Monthly Archives April 2008

Dry by Augusten Burroughs – book review

The word "Dry" is in black. The color streaks down the page as if the book had been rained on

I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary that you read Burroughs’ first memoir before reading Dry, because Burroughs does a great job of filling in the blanks just enough to make the reader get what he’s referring to. I still highly recommend reading Running with Scissors first, anyway, to get the full story, the whole experience.

Dry takes place a few years after the end of Running With Scissors, and is primarily about Burrough’s stint in rehab, getting “dry”. He was working in advertising, and basically was given the choice of going to rehab because of his drinking, or losing his job. He “chose” rehab.

Part of this book is about his experience in rehab, the people he met there, his thoughts and feelings about it all. Some of what happened is profound, and some quite ridiculous. Burroughs has a talent for placing the reader inside his head, just behind his eyes, as he walks through these life events. It’s like you are there, watching it in real time.

The rest of the book is about what happens after he gets ou...

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Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs – book review

A boy with a cardboard box covering his head

Your childhood, no matter how bad or crazy you think it was, will seem tame by comparison. Running with Scissors is one of those memoirs that makes all of us with “bad childhoods” feel a little more “normal”. Burroughs writes so honestly, so intimately, censoring nothing, that it makes the reader feel like you’ve been sitting inside his head while these events were being lived.

Burroughs has his family fall apart at an early age. His dad is clearly an alcoholic, and his mom starts going crazy. She starts seeing this really eccentric psychologist (as a therapist, not as a lover) and suddenly, Augusten finds himself spending more and more time with the therapist’s crazy family. By the time he turns twelve, his parents are divorced, his dad won’t return his phone calls, and his mother has arranged things so that her therapist has now legally adopted Augusten.

The book describes the absolute squaller that Augusten lived in with this family. He details all the insanity that surrounds him, from the therapist’s bizarre theories and methods, to the actual crazy people who lived there too.

Augusten is pretty much left to make his own de...

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Renfield Slave of Dracula by Barbara Hambly – book review

Large, black, spiders are on a red door.

Did you love the story in the book Dracula by Bram Stoker? Did you also enjoy the style of the book The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova? If so, then Hambly’s book Renfield: Slave of Dracula is your next read.

Readers who are familiar with the story line and characters in Stoker’s book, will have no trouble falling right into Hambly’s book. Much of the action that takes place in Dracula happens in this book too, but, from the point of view of the character Renfield (who is Dracula’s slave in both books).

Renfield is “connected” to Dracula, and also to Dracula’s three wives. As a result, he is able to “watch” the events that are going on that involved the other characters, despite the fact that he, himself, is locked in a mental hospital for a big chunk of the book. It was a nice treat to “visit with” many of the characters from Stoker’s book, once again, and the viewpoint from inside Renfield’s head was an interesting twist.

Hambly includes some passages from Stoker’s book, mostly in the form of lette...

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Prey by Michael Crichton – book review

A green swarm hovers over the title

Somewhere in Nevada, science has gone terribly wrong. The book Prey can be described as a science-fiction/thriller.

Jack, a self described “househusband”, stays home and takes care of his three children. Julia, his wife, is a scientist, working on a top secret project that Jack (and the other spouses) know almost nothing about. It turns out that no one, not even the scientists in charge of this project, were very well informed about what it was they were up against.

The whole b...

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