Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Book Review: Possible Side Effects
Book 4/25 in the 2011 Reading Challenge. Date completed: February 11, 2011.
After reading Running With Scissors, I was eager for more from Augusten Burroughs. Kaylie recommended Possible Side Effects, and that was about all the push I needed. I bought it and started in on it immediately. I needed a major pick-me-up after the train-wreck that was Safe Haven, and this was perfect! I read it cover-to-cover in less than seven days and gave it a Goodreads rating of four stars. I wish we could use half-stars in individual ratings. I'd have given this four and a half - it wasn't as wonderful as Running With Scissors, but it was damn close.
Possible Side Effects is a collection of autobiographical essays that touch on a variety of Burroughs' life events: His relationship with Dennis Pilsits, pets, alcoholism, and career choices to name a few.
I am not sure if I should feel sympathy (and maybe a little bit of guilt) over the impossibly crazy life Augusten Burroughs has led, or if he should simply be congratulated on his fantastic storytelling abilities and his capacity to not only overcome a life of chaos but to come out on the other side with finesse and humor. Without a doubt, this man is an exceptionally talented author. I found each of the stories within Possible Side Effects to be interesting and in most cases hilarious. The fact that he completed no formal education past the sixth grade is just remarkable to me, given his definite gift for writing.
If you read and enjoyed Running With Scissors, this is a no-brainer. It's filled with the same brand of ridiculous and the wit that I loved and was craving and it didn't disappoint. I've added Burroughs' other books to my "To Read" list, as well as the memoir written by his older brother, John Elder Robison - Look Me in the Eye, and The Long Journey Home, a memoir written by his mother, Margaret Robison - due to be released later this month. I anticipate that I will probably be reviewing some of these as well before the end of the year.
I guess you could call me a fan.