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Magical Thinking: True Stories

Magical Thinking: True Stories


Magical Thinking: True Stories

ratings:
3.5/5 (39 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 1, 2004
ISBN:
9781593975777
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

A contest of wills with a deranged cleaning lady. The execution of a rodent carried out with military precision and utter horror. Telemarketing revenge. A different kind of "roof work". Dating an undertaker who drives a mini-van.

This is the fabric of Augusten Burroughs's life: a collection of true stories that are universal in their appeal yet unabashedly intimate, stories that shine a flashlight into both dark and hilarious places. With Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs goes where other memoirists fear to tread.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 1, 2004
ISBN:
9781593975777
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Augusten Burroughs is the author of Running with Scissors (Atlantic 2004), Dry (Atlantic 2005), Magical Thinking (Atlantic 2005) and Possible Side Effects (Atlantic 2007), all of which have been New York Times bestsellers and are published around the world. A film version of Running with Scissors starring Annette Benning and Gwyneth Paltrow was adapted for the screen by Ryan Murphy. Augusten has been named one of the fifteen funniest people in America by Entertainment Weekly. Sellevision is his latest book. He lives in New York City and western Massachusetts.

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Reviews

What people think about Magical Thinking

3.7
39 ratings / 33 Reviews
What did you think?
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book more than Running With Scissors due to the various subjects of the essays. Many focused on Burroughs dating life, which, at times, sounded hilariously (scarily?) similar to my own. Overall, the book seemed much lighter and funnier than his memoir, which made it easier to read.
  • (5/5)
    Very funny and enjoyable
  • (1/5)
    Either I've become a cranky, old woman, or this book is really terrible. I forced myself to read all of the essays in this book because reviewers from such notable newspapers as The New York Times and The Chicago Sun-Times have described other works by Augusten Burroughs with such words as "entertaining", great", "breathtaking", and "funny". I found no reason to laugh or smile throughout this book. Rather, I found this book lacked any grace. Additionally, I was offended by lines such as the following which might have found entertaining:"But Dennis and I will have none of this madness. Neither of us wants to accept the special challenges presented by a severely handicapped Romanian child or a baby who was born addicted to crack and has only half a head.""After a year, my body was transformed. But only from Auschwitz into lean.""When I get a craving for Nature, I turn on the Discovery channel and watch bear-attack survivors recount their horror and show the results of their reconstructive surgery."I think I've had my fill of this author's crude attempts at humor.
  • (5/5)
    There are few authors who can write autobiographically-based short stories and end with me desperately wanting to befriend them. Not that it would work...I'm a bit more enthusiastic than Augusten Burroughs might care to handle.

