Dry : A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Written by Bev. Posted in books, Reviews

As a fan of the humorous memoirs genre (with such writers as, most notably, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs), I honestly loved this book. In Dry, you’ll read about Augusten’s stint in rehab for his alcohol addiction and his subsequent “life after rehab”. The beginning starts off with how his life is, working at an advertising agency and being a drunk (sometimes suffering from a hangover at work, noticeable by his co-workers). Eventually, his boss tells him he should check into a rehab centre. He chooses a “gay friendly” rehab and there, he meets all sorts of interesting characters. One of which is a doctor who stole Valium from his patients and Paul, “the first pregnant man [Augusten] has ever seen”. He also meets a British guy named Hayden, who’s also an alcoholic and a crack addict on top of that, and the two soon become fast friends. 

After he checks out of rehab, Augusten has to attend group therapy with other addicts, which is where he meets a really handsome fellow named Foster. Augusten seems to fall for him, against his better judgment, if not just because the guy is, well, REALLY GORGEOUS. Throughout all this, the story of fighting addiction is intertwined with his story about his relationship with “Pighead”, whom you may remember referenced to in some of Augusten’s other books. Things aren’t going so well for Pighead in terms of his health but Augusten is just too wrapped up in his attempt to stay sober, his new boy toy Foster, and his job, to really be there for his old friend.

Eventually, he falls off the wagon. And when he falls off the wagon, he falls off hard and it looks bleak as to whether he even has the will power to return to the course of sobriety. However, when he eventually does stop drinking, the reason for why he does is really endearing and will bring a tear to your eye, an ache to your heart.

This book shows the ups and downs of the on-going battle of sobriety. It’s full of funny, endearing, sad, and wistful moments, in a book full of engrossing characters and anecdotes. As for how this compares to his best-seller, Running with Scissors, I’d say that they are quite similar in tone and it would be hard for me to choose one or the other as the clear winner. However, as of now, I am swaying to Dry as the winner because of its relatability. Perhaps not relating as a fellow addict to the author’s struggles, but relating to a bleak time in everyone’s life where everything seems out of control. This book, in many ways, offers some comfort that things can get better.

I highly recommend it, as well as all the other books from Augusten Burroughs!


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