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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    Dry

    Life as a recovering alcoholic is never easy but then again, neither is growing up with a psychologist and a family of misfits. For Augusten Burroughs, life never followed a form of normality and as he grew older, things only grew more complicated. “Dry” is Burroughs’s sequel to the hilarious memoir “Running with Scissors”, where this time he recounts his struggles that he encounters while trying to remain sober.

    At the beginning of the story, things seem to be working out quite nicely for Augusten who is now living in his own apartment in the heart of New York City.

    Augusten even landed a big time job with an advertising company, which to him, seems perfect given his background with having to lie as a child to escape his manic depressant mother and alcoholic father. But from the very beginning, it becomes apparent that if he doesn’t seek help soon, things could go horribly wrong.

    To cope with the stress of such a high demanding job, Augusten falls into a deadly habit of drinking. Unfortunately, for Augusten drinking doesn’t just mean going out with the guys from work and having a beer. For him, one beer at the bar is only the start to a night of bar hopping which eventually leads to polishing off an entire bottle of cheap liquor. Although he tells himself repeatedly that he will be home by one to catch a couple hours of sleep before work, he always manages to find himself scrambling in the morning.

    True to his stubborn nature, Augusten refuses to admit he has a problem. Even when Augusten’s drinking starts causing him to be late for meetings with important clients, he naively attributes his boss’s anger to his love for over achieving. Ultimately, it is his co-workers who force him into a rehab center for gays. Although still in denial, the threat of his losing his job finally gives Augusten the push he needs to admit himself into rehab.

    Augusten’s first day at rehab, is ironically one of the funniest parts of the book. As Augusten soaks up the surroundings of his new home, he immediately begins reminding himself that he’s not an addict and once he leaves he can divulge into that brand new bottle of Dewers waiting for him at home. He also pokes fun at being given methodone to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms, which he describes as just another addiction. Augusten’s charismatic and surprisingly honest writing, turns what would typically be a depressing glimpse into rehab, into a humorous tale of new friends, strange rituals and crazy attendants.

    After rehab, the plot thickens as the pace of the story starts to pick up. Augusten must learn to cope with the strange life of sobriety which for him means staying away from old temptations. But when Augusten learns that one of his closest friends is HIV positive, the allure of drinking becomes almost unbearable and to make things worse he is falling in love with a very attractive man who just happens to be a former Meth abuser. Augusten’s life is once again put back at risk of resuming old habits and as time runs out, he is finally realizing that he just may be an addict.

    This book is must read for anyone who read and fell in love with “Running with Scissors.” Augusten’s natural story telling ability allows for a book that is not only a quick read but will having you laughing out loud. Even when things get dark, Augusten’s wit and creativity helps keep things light. “Dry” is just another example of the ability that Burroughs has to capture a reader even with a topic as frightening as addiction. I enthusiastically dare any potential readers to pick up this book and fall in love with Augusten Burroughs all over again.

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