Author to the point in delivering a wake-up call

If you have ever read anything by Augusten Burroughs, this title will not surprise you.


Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness,

Molestation, Fatness,

Spinsterhood, Grief,

Disease, Lushery

Decrepitude & More.

For Young and Old Alike

By Augusten Burroughs

St Martins Press

If you have ever read anything by Augusten Burroughs, this title will not surprise you.

He was raised in a very strange home and was, “given away” at 14 years of age to the family psychiatrist. He is the author of, The Wolf at the Table, (about his abusive father) and Running With Scissors, also about the bizarre happenings at his house.

So you won’t be surprised that this book is sprinkled with the usual expletive. You may have to relax your caveat on occasional bad language.

This is How, is a self-help-type book which offers some personal insights not quite like that given by educated people from calm, stable homes, who write books of good advice.

Here are 230 pages of insight on various subjects, learned in the hard world of knocks. He has no degrees and no doctorates. It’s cleverly written and darn it all, it sounds like common sense.

Chapters are named in this way: How to Feel Sorry for Yourself, How to End Your Life, (he talks you out of suicide). How to Identify Love by Knowing What it’s not, How to Make Yourself Uncomfortable, and How to Get the Job. There are many others, some of which may give you a jolt. This quick-fix book told in plain language, sounds like a wake up call.

“How to Stop Being Afraid of Your Anger.”

“Anger is a natural emotion, not a character flaw,” the author says, “shush your anger and it metastasizes.” Perhaps that anger will do more damage after being bottled up.

Augusten Burroughs had a very troubled life, his family was a disaster, he tried to commit suicide at 14 years of age. He became an alcoholic and a heavy smoker.

One of the amusing stories tells of his dream to become an actor. It was a dream he had nourished until it was very real to him. His audition felt wonderful, he knew those watching were awed with his performance. Until his teacher spoke up and then showed him the damning video of his stiff, unnatural reading. He discusses this in, How to hold on to your dream, or maybe not.

Do you know anyone who has never forgotten when their feelings were hurt, someone who buys every diet book but never diets? What about that person so full of regrets that they can’t move on? This may be their book.

The last chapter is headed, “How to Change the World by Yourself.” This is a tribute to the “Rosa Parks” kind of person. The author says we all have it in us to act. “It’s how we can survive the unsurvivable . . . lose what you cannot bear to lose . . . this is how you reinvent yourself, fulfill your ambitions, find your love . . . follow what is true, no matter where it leads.”

Read the book, it couldn’t hurt.

Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.