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This Is How: The Book Report

Updated on November 19, 2012

Help For The Self

Author: Augusten Burroughs (described as the New York Times bestselling author of Running With Scissors and Dry. Published by St. Martins Press in hardback 2012. 230 pages.' No pictures, no index, no notes, no references, no bibliography: just the author.

Although I frequently pick up books that purport to be personal analyses designed to inform one's own journey through life, I seldom read more than a paragraph or two. Too much whining. Not the case here. This one looked like just another personal analysis book until I noticed the title of the second chapter, "How to Feel Like Sh__." Now, that caught my attention. More reality than usual.

Mr. Burroughs' book is, I believe, about practicing examination of assumptions and mining them for the truth. Sounds simplistic, didactic, boring. Somehow, it is not. Black as Mr. Burrough's apparently genuine excoriation of personal fault is, remarkably, it is also fun. One can imagine his oral delivery as dry, sarcastic, self-effacing stand-up comedy. The kind that makes you nod "yea, that's me," and laugh at the same time.

I especially liked the chapter on "How to Be a Good Mental Patient," the point of which seems to be that if one thinks that one needs therapy, maybe what one needs is just to think.

Loved it, but "maybe you had to be there."


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