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Review: You Better Not Cry

December 21, 2010

You Better Not Cry is an odd little collection of seven short stories by Augusten Burroughs.   The stories are from Burroughs own life and are all set around Christmas, so this book would technically be a memoir.   The stories begin in the author’s childhood when he confused Santa and Jesus and end when he’s an adult and his house is flooded and he’s touched by a neighbor’s kindness.

A few of the stories are funny, but some are sad, so this isn’t your typical Christmas book – it’s not going to leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.  I did find myself drawn to the stories and looked forward to picking the book back up, even when it seemed Burroughs was on a path to destruction.   I’m just not sure I would classify this book as a Christmas read – even though the stories take place around Christmas, most of them really aren’t Christmas stories.

I found the writing in You Better Not Cry to be solid, and I liked it, but don’t think I’d go so far as to say that I loved it.   Of course, I did find some of the stories more entertaining than others.  Parts of the book may offend some readers.

Review copy provided by St. Martin’s Press.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
32 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 5:22 am

    You write such good reviews. You say all that needs to be said. I adore short stories. I like the idea of short stories about a person’s life. The book cover makes me curious and a little tickled. I want to read this one definitely. I’ve always seen this author’s name. Have never read his books. Does he always write short stories like Alice Munro or other authors?

  2. December 21, 2010 6:31 am

    interesting cover…

  3. December 21, 2010 6:42 am

    Yes, that is quite a cover! I’m not sure how I feel about Augusten Burroughs. I liked the writing in the book I read, but it did leave me feeling depressed…

  4. December 21, 2010 7:32 am

    I think the cover alone tells us this isn’t going to be traditional 😛

  5. December 21, 2010 8:29 am

    I was wondering about this one. Not entirely sure it’s for me though!

  6. December 21, 2010 8:40 am

    sounds like a fun read and look at the cover!

  7. December 21, 2010 8:41 am

    I am not a big Burroughs fan for some reason. I read Running With Scissors a few years ago, and while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t really love it either. I think this book sounds like something I would probably pass on, though I did enjoy your review!

  8. December 21, 2010 8:55 am

    Not looking for depression right this minute! And I am unsure about my attitude towards the author. Seems like maybe this book has some confused goals. Obviously a Xmas read but not the right content?

  9. December 21, 2010 9:19 am

    The cover puts me off right away.

  10. December 21, 2010 12:06 pm

    This makes me want to leaf through it and decide if I might like these. Authors, at least in the past, have had little control over what is put on the covers of their books.

  11. December 21, 2010 12:08 pm

    I have the last 2 short stories to finish, I think it is hilarious, he will totally offend many. Great review Kathy.

    I did a teaser from it today.

  12. December 21, 2010 12:21 pm

    The cover is fabulous alone. It reminds me a bit of The Santaland Diaries.

  13. December 21, 2010 12:39 pm

    Lol, oh that cover, bad bad santa!

  14. December 21, 2010 12:54 pm

    “Parts of the book may offend some readers.” – should probably be a tag line on everything he has written! Like you – some stories I like, others leave me cold. Can’t remember if I actual read this one or if I am just remembering the cover!

  15. Beth Hoffman permalink
    December 21, 2010 2:30 pm

    Burroughs is certainly one very interesting chap!

  16. December 21, 2010 3:51 pm

    I have seen this book around and thought it was supposed to be a fun book, glad I read your review. Know not to pick it up. Thanks for an honest review.
    Happy Holidays!

  17. December 21, 2010 5:32 pm

    I always feel that way about his work — I like it, but I don’t love it. Thank you, Kathy!

  18. December 21, 2010 5:51 pm

    Sometimes I just think he’s odd 😀

  19. December 21, 2010 6:08 pm

    Diggin’ the cover, though…

  20. December 21, 2010 6:09 pm

    That book cover cracks me up! Doesn’t sound like it would be one that I would enjoy though.

  21. December 21, 2010 7:30 pm

    I love the cover too! This book sounds a little dark, but you know not everyone’s Christmas is full of happy memories so maybe a dose of reality could be good and I am sure it is all done with usual sense of humor. Could be fun!

  22. December 22, 2010 8:48 am

    I don’t think I’ll read anything by this author again. I just didn’t like Running With Scissors, though it was very…um…interesting. The cover of this book is such a turn off!

  23. December 22, 2010 10:43 am

    I’ve heard good and bad things about this author….in terms of who likes him and who doesn’t. I haven’t read any of his books, but this short story collection might be a good way to be introduced to his writing style.

  24. December 22, 2010 11:40 am

    LOL – that’s quite the cover. I’ve read a few of Burrough’s books – not sure this one would be for me.

  25. stacybuckeye permalink
    December 22, 2010 1:05 pm

    The cover made me think this would be a great Christmas gift, but your review changed my mind!

  26. December 22, 2010 2:47 pm

    Sounds like one I should put on my list for next year. I find that in any story collection, there are usually some that I like better than others.

  27. December 22, 2010 9:03 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed Burrough’s books so this one sounds like a good fit for me. I don’t usually do “Christmas” books but I like the sound of this one.

  28. December 23, 2010 7:58 am

    I haven’t read this collection, but I have read some of his other work. He had a very different upbringing (to say the least) and I generally like his work.

  29. December 23, 2010 11:08 am

    Any relations to William Burroughs of Naked Lunch??

    This book sounds interesting and a different take on the holiday read.

    Adding it and girl love your reviews. Keep em coming 🙂

  30. December 24, 2010 11:56 pm

    I still like Running with Scissors better. I remember I liked the last story best (the one with Dennis in their house) – I thought it was rather touching… I think they’ve broken up now though which make me a bit sad. I think he’s an amazing storyteller and just draw me in! I am not easily offended though and knew what to expect coming in (read all his other books except the fiction).

    I thought the cover actually fits the book quite well! Whoever doesn’t like the cover probably won’t like the book 🙂

  31. December 25, 2010 4:01 pm

    After reading A WOLF AT THE TABLE I realized that my reading style isn’t a good ‘fit’ for this author. I do have a few friends who really appreciate his sense of humor, though.

  32. December 29, 2010 7:42 am

    I’m reading, and loving, this book at the moment. I’ve not read any of his other books, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I am not easily shocked, and have a rather black sense of humour, so I’ve found some of this alarmingly funny. Interestingly in Australia we have a different cover- instead of flashing Santa (which makes perfect sense when you’ve read the book) we have a dog sitting with his head bowed, his eyes covered by a Santa cap.

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