Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs

So he's gay, he was born in New York but spent time south of the Mason-Dixon line, and he writes about his chaotic professional life, his past drug use, his idiosyncrasies, vacations with his partner, and traveling to Europe.

And he's not David Sedaris.

Augusten Burroughs has collected some amusing essays in this collection, and some filler to go along with it. The voice is a little too contrived and self-conscious for my taste, but there are some genuinely funny moments. And some humorously genuine ones.

And though they deal with similar ideas, Burroughs isn't just a poor-man's Sedaris. They have different perspectives and different stories. They're both funny, though I think Burroughs relies too heavily on the easy joke or the shocking image, where Sedaris's humor is cleverer. If they relate at all, Burroughs might be the working-man's Sedaris. His background is a bit more squalid, his struggles earthier and more primal.

I don't feel like I wasted my time reading this book, but if someone said they intended to read both authors I'd advise them to start with Sedaris.

2 comments:

M.Filly said...

I find that quite amusing. I recently began reading "Running with Scissors", the autobiography of Burrough's youth. (I saw the movie, and much prefer that to the book. Does that make me a Philestine?) Anyway, I found it an interesting coincidence.

Jason said...

Let me know what you think of that book. Probably doesn't make you a Philistine--that film was panned in every outlet I saw it reviewed in.