    I'm starting to lose count of the number of times I've read this.
  • (2/5)
    Ok. I really, really wanted to like this book a lot. It was a quick, easy read: a compilation of snippets from the author's life and thoughts. A few of the stories unfolded nicely and others felt like Burroughs was trying a bit too hard to jar the reader. It reminded me of the kid who sticks a pencil in his nose to get everyone’s attention. Vanderbilt Genes and Telemarketing Revenge were two stories that were just right. For me, towards the end of the book it felt like a repeating merry-go-round of darkness that just wasn’t funny, interesting or engaging.
  • (5/5)
    Wry, witty, funny, sarcastic, mean (at times)...I adore Augusten Burroughs. His take on the world around him is so sharp. This book covers everything from his childhood obsession with being famous (and then freezing up for a commercial for Tang) to his now domesticated life with boyfriend Dennis. His written is beautiful and his take on the world unique. Love his nonfiction.
  • (2/5)
    Heavily disguised autobiographical anecdotes, neither as funny or as clever as they would like to think.
  • (4/5)
    Boy, is this outside my normal parameters! Burroughs' writing is candid, direct, and sometimes uncomfortable. But his skill with words and feelings is so precise, I was driven from page to page to follow his thinking and explore his life. This series of essays is alternately funny, touching, hilarious, off-putting, amusing, and horrifying. But it is, in the end, uplifting and hopeful. To find that one person you feel blessed to share oxygen with is the ultimate goal of most humans - and Burroughs has found his. How blessed he is.This is an excellent book, that I would recommend, even to my white-bread arrow-straight friends. I'm white-bread and arrow-straight myself, and I found it truly intriguing.
  • (3/5)
    I love just about anything that Augusten Burroughs writes. This wasn't my super favorite (Dry), but it was enjoyable.
  • (5/5)
    The true stories in this book are brilliant, full of humour and a self deprecating wit. Perhaps the author has at long last found some happiness.
  • (5/5)
    I love him!! He's so quirky, and his life seems so unbelievable, but he's great - I always laugh out loud when I read him!
  • (4/5)
    Quick, easy read with plenty of laughs. I was never overly fond of this author's novels but his short stories seem to hit right on the head. I've loaned this book out several times, and find myself coming back to it now and again for a brief bit of escapism. Each story is a unique gem and, in many cases, a joke unto itself.
  • (5/5)
    My favorite story is "Debby's Requirements", the ending made me smile in a revengeful sort of way.I also like what Augusten and his art director Greer do when they realized they had eavesdroppers.
  • (3/5)
    his was an awkward read for me. Augusten's life is so different from mine and his meanness disturbed me. I didn't like it in the same way that I didn't like Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone, which is probably my most-hated book ever.The difference is that Wally Lamb's books was fiction, and Augusten Burroughs' book is not. So, whether I like it or not, Burroughs lives his life and has the courage to put it into print, and I have to grant some credit for that.Yes, Magical Thinking: True Stories is funny. Yes, it was intriguing. I felt a bit like a tourist reading it. Much in the same way that I was an embarrassed sojourner whilst reading certain parts of Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex or whist walking around Amsterdam's sadly fascinating red-light district. Augusten's life is sordid and mean and he doesn't seem to notice or mind. I felt sad after reading his book.One of my Christmas gifts was Oliver Van DeMille's A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, which came highly recommended from my cousin (who is a published poet you know). I will review the whole book later, but for know I want to share with you the four classifications of stories: bent, broken, whole, and healing. A. Bent stories portray evil as good and good as evil. Such stories are meant to enhance the evil tendencies of the reader, such as pornography and many horror books and movies. The best decision regarding Bent stories is to avoid them like the plague. B. Broken stories portray accurately evil as evil and good as good, but evil wins. Something is broken, not right, in need of fixing. Such books are not uplifting (in the common sense of the word), but can be transformation in a positive way. Broken stories can be very good for the reader if they motivate him or her to heal them, to fix them. The Communist Manifesto is a broken classic; so are and The Lord of the Flies and 1984, In each of these, evil wins; but they have been very motivating to me because I have felt a real need to help reverse their impact in the real world. C. Whole stories are where good is good and good wins. Most of the classics are in this category, and readers should spend most of their time in such works. D. Healing stories can be either Whole or Broken stories where the reader is profoundly moved, changed, or significantly improved by her reading experience.Magical Thinking: True Stories? Broken.
  • (4/5)
    I like Augusten Burroughs' style for the most part, although this one didn't "wow" me like his memoirs Running With Scissors and the follow-up Dry, both of which I enjoyed immensely. But like the others, this is not for the weak at heart -- it's a very blunt, in-your-face collection of short stories which are often disturbing. The language tends to be strong, there's a lot of references to his gay lifestyle (sometimes detailed), and he tends to be rather opinionated on certain issues. But if you're okay with that, you'll likely enjoy this. The man definitely has issues, but I think I would too, had I had a background such as his.
  • (3/5)
    A friend of mine told me this is his favorite book by Augusten Burroughs, whom he loves.

