti-holiday holiday book, it is actually filled with some extraordinarily lovely moments of … well, the Christmas
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is my third book by Augusten Burroughs and I am beginning to understand him. Maybe because I was just prompted by Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man that made a tremendous impact on me and I was able to relate to his character – an aging gay literature professor. I am aging but I am not any of the other three but still the very moving prose of Isherwood made me emphatize with middle-age gay guys like Burroughs.

In my mind, gays come in two types: the quiet decent sometimes-closeted type
Rebecca McNutt
Was this supposed to be funny?

...Oh my god, that's just sad.

This is one case where you should most definitely judge the book by its cover; nevermind the fact that Augusten Burroughs is notorious for possibly publishing malicious lies about his guardian family in the memoir Running With Scissors, but not only is this next book of his incredibly hard to believe ever truly happened, but its "humor" really crosses the line from being dark humor to nasty, crass and disgusting.
I give 3 stars to the first few stories and 1 star to the last few for an average of 2 stars. The first couple of stories tell about Burroughs's childhood memories of past Christmases. Two stories are about how he used to confuse Santa with Jesus and also when he bit the wax face off of a life-size Santa Claus and I was actually laughing out loud while reading them. They were funny and easier to relate to than the stories he recounted of his adulthood. Burroughs's childhood stories are lighter ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read any Augusten Burroughs, but this is the 3rd one I've listened to. Running with Scissors and Dry are two of my favorite audiobooks ever.

I also have a touch of OCD, and I can never ever ever ever ever not finish a book. If it's awful, I'll try and read it as fast as possible, but I'll ALWAYS ALWAYS finish.

So, the first 2 stories on this cd were SO BAD that I nearly quit listening and called it a day. I was getting ready to go on a long drive, and listening to this was going to
Megan Anderson
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'd give this five stars, except I'm not so sure about some of the stories. The first few are downright hysterical--I was crying as he described the gingerbread house. However, the later stories of grown-up Christmases are a little more introspective. Not that they're bad, necessarily, but it's like the movie Moulin Rouge, in that everything starts off funny and by the end you're feeling sort of depressed. I've liked the way Burroughs writes since I first read his books in college, and I ...more
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite Augusten Burroughs book yet! I was a little skeptical at first. The book starts with some of his darkest stories from his childhood and early days as an alcoholic. They are fascinating in the way a train wreck is, you just can't bring yourself to look away. Slowly, as you work your way through the book, the stories begin to change as Augusten's idea of Christmas evolves. There is the Christmas a group of homeless people take him in, look after him, and teach him to accept ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Bittersweet memories for Burroughs. I totally relate to his early childhood reminiscences of Santa/Jesus. I think most Catholic grade school children would. But then it went dark for me. I stopped laughing when he reached adulthood. I didn't expect that. I've only read Running with Scissors and laughed continuously, so I thought this would be more of the same. There more more sad and pitiful moments on the last few chapters. Not a book to lighten the Christmas spirit, although there is some ...more
Topher Hooperton
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Augusten Burroughs has carved a literary career from exposing his troubled family life in Running With Scissors and A Wolf At The Table.

Now, with You Better Not Cry, he brings us a festive series of recollections about the disastrous Christmases he has experienced.

The early stories tread familiar ground, drawing us back to the young Augusten and his fractious relationship with his mentally unstable mother, taciturn brother, and angry, alcoholic father, and the litany of failures and mishaps (to
Mary Blye Kramer
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’ve 5-starred every single one of Burroughs’ books but this was a disappointment. #1, it was sloppily written, juvenile, the humor was forced. #2, after reading all of his heart wrenching memoirs, I recoiled at his trite stabs at his alcoholic dad and druggie mother. It was as if he’s written so much about them, they are now just objects of derision. Read halfway and got rid of this one
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is a collection of stories of Augusten's Christmases over the years, starting at childhood and ending at the time of writing the book.
The stories of the younger Augusten were sweet and funny. They told of childhood wonder, of mixed up beliefs that kids sometimes get and general childhood. Augusten was a precocious and difficult child but one that saw the world in a different and interesting way. It would have been both a difficult and exciting thing to watch this kid go through life.
Christmas can be such a busy time of year, the hustle and bustle of it all. Sometimes that’s fine, and sometimes you (or, more specifically me, myself and I) need a break from the “too much” of it all. Augusten Burroughs “You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas,” a compilation of chronologically told stories of Christmases past, was hopefully just the right thing to bring some merry into the picture.
His tales are occasionally charming, funny, heartfelt, sweet and sad, maybe even depressing,
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
It started off bad, then got good, then got heartbreakingly good, then got bad again.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this. In the beginning, I wasn’t so sure but as I got about half way through, I discovered I’d fallen in love with it and may have to read it every Christmas!
Carol Ann
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Our book club chose this for our November read, getting us into the holiday spirit early. I mean, how festive is that cover? And the opening line: "It's not that I was an outright nitwit of a child." Nitwit? No. Bizarre? Definitely. I'm glad his frontal lobe took so long to develop or we may have missed out on these zany stories surrounding Christmas, the author's FAVORITE holiday and yet, a day that always turned out horribly for him.

