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Dry: A Memoir [Paperback]

Augusten Burroughs
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2004
From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry—the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.

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From Amazon

Fans of Augusten Burroughs's darkly funny memoir Running with Scissors were left wondering at the end of that book what would become of young Augusten after his squalid and fascinating childhood ended. In Dry, we find that although adult Augusten is doing well professionally, earning a handsome living as an ad writer for a top New York agency, Burroughs's personal life is a disaster. His apartment is a sea of empty Dewar's bottles, he stays out all night boozing, and he dabs cologne on his tongue in an unsuccessful attempt to mask the stench of alcohol on his breath at work. When his employer insists he seek help, Burroughs ships out to Minnesota for detoxification, counseling, and amusingly told anecdotes about the use of stuffed animals in group therapy. But after a month of such treatment, he's back in Manhattan and tenuously sober. And while its one thing to lay off the sauce in rehab, Burroughs learns that it's quite another to resume your former life while avoiding the alcohol that your former life was based around. This quest to remain sober is made dramatically more difficult, and the tale more harrowing, when Burroughs begins an ill-advised romance with a crack addict. Certainly the "recovered alcoholic fighting to stay sober" tale is not new territory for a memoirist. But Burroughs's account transcends clichés: it doesn't adhere to the traditional "temptation narrowly resisted" storyline and it features, in Burroughs himself, a central character that is sympathetic even when he's neither likable nor admirable. But what ultimately makes this memoir such a terrific read is a brilliant and candid sense of humor that manages to stay dry even when recalling events where the author was anything but. --John Moe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Imagine coming home to find hundreds of empty scotch bottles and 1,452 empty beer bottles in your apartment. This is what Burroughs (Running with Scissors) encountered upon returning from Minnesota's Proud Institute (supposedly the gay alcohol rehab choice). "The truly odd part is that I really don't know how they got there," admits Burroughs in this autobiographical tale of being a prodigy with an extremely successful career in advertising and a drive to get as wasted as possible as often as possible. Burroughs's telling of the tale alternates among hilarious, pathetic, existential and hopeful. It is an earnest and cautionary tale of calamity, brimming with Sedaris-like darkly comic quips: "Making alcoholic friends is as easy as making sea monkeys." Burroughs's slight Southern accent and gentle yet glib delivery should summon empathy on the listener's part that may have been lost with another reader. From Minnesota, Burroughs returns to New York and participates in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Like James Frey in the similar yet very different book, A Million Little Pieces (see audio review, below), Burroughs believes that when rehab is over, he must walk into a bar to see if he can resist the temptation to drink. Though not a technique condoned by A.A., it certainly makes for a fascinating listening experience.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Sometimes when you work in advertising you'll get a product that's really garbage and you have to make it seem fantastic, something that is essential to the continued quality of life. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From his point of view March 8 2006
In New York, in advertising, alcoholism is not a sin when it's manifested in sarcasm, verbal abuse, flakiness or paranoia. In New York, in advertising, you have a drinking problem the morning the muted odor of last night's booze wafts from your pores through a gallon of cologne while the client - a conservative suit inhabited by a man of porterhouse steaks, missionary sex and tax-friendly charitible donations - stands four feet away, narrowing his eyes at you, the creative lush, about to drown the company new line's of crap in bottles of expensive, fashionable liquid stashed in nine convenient locations around the apartment.
It's nowhere near bottom, and though that eventually becomes part of the problem, that's what passes for an addict's epiphany in Augusten Burrough's DRY, his sharpest, saddest, most focused book, an honest retelling of his wobbly recovery from alcoholism and his eventual, total relapse (telegraphed through the entire narrative) that's more intense and devastating than his original tour of addictive duty. When Burroughs finally gets to the bottom of his self-destructive impulses - his attraction to similarly damaged souls and his almost intrinsic narcissism - he completes a surprisingly effective, witty testimonial for day-to-day recovery.
Sent to rehab when his agency thinks his addiction finally overwhelmed his creative abilities, Burroughs zips through his time at the clinic without tremendous discomfort before returning to an apartment pocked with empty bottles, trash and rotted food. He steps right back into the ad world while a best friend/lover, Pighead, struggles with AIDS and a friend from the clinic, also in recovery, moves in.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than "Running" June 17 2005
Could not put this book down. Also read "Runnning with Scissors" and loved it. Equally enjoyed "The Bark of the Dogwood" with its similar weirdness and angst and humor. Screamed in the bookstore when I saw "Dry" was there and I would have it to take on my vacation. Read for 18 hours straight then spaced it out so as not finish it too quickly. (Did not want to live without Augusten in my life!) Every line made me either laugh out loud or want to memorize it to use later to perfectly describe something. After reading, I feel like I have been an alcoholic, been to rehab, relapsed (cried when Augusten did) and got sober again. This is an absolutley "must read" and will be read by me over and over again until he writes another!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Stop July 22 2005
Don't let the subjects of drinking and alcohol make you think this is a story romanticizing the wild life. Far from it. "Dry" shows very vividly how damaging alcoholism can be and how quickly a fun time bender can turn into a perpetual destruction of a promising life. Also recommended: "The Glass Castle", "My Fractured Life", and "A Long Way Down."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addiction is abuse of self April 1 2004
By A Customer
Ursula, Memoir fan
This book is a wonderful piece of literature. It is hard to put down and you are given the lessons to understand addictions in its raw forms. Addictions of any kind, take a toll on the person. This author does well to tell us his story and to make us understand what it is like to walk in his shoes. You also are shown 'HOW' this addiction comes about. The abuse is abuse...is abuse theory. That people live what they are taught in so many ways. What a compelling piece of work. I would also like to mention here a few other Memoir style books that have captured my attention the way that 'DRY' has. They are: 'NIGHTMARES ECHO,MY FRACTURED LIFE and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Read 'DRY'!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Elite Feb. 22 2005
Augusten Burroughs created a masterpiece when he wrote Running With Scissors. His follow up Dry is one of the rare books to match the brilliance of its predecessor. Burroughs has a rare ability to infuse an interplay of comical musings that tempers the worries of addiction and abuse accounts. This unorthodox delivery introduced in Running With Scissors and carried through in Dry is more in tune with what one would expect from a fiction novelist than in the world of Memoir. In the world of books Dry stands together in the elite world of Running With Scissors, Nightmares Echo, Naked Lunch, and My Fractured Life. It is a richly rewarding book that hits the mark.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Water please Jan. 5 2005
I can't say enough about this book. It is brutally honest and touching and deals with many issues that many will find difficult to deal with e.g. alcoholism, homosexuality, AIDS. If you liked Running with Scissors, you'll like this more mature memoir better. Highly recommended. If you liked Jackson McCrae's "The Children's Corner" then you'll love this book as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Augusten Burroughs Jan. 7 2007
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 it, you'll read about Augusten's stint in rehab for his alcohol addiction. 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, we meet 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 judgement, 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 so wrapped up in his attempt to stay sober, Foster, and his job.

