Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You Better Not Cry (2010)

by DionysusPsyche

I wanted this review ready to go for Christmas, but you'll just have to add this to your book list for 2012. You Better Not Cry is Burroughs' sixth book and fifth work of non-fiction; a series of Christmas stories throughout his life. Be forewarned though, these stories do not start, “ 'Twas the night before Christmas,” nor do the chapters end with a cup of hot cocoa and dreams of sugar plum fairies dancing through your head.

Reading his essays of Christmas Past is more like reading from Scrooge's diary, and finding out that as a small boy, Scrooge had a twisted, unhappy home with a pill-popping mom and an alcoholic dad. Except Scrooge is mean and exacting, while Burroughs is amusing, eccentric, and particular. Whether it's reading about his confusion between Jesus and Santa Claus, his fear of becoming homeless, or manipulating his parents, Burroughs uses his background in advertising to not only appeal to his audience with his words, but to give his readers immediate gratification. Each of his essays are unwrapped like a nice present under the tree.

I enjoyed his books, but then I've also breezed through Magical Thinking and Dry. This was shorter than his other literature, although also provides less background which initially helped me aclimate to Burroughs' style of writing. He's like fellow essayist David Sedaris, if David Sedaris was biting and used to be an alcoholic. He's an ex-advertising executive (a Mad Man, if you like that show), an athiest, and gay. However, Burroughs is darker than Sedaris. Funnier over all, but also a pinch of Chuck Palanuik's uncomfortable reality behind what he writes. He starts with the most horrifying story (in my opinion) and ends on the happiest note as if to say that he lived happily ever after...at last.


Conclusion
I recommend this for anyone who loves Burroughs' other work, Sedaris's work (I like 1 ½ books he's written), the show Mad Men, or a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Ease with sexual orientation and uncomfortable situations is best as well (I'm not talking The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm discomfort, we're talking some Palanuik or removing a splinter discomfort). It's an easy read on a plane or if you're waiting for someone/something.

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