In chronicling the development and demise of the different relationships he's had while living in New York, Augusten Burroughs examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out. With Augusten's unique and singular observations and his own unabashed way of detailing both the horrific and the humorous, Lust & Wonder is an intimate and honest memoir that his legions of fans have been waiting for.
"Burroughs has lived this story, so his delivery perfectly matches the tone and pacing needed. Focusing on a series of failed relationships, Burroughs lets his voice rise in both tension and tenor as he analyzes the reasons, with help from analysis, that some relationships work and others are doomed by the personal quirks of both people." (AudioFile)
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Let me preface this by saying that I was so excited to see a new Augusten Burroughs book coming out, that I actually put a note in my calendar to purchase this title on the release date. That said, this book was a huge disappointment. This book reads like a series of long journal entries, but not in an intimate or entertaining way. Rather, it feels like the author sits in front of his computer all day (he actually admits as much) and then writes down EVERY SINGLE THOUGHT that comes into his mind. Some of it is funny, mostly because the author is a very funny writer, but much of it feels like a big, "So what?" For example, long sections detailing conversations about nothing that go nowhere. Dog walks, boring dates, random thoughts -- all of these are given equal weight. Additionally, there is much too much here that is rehashed from previous books, notably "DRY."
Toward the end, he writes that he has squandered much of his fortune on online shopping. This is funny (for the reader) and also well within bounds for the Augusten Burroughs many of us have grown to love over the years. BUT long before he revealed his financial problems, I found myself wondering if this book was simply a way for him to make a quick buck. There is simply no story here -- nothing at all that needs to be told. The Brilliantly Offbeat New York Gay Writer Who Dates has been done much better by others.
The author also admits that he has not read a book in 10 years. Unfortunately for the reader, this lack of interest in anything other than himself and his endless navel gazing shows. His self-absorption has been done to great comic effect in past books, but now it just feels tired. For the first time ever in reading one of his books, I felt a bit sorry for the people in his orbit -- it's not his "crazy" that is tiring, it's his narcissistic self interest.
Augusten being AUGUSTEN has always been my favorite character...at least until now.
Augusten's performance is always good. He knows how to read his own writing and wring out the funny bits for all they are worth.
My opinions won't prevent die-hard fans from purchasing this title. That's ok, because die-hard fans will probably find something to love here (I did get a few laughs out of it). But if you are not already a fan or this is your first outing with Augusten Burroughs, I would suggest that you read almost any one of his other books first (though maybe not "Wolf at the Table").
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