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Augusten Burroughs bares his soul in this memoir about his days in rehab. In a way it is a tour de force through the pain of overcoming an addiction to alcohol. But in some ways, it made me need a drink to get through all two hundred and some odd pages. Which is a shame because Burroughs is a talented writer with a real gift of comedy.

This outing never finds its stride as it bounces between the twisted humor of a rehab center that caters to mainly gay addicts, and a serious look at the effects of drinking on the life of the author. The sections about his life prior to entering rehab and the days spent drying out in rehab are about the only passages that have any real life in them. After that the book turns into one long and predictable soap opera. He goes to the AA sessions and attends group therapy meetings until he meets a new man and falls in love. Of course the new lover is in one of the many group meetings heís attending which is a violation of the rules. The relationship goes south when the new lover goes back to his old lover thatís still addicted.

  
 
The break up of that affair added to the imminent death of Burroughs' old lover combine to send him back to the bottle. Like any other memoir of an abuser, this one chronicles how bad the author felt to enjoy his addiction again and how he hated himself for it. The problem is not the material covered in this book; itís how the writer deals with it. He tells the reader all the details of what happens but never really lets go of all the emotions attached to them.

It makes for a dull read from an otherwise outstanding writer. If you want an example of why so many people mention Burroughs in the same breath as David Sedaris, then check out Running With Scissors instead.

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