Saturday, November 12, 2005
Augusten Burroughs's Magical Thinking (not to be confused with the terminal downer by Joan Didion that the New York Times spent a few weeks flogging) is an obvious attempt to compete with David Sedaris. The latter has become a bestselling author primarily on the strength of his collections of personal essays. Burroughs, on the other hand, has become slightly less famous for his novel-length memoirs of childhood abuse and quitting drinking. I read the latter earlier this year. Perhaps Burroughs's life experiences so far do not contain enough material for another sustained effort, or perhaps his agent advised him to adhere to a more Sedaris-like form for salability's sake. Either way, the result is a consistently amusing, ribald, and self consciously neurotic collection of anecdotes. It may not be as lyrically written as Sedaris's books, and the author may be quite a bit more irritating on a personal level, but it is good for annoying people in airports with spontaneous bursts of laughter.
Posted by Amber at 5:44 PM