Haven't I Heard This Somewhere Before?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

In Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs gave us a hilarious and horrifying look into his early life.  When his parents divorced, Augusten's mother signed over guardianship of him to her psychotic psychiatrist.   Refusing to go to school, he spent his days drinking or getting high with this foster sister, and being preyed upon by a 33 year old pedophile.  It was a story like no other-hopefully because no one else has ever lived through that particular brand of hell.

Dry picks up the story of his life as an award winning copywriter at an ad agency and raging alcoholic. After a particularly disastrous business meeting, his company gives him an ultimatum-go to rehab or lose his job.  He enters rehab determined to treat it as a spa vacation, only to be confronted pretty quickly with the strange world of group therapy and the 12 steps.  He leaves rehab determined to stay sober, but the pressures of real life threaten his fragile sobriety.  And this, this is a story I've heard before.

Granted, Dry is told with Burrough's usual wit.  I admire his ability to laugh at himself, and unlike some recovery memoirs this one is not preachy or sentimental.  But it also doesn't really have anything new to say on the subject of addiction.  He was a drunk, for understandable reasons, but still a drunk.  He nearly ruined his own (and a few other people's) life.  He met some unusual characters in rehab, had difficulty re-entering the "real" (read: sober) world, etc...etc...If you are a fan of Augusten Burroughs, it is probably worth reading just so you can say you've read the "complete set", so to speak, but if you've never read his books before, start with Running with Scissors-much more compelling story.


  1. I have read most of Burroughs's books, and this one was my least favorite by far. It bored me a little bit.

  2. I haven't read Running With Scissors or Dry yet. Memoirs interest me, so I'll add to my wish list.


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