The Holy Terror

A possible retreat from goodreads ... though I'm tempted to yell "get off my lawn" at this site's tumblresque-ness. Yes, that's totally a word.

You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas

You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas - Augusten Burroughs 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 than the rest of the book but are still darkly humorous. The last half of the stories though are a somber solemn affair and not anything I likely would have read by themselves. I wouldn't have picked this book up if the childhood stories hadn't been included. I understand this is his life he's writing about, but when I think of Christmas I don't think of drinking until I black out, or wanting to spend the holiday alone, or doing the opposite and spending the holiday with a bunch of bums on the street, literally. The last half of the book is bleak and without much hope, and that's just not what I personally want to read about. The transition from early childhood to adulthood could have been handled better as well. We go from one story where he's in elementary school to the next where he's a black-out drunk waking up next to a naked geriatric French Santa Claus. After doing a bit of research on the author it's probably safe to say that he didn't have too many fond memories of childhood Christmases, but I would have liked to read more of them because those were the ones I enjoyed the most. Toward the end Burroughs flies off into the land of melodrama and it starts to become hard to take him seriously, especially the story when his newly built house floods unexpectedly.I backed out of the kitchen and turned around. Dennis was at the bottom of the stairs, heaving, unable to catch his breath, as his eyes surveyed the room. He brought both of his hands to his mouth, his fingers touching the bottom lip. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no," his voice warbled, and what began as a whisper was almost instantly a howl; a sound that resonated with loss and terrible ache.Now it's true, it was his boyfriend that had this reaction but I really think Burroughs over exaggerates things. My parents' basement flooded twice when I was in my teens, and my room was down there. One of the times it got so high it reached the bottom of my mattress. So, yeah, it sucks, but nobody died.There's a story that Burroughs recounts of time he spent with a boyfriend that later died of AIDS. It honestly felt like the destruction of the one floor of the house held more emotion than the death of his loved one. It's hard for me to connect with the Christmas stories of Burroughs's adult life when he acts so unrealistically.I had been eager to read more of Burroughs's writing after reading the first 100 pages or so of this one, but after finishing it up I'm not so sure anymore. Some people like to read darker stories while others only want fluffy happy times. I want something kind of in the middle. I also have a hard time understanding the mind of an addict, it's just not something that makes sense to me, and so it was hard for me to connect on a personal level to the bulk of Burroughs's stories. I don't necessarily regret reading this book, but I'll keep the stories I read first more in the forefront because they honestly did make me laugh.

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