Dry, by Augusten Burroughs

I wonder why it is we are so fascinated by other people's misery. We crane our necks at car crashes, we gasp and exclaim when we hear of acquaintances' misfortunes, and we read addiction memoirs by the thousands. Is it the redemption at the end that we seek? Do we feel better about ourselves for not having fallen as mightily as they have? Is it staring the wild animal of addiction in the face and feeling the dreadful rush of excitement overindulgence brings when we ourselves are cautious and moderate? Burroughs' memoir of his initial foray into rehab and recovery from alcoholism is told well. He's a good writer, as his successful advertising career attested to, with an unabashed willingness to show us all his ugly parts. It's an engaging and interesting read, though I think that this kind of thing is rather lost on me. I don't struggle with addiction and never have, and thus have very little I can relate to Burroughs with. It's a book I enjoyed reading and will probably forget fairly quickly.


  1. Maybe non-addicts read addiction memoirs in an attempt to understand addiction better. Isn't that a motivation to a certain degree of what we read? To learn about and experience things that we have not (or cannot) experience first hand. And I've found that I can often apply the life lessons of others to some dimension of my own life, or use them to better understand the lives of friends and acquaintances.


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