Eventually, he falls off the wagon. However, the reason for why he does ultimately stop drinking 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, etc moments, in a book full of interesting characters and anecdotes.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
Finding yourself having a crap day? Pick yourself up by reading this great story. Very funny, sad and really hits home. Read more
Published 10 months ago by not one more
5.0 out of 5 stars great
I read running with scissors a few years ago and decided to pick this one up.

I was hooked from the very first page. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2008 by T. Bigney
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down.
I literally read this book in one sitting. It was so well written that I was completely engrossed in the story. Its graphic, real, and heartwrenching. Read more
Published on Dec 10 2007 by A. John
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to "Running ..." but close
Read "Running with Scissors " first. Dark, funny and sad. It was appallingly funny in spots. A good , but disturbing read.
Published on July 4 2007 by Mary Ellen
1.0 out of 5 stars So I plucked this book from a remainder table ...
... and thought that since it was a hardcover and selling for two bucks on final clearance, I'd give it a try. Read more
Published on March 10 2007 by Anthony Famularo
5.0 out of 5 stars This guy is not all wet
I can't say enough about this book. It is brutally honest and touching and deals with many issues that many will find difficult to deal with e.g. alcoholism, homosexuality, AIDS. Read more
Published on June 28 2005 by John Vanerknute
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Like Running With Scissors -- Try this!
Augusten is a lucky bum. In his life, he's given chance after chance, blows it again and again -- yet somehow makes it through. Read more
Published on June 4 2005 by Larry Koeken
5.0 out of 5 stars Raise Your Glass
I raise a toast to Augusten Burroughs for "Dry." This is a brilliant account of alcoholism. Read more
Published on March 1 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Not dry at all
What a solid follow up to Running With Scissors. It's so nice that it isn't a let down after his brilliant, bestselling, and critically acclaimed account of his bizarre childhood. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2005 by D.Haines
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