Augusten Burroughs, This Is How
Life lessons from a best-selling screw-up
Who does Augusten Burroughs think he is, writing a how-to guide to life? I mean, after devouring a short-stack of his harrowingly brilliantly hilariously harrowing memoirs like Running with Scissors and A Wolf at the Table, we’re well aware of his messed up past: drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts, all kinds of family issues.
It’s true, he’s not your average guru. But he is a survivor, and an eloquent (if unrepentantly blunt) truth-teller. “I am a complete and total fuckup,” he writes in the early pages of This Is How, “which is exactly why I’m equipped to write this book and tell you how to live.” Chapters include: How to Feel Like Shit, How to Remain Unhealed, How to Be a Good Mental Patient, How to Lose Someone You Love, and a ton more.
While the advice is occasionally abstract, this isn’t a book of go-get-’em, hang-in-there aphorisms and time-worn witticisms. Burroughs has no patience for pithy affirmations, willpower or AA. There are some things you get over, and some things you don’t, but there’s almost nothing you won’t get past, he says with the confident, sympathetic countenance of a man who knows a little something about life. “If you hate it, you haven’t seen enough of it.”