Augusten Burroughs Bothers Me

August 13, 2006 erinstine

So I am currently reading Possible Side Effects.  I’ve not read Augusten Burroughs before but had heard that he was very much in the same vein as David Sedaris, who I love (One of the benefits of working in a library is that during your regular working hours you can walk by a book and say ‘huh, I think I’ll check that out’).  And I have to say (even though I have gotten through most of the book) that he kind of just rubs me the wrong way.  I realize this is not a very literary criticism.  But his tone is wildly different from Sedaris, and I understand (though I don’t agree with) the comparison to say that because both men write humorous nonfiction (debatable?) that they are lumped together in the same breath.  Where Sedaris is irreverent even when closing a story with a neatly bowed ‘moral,’ Burroughs leaves me with a suspicion that he is trying to convince me of something.  Though they both write about things that happened to them, I feel like Burroughs leaves himself much more vulnerable to criticism.  His stories read so personally (which is odd since some of it is ficticious) that I feel like I can criticize him as a person.  Sedaris, maybe because he is just a better writer, composes a story that while also personal is also somehow seperate.  Sedaris creates a new thing while Burroughs offers bits of himself.

That’s my two cents anyway. 

Entry Filed under: Books, Movies, Music, Televison,Uncategorized

One Comment Add your own

  • 1. that library girl  |  August 14, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Augusten Burroughs rubs me the wrong way, too. And I love David Sedaris. Burroughs… just kinda gives me the creeps. How’s that for literary criticism? 🙂 Plus, when his stuff seems fictitious, I feel like he’s lying to me. When Sedaris seems fake, I think he’s just telling me a good story. I can’t put my finger on the difference.


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