A slap in the face.
Or as the kids say, "real talk."
These are the best ways I can think of to describe this book. If you're looking for a pat on the back or to be told that everything's going to be okay and it will get better, look elsewhere. Burroughs is trying to help you, sure, but you need to be ready for a big ole plate of truth. Because he isn't going to sugar-coat it for you; that only makes it hurt more in the long run. When I picked this randomly at the library, I was looking for some funny personal essays. I figured this would be kind of a mock self-help book with funny anecdotes about how Burroughs learned some important life lessons. Instead, it really does read like a self-help book or pamphlet with chapters on a range of topics, like How to Be Fat, How to Feel Sorry for Yourself, How to Be Confident, How to End Your Life, How to Make Yourself Uncomfortable (And Why You Should), How to Lose Someone You Love, etc. I don't know if this will actually help anyone with their issues, but it will definitely get you thinking. The thing that stuck most with me is that you need to live and think in the present, right here and now, and quit worrying about the future or what could happen. I'm definitely a worrier and I'm stressing out constantly about what people think of me or how I should act and what I should say, so if I could just start focusing on what's happening in the moment, maybe I'd be a lot less anxious around people. So that was my take-away and that's what I'll try to work on. Definitely an interesting read, but not your typical humorous Burroughs book. Thanks, Uncle Augusten, for teaching me the ways of the world!