Augusten Burroughs reached literary superstardom with the release of his first memoir, Running with Scissors, which was adapted for the screen starring Alec Baldwin and Annette Bening.
The story of Burroughs' youth is so fascinating and troubling it would be easy to assume that the humorous insanity of his life peaked when he was 13 years old -- the first time he had a penis in his mouth. But the ridiculous characters captured in Running, from the crooked doctor and his “masterbatorium,” to his wife and her penchant for dog food, are just some of the magnificently eccentric people Burroughs has had the creative fortune and personal misfortune of knowing.
In his second memoir, Dry, about battling his alcohol addiction, the author writes another page turner filled with characters and situations that are so idiosyncratic, if it were anyone else’s life, it might not be believed. But somehow, since it’s Burroughs, all the craziness comes across as not only believable, but fitting.
At 24, Burroughs was an advertising executive in Manhattan (think Mad Men with 10 times the booze -- and that’s saying something). Despite having no high school education, his artistic talent helped him rise quickly to the top of his field. But when you reach the top, there’s nowhere to go but rock bottom.
So began his adventure in a gay rehab, followed by his return to New York City, where he continued his recovery with laughter on the road to sobriety.
Dry is not another “I was an addict fuck-up” memoir. Sure, it’s about being an addict fuck-up, but there is nothing trite in the pages, which are revealing, funny and swift.