    All I'm saying is, if this is one of his better efforts, I'm probably not going to bother with the rest. It's amazing that someone who claims such an extraordinary childhood can have such a mundane style.
  • (3/5)
    This is a follow on 'memoir' from the author of Running with Scissors, Dry, and -- his first book-- Sellevision. The book is a random walk of the author's musings about gay life, living in New York City, being an author, his long-term relationship, and more. The book jumps from laugh-out-loud funny to verging on the pornographic to the sadly desperate. Burroughs opens his heart and soul to the reader--and the effect is a touching, charming, self-aware--but sometimes vindictive--openness that makes the reader yearn for more (and be a little bit scared of Burroughs!). Burroughs is a solid writer, and his technique plus facility at story-telling makes the book move along, perhaps even too fast at times. The stories themselves run the gamut: one about having angry spells during taking steroids-for purely cosmetic purposes- (Roid Rage); one about a psychotic cleaning lady; and others about spurned lovers and his longtime boyfriend. If you are easily put off, and have interest in either gay culture or New York City life, this will be hilarious. If you have delicate sensibilities or aren't amused by the antics and neuroses of someone truly in need of either therapy or some stabilizing influence, then stay away from this one.
  • (2/5)
    Very interesting, if sometimes silly, collection of anecdotes. He leads a very different life to me that whilst I know these are true stories and I can believe it to be someone's life, it is sooo different to mine that it is just so strange. I particularly like the rat/thing chapter (well, at least the funny beginning) - I feel really sorry for the rat/thing in the middle & just amazed at what Augusten Burroughs was doing to it! Whilst I didn't find the stories funny enough to laugh out loud, I find I was shaking my head a lot of the time (sometimes unconsciously). I'm just glad there are other silly & just as weird people out there other than myself. LOL. A very easy read although some references I couldn't recognise/understand and that could be due to differences in generation, country, & bringing up.
  • (4/5)
    I don't know how this man ever survived past his childhood and early twenties!! Burroughs delivers another quick-paced, amusing, and utterly stupefying tale.
  • (4/5)
    AS with his other books-a very funny look at difficult times.
  • (1/5)
    David Sedaris-lite. Encounters with strange people and situations, mostly in New York. A neurotic narrator. You get the feeling there's a germ of truth in all these personal essays, but a lot of exaggeration. Which I suppose sums up Running With Scissors, but this one is nowhere near as harrowing. Much of this book feels like stuff that didn't make the first cut. Both Sedaris and Burroughs are gay and now in long-term relationships with dully normal, well-adjusted partners. AB is different from Sedaris in that he has a long history of alcoholism. They both come from strange families, but Sedaris doesn't see that his was damaging and regards his parents affectionately.What I found most intriguing about AB in this collection, although it's only alluded to, is that he had a very long and apparently successful career in advertising. (And how do you maintain that with a serious drinking habit?) He could probably write a good novel with that kind of knowledge and experiences. Perhaps he has; I see that he's written several books since this one.
  • (4/5)
    A little uneven. Autobiographical stories, mostly from his life after rehab. Some as good as Dry, others as irritating as Running With Scissors.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book, a collection of true, quirky, and honest stories, hilarious and universal in their appeal. Each chapter is its own anecdote, not necessarily related to the others, and most are humorous, although a handful are a tad serious. Burroughs is able to turn the most mundane event, such as finding a rat in his bathtub, training his NYC dog to pee on grass, or messing with telemarketers, into an absolutely fascinating narrative. Had I realized that this was third in a series of memoirs by this author, I would have have saved this for last, but it stood on its own just fine. It was a quick read that I finished in a few hours and was unable to put down. I'd recommend this to readers who enjoy comedy or memoirs in general, but I'd suggest beginning with the other two books, "Running with Scissors" and "Dry."
  • (4/5)
    Many Burroughs fans probably won't find this quite as engaging as "Running With Scissors" or even "Dry." Still, there are some delightful laugh-out-loud moments, spawned by memorable characters and offbeat encounters.
  • (3/5)
    Augusten Burroughs's life is like a train wreck-- fascinating & horrible all at once.
  • (4/5)
    Score one for Amazon. I was recommended this, I assume on the basis of my liking David Sedaris, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One sees the same sort of progression in Sedaris' work from young messed-up kid to someone who appears to have at least some control over his life, which is rather cheering, and with plenty of laughs along the way.
  • (3/5)
    This book was good, if not a little disturbing at moments. Burroughs is damn funny in the midst of sardonically skewering himself, his family, his friends, and everybody else he comes across.I think I would've liked it better if I would've read Running with Scissors first.
  • (3/5)
    Burroughs' novel, Magical Thinking: True Stories, is a hilariously blunt memoir describing the unconventional thoughts and occurances in the life of a gay man from his strange childhood through adulthood. His series of stories weave together his almost unbelievable life, as he toys with the idea of a sex change, stumbles across numerous unusual relationships, a modeling attempt, and a psychotic maid. The memoir is definitely unique, and is overall a good read.
  • (3/5)
    I found this collection of short stories about the author's life somewhat amusing, though I don't think I got quite the shock value Burroughs intended. Some of the stories had me chuckling, but others I found myself simply saying so what. I found him to be extremely vain and shallow, and fortunately he sees himself with these qualities too so he wasn't deluding himself which made me feel better about him. (I really dislike shallow people but I suppose I can stand them a bit more when at least they realize how shallow they are.)His story about magical thinking really rang true though. There are no coincidences, and if you put enough energy into your thoughts and desires, you can affect change in the world around you. It's one of the premises of many earth-based religions. Though he approached the subject as if everyone thought he was crazy because he believed it. His exact beliefs about baby Jesus and a cow though, that was pretty cute. But again, each of us is entitled to envision divinity in our own manner, like different facets of a diamond, all paths to the same thing, and all that...I remember also thinking, while I was reading this, that though he had a fucked-up life, and did some wacky things, my own life would probably be just as comedic and shocking were I to put all my past experiences into a book. I had my own strange oral surgery experience, a somewhat similar rodent/rat incident, and my own way of dealing with door-to-door Jehovah Witnesses that seems to come up at every party I attend. But this journal entry isn't about my own experiences; I bring it up only to make the point that a lot of these stories didn't strike me as strange as they may have others possibly because I've had just as strange experiences in my own life.That said, though I found the book interesting enough to continue reading all the way through, I think it was about half way that I began to find them getting a bit more dull. Again, most likely just the way they affected me personally.
  • (2/5)
    Some chapters were disturbing and I wish that I could remove the memory, but overall it was mostly entertaining. Not quite as witty as Sedaris.