Date Completed: 5/18/2016
The beginning of this book made my skin crawl. I remember reading Running with Scissors a while ago, but this is not how I remembered it. However, that doesn’t mean it was bad. Something about the way Burroughs writes sucks me in and captivates me for all the gross imagery and then spits me back out into the world wondering how I ever think straight.
Much as the title describes, Lust and Wonder focuses on Augusten Burroughs’ (primarily romantic) relationships with various people throughout his life. We hear about the deaths and struggles, loves and bores. He details relationships that drag on for far too long and relationships that he put off for too long because he was afraid to fall in love with someone who would not stay around forever.
Fortunately the whole book wasn’t as vile as the beginning. About halfway through the book I remembered why I liked his writing so much: for its brutal honesty. Burroughs truly writes what comes to his mind and honestly remembers his reactions to events and circumstances. Although descriptions may disgust me, they also give me even more respect for Burroughs because he is genuine about his feelings regardless of what society may think about him. While so many of us spend so much energy trying to portray ourselves in a certain way and hiding thoughts that would make us vulnerable, different, or otherwise, Burroughs puts it all out there for anyone to read, even though he may have had a lot more twisted experiences than the rest of us who try to hide our weirdness.
This book is not for someone with a weak disposition. Enter this book prepared to learn more about the deep dark recesses of Burroughs’ mind than you hoped to know about anybody’s. And expect to be pleasantly surprised when you find yourself turning inward and asking which aspects of your own life are you avoiding because you are afraid? Be prepared to examine why you think some things you do are unacceptable and ask what will bring you joy and how can you bring joy to others in a productive way.
Augusten Burroughs is the author of several memoirs including Running with Scissors and Dry. I believe it’s worth giving his books a try, but they are not light reading and there are plenty of moments that are totally socially unacceptable. While I wouldn’t recommend it, the overall experience is by far worth it to me.
I received a copy of this book through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.