Aside from a disturbing chapter involving a French Santa, I
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
another memoir by burroughs, another great read. by now you either know augusten burroughs' work or you haven't even heard of him. this is just another in his witty, slightly melodramatic recounts of his life. this one tackles the topic of christmas and gives a few looks into the disaster that christmas can turn out to be. he hits a few ages in this collection, starting from when he was young to just recently. they are all interesting looks into burroughs' psyche which just makes them an ...more
Jo Ann
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Holiday Drunks
If your able to sit through the movie Bad santa and find some redeeming qualities in it you might like this book.

Jul 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Oh god. I hated this book so much.
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
You can keep your Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp crushes. . . if I am being 100% earnest and honest, my number #1 fan-girl crush is unashamedly on gay American writer, Augusten Burroughs.

I have read every one of his books and gotten a stomach cramp from laughing too hard at each one. He is my author/reader soul-mate and I’m sure that if we ever met I would fall at his feet and beg him to be my friend. I love his sense of humour, I love his brutal honesty and I just love him. . . ‘You Better Not Cry’
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
eeh. As a dedicated Burroughs fan, I feel like this falls a little flat. Three of his other books, "Dry" (which I tore through in two days), "Magical Thinking: True Stories," and "Lust and Wonder" are absolutely excellent and dive a little deeper into real life and his signature humor and insight than "Better Not." I did laugh through the first story, but overall, this one just didn't grab me enough to want to keep reading.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, but especially addicts of any kind
Augusten Burroughs really blew this one out of the water. He made me laugh, he made me sad (I can't say 'cry'), he was touching and sincere, mean and petty, spiteful and backstabbing.

STORY 1: You Better Not Cry. A hilarious story of Augusten's childhood and his inability to tell Jesus and Santa apart.

STORY 2: And Two Eyes Made Out of Coal. A funny story about Little Augusten's failed attempt to make a gingerbread house, ending with love for his brother.

STORY 3: Claus and Effect. A story that
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I didn't know what to expect from this book. I guess, when it's coming from Augusten Burroughs, I always knew that it would be quirky but I assumed it could not be any weirder than his most famous piece: Running with Scissors. Eventually I stood corrected.

The story revolves around Burroughs’ memory of Christmas across several points of time. However, it’s not going to be a white-Christmas-and-glowing-tree kind of story as disconcerting events and morbid conversations demand being
Dec 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
When did Christmas become "the holiday you love to hate and hate to love" as described in the book jacket?!

Hating Christmas is akin to hating Shirley Temple and Easter bunnies. I've been searching for festive holiday reading material and have stumbled into a patch of snarky & cycnical books on the 'darkside' of the holidays. I get frustrated and stressed during the holidays too, but I'm shocked that anyone would take the time to write (or read) a negative book about the holidays. I don't
Nov 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
The newest option by Augusten Burroughs brings together seven short biographical essays relating to some of his Christmas experiences.

The stories are full of the wry wit that is found in much of the rest of his work, but I thought that the tales didn't float quite as well. In his earlier books, most of the stories had a common themed and flowed more evenly.

The earliest pieces highlight his earliest confusion between Santa and Jesus since modern America seems to celebrate them equally during the
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
It seems like such an overused term, but this book really is a roller coaster. The first two stories, about Augusten as his childhood experiences with Christmas were rather funny, and reasonably light compared to where it went next. Then it goes to a story where Augusten wakes up next to a smelly man dressed as Santa, and I got confused. This was my first book by this author, and I had to check that this was actually a memoir because this story didn't refer to him by name. The dark humor was ...more
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I received this book at Christmas, but I didn't want to read it then and get mental pictures lodged in my mind that would last beyond New Year's. So, I put the book into the pile and just read it. Yes, I read a Christmas book while sitting outside in shorts and a polo shirt. Still loved it. This book is hysterical, disturbing, heart-warming,and a tad bit sad. Burroughs brings his own twist to the holiday season. Okay, he once ate the wax face off a life-size Santa (whom he confused with Jesus to ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was a Borders employee when I read this; Borders had selected it as a "make" book, so I read it. I laughed hysterically at certain points and was confounded at other times, for various reasons. I forewarned all my coworkers to screen customers showing interest for language and homosexuality...since the store was located in what I feel to be a conservative area. I am interested to read some of his other books now. His writing is raw and uncensored to a great degree, at least in my opinion! By ...more
Joyce Mason
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is my hands-down favorite of all the Augusten Burroughs books I have read to date. As the book flap says, he's "pathologically honest" and this time, he's not just painfully funny but totally touching as he recounts moments of both love and madness about the holiday packed with such longing and often disappointment. As a writer myself, there are few times I have what I call "Venus envy," where a passage is so beautifully written, I wish I'd done it myself. There were a half-dozen of those ...more
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Burroughs is in top form again with a series of episodes from his life occurring around Christmas. Outrageous, horrifying, moving, full of humor and humanity. Through it all, I was rooting for him. The stories occur at different points in his life, but I always felt in the often Oh No! moment with him.

If you liked Running With Scissors, you'll like this.

Note well: it's not fluffy Christmas stories for children. Nor does one need to be into Christmas to enjoy it. He spent time fed up with the
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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
“And I began to let him go. Hour by hour. Days into months. It was a physical sensation, like letting out the string of a kite. Except that the string was coming from my center.” 101 likes
“Acceptance, when it comes, arrives in waves: Listen with your chest. You will feel a pendulum swing within you, favoring one direction or another. And that is your answer. The answer is always inside your chest. The right choice weighs more. That's how you know. It causes you to lean in its direction.” 68 likes
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