Cover image for You better not cry : stories for Christmas
Title:
You better not cry : stories for Christmas
Author:
Burroughs, Augusten.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2009]

©2009
Physical Description:
206 pages ; 19 cm
Summary:
In this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection Augusten Burroughs recounts Christmases past and present--as only he could. With gimleteyed wit and illuminated prose, he shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.
Language:
English
Contents:
You better not cry -- And two eyes made out of coal -- Claus and effect -- Ask again later -- Why do you reward me thus -- The best and only everything -- Silent night.
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780312341916
Format :
Book

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PS3552.U745 Z93 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3552.U745 Z93 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

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 he recounts Christmases past and present--as only he could. With gimleteyed witand illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.


Author Notes

Augusten X. Burroughs was born with the name of Christopher Richter Robison in Pittsburgh, PA in 1965. At the age of 18, he chose the name Augusten X. Burroughs and legalized it in a Boston courtroom. He was raised in Western Massachusetts, after his mother had abandoned him to live with her psychiatrist. Burroughs dropped out of school at 13, his mother and her shrink helping him fake a suicide attempt, got his GED at 17 and then flunked out of community college. Burroughs survived a harrowing childhood, but used it and the strength he gained from surviving to springboard his literary career.

He has been a dog trainer, candy store clerk, waiter, sail cutter, store detective and, from the age of 19, an advertising copywriter. Burroughs lived in San Francisco for five years, then moved to New York in the early 1990s.

Burroughs writes memoirs (including the bestseller Running with Scissors which was made into a movie in 2006), as well as a sex column in DETAILS magazine, the occasional commentary for NPR, articles for New York Magazine, and essays for salon.com, Borders and Booksense. All of Augusten's subsequent books -Dry, Magical Thinking, Possible Side Effects, A Wolf at the Table, You Better Not Cry, This is How and Lust and Wonder- were instant New York Times bestsellers.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Burroughs' latest collection of Christmas vignettes offers about as much holiday cheer as one might expect from an author whose childhood was marred by a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic father. That childhood was hilariously well documented by Burroughs himself in his debut memoir, Running with Scissors (2002). At first, the terrain in these new essays is familiar, featuring a young, precocious Burroughs entertaining readers with his antics. In You Better Not Cry, he chews the face off a plastic Santa and has to have his stomach pumped. In the funniest entry, Burroughs blackmails his frazzled parents into getting him exactly the right Christmas gift. Then, suddenly, Burroughs is all grown up. In Ask Again Later, he's a twentysomething residing in New York, living through the hell of alcoholism. Burroughs strains to make this humorous, but the serious subject matter scuttles his efforts. Finally, in the last two entries, his tone changes completely, and all attempts at being funny are dropped. Unfortunately, readers are left with a narrator who is achingly sincere and maudlin. If Burroughs' newest essays were Christmas nuts, they'd make a mixed bag.--Eberle, Jerry Copyright 2009 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Burroughs's holiday-themed memoir lacks the consistent emotional intensity of his earlier work, despite a few gems. Arranged roughly chronologically, the vignettes begin with concrete Christmas memories (preparing a detailed, multipart list of desired presents in "Claus and Effect") and move toward musings on the spirit of the holiday (facing a flooded house with an atheist partner in "Silent Night"). While the childhood stories have Burroughs's trademark dry wit-he once gnawed the face off a life-size Saint Nick made of wax-they aren't particularly memorable. It's when he turns his attention to the less tangible essence of the holiday that the writing comes alive, especially in the final two pieces, "The Best and Only Everything" and "Silent Night." In the former, Burroughs (Running with Scissors) remembers a long-ago Christmas spent with a former lover dying of AIDS and in the latter, which takes place a decade later, he describes dealing not only with a burst water pipe but also feeling ready to celebrate the season with a tree for the first time since the death of his old boyfriend. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The popular Burroughs (Running with Scissors; A Wolf at the Table) returns with a collection of seven short stories tied together by the Christmas season that ring with his signature dark comedic style. Although they're entertaining, the stories may cause one to question how true some of them are. Beginning with childhood recollections and then moving into adulthood, he displays his own brand of sentimental attachment to elements of the holiday, such as Christmas trees and lights. (Readers not familiar with Burroughs should be warned that religion is not the focus here.) The final two stories, which discuss his relationships with significant men in his life, provide more depth than the mainly comic and rather superficial early pieces. In fact, "Silent Night," the final story, carries a sharp tone of honesty as his desire for normalcy in a chaotic life becomes evident. Verdict Even though some readers may find the writing grotesque and offensive, Burroughs's fame and following cannot be denied. Those who enjoyed his previous memoirs are likely anticipating this release. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]-Stacy Russo, Chapman Univ. Libs., Orange, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

You Better Not Cry t's not that I was an outright nitwit of a child. IIt's that the things even a nitwit could do with little or no instruction often confused me. Simple, everyday sorts of things tripped me up. Stacking metal chairs, for example. Everybody in class just seemed to know exactly how to fold the seat up into the back and then nest them all together like Prin­gles potato chips. I sat on the floor for ten minutes with one of the things as if somebody had told me to just stare at it. Concentrate hard, Augusten, try and turn it into an eggplant with your mind. You can do it! The other children appeared to be born with some sort of innate knowledge, as though the action of fold­ing and stacking child-size metal school chairs was gene tically encoded within each of them, like fi nger­nails or a sigmoid colon. I seemed to lack the ability to comprehend the obvi­ous. From the very beginning there had been warning signs. Like every kid just starting school, I had to memo­rize the Pledge of Allegiance--something that would in many towns today be considered prayer and therefore forbidden; akin to forcing a child to drink the blood of a sacrificial goat or unfurl a Tabriz prayer rug and kneel barefoot on it while facing Mecca. While I managed to learn the words, memorizing isn't the same as understanding. And of course I was never tested on the meaning of the pledge. It must have sim­ply been taken for granted that even the dimmest child would easily grasp the meaning of a phrase such as I pledge allegiance, especially when that phrase was spoken while standing at strict attention and facing the Ameri­can flag, hand in a salute above the heart. There was so little room for misinterpretation. It was the Pledge of Allegiance, not Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Still. If one of the teachers had asked me to explain the meaning of those words--which I chanted parrot- minded and smiling each morning--they certainly would have been shocked to hear me admit that while I didn't know exactly what it was about, I knew it had something to do with Pledge, the same furniture polish my mother used and that always, inexplicably, made me feel sunny. So each morning as I spoke those hallowed words, it was the bright yellow can with the glowing lem­ony scent that I pictured. Excerpted from You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs. Copyright (c) 2009 by Island Road, LLC. Published in November 2009 by St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher. Excerpted from You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.