Lust & Wonder

When I requested John Elder Robison’s book, I had absolutely no idea he was Augusten Burrough’s brother. So it was by complete coincidence that I ordered their ARCs back to back. I wonder if they planned their releases in the same month on purpose. They don’t have the same publisher, so it couldn’t have been a house decision, right? Interesting.

I sometimes wonder why I hate David Sedaris but like Augusten Burroughs. Their genre styles aren’t much different. Both are vulgar, over-the-top humor “nonfiction.” (I always use that last word loosely when referring to Sedaris.) However, Burroughs is believable memoir. Even if it is meant to shock the reader, he writes about situations a normal person could find himself in. If any of Sedaris’ stories are remotely true, he should be in prison or a mental institution.


After reading Lust & Wonder, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t really compare Burroughs to Sedaris at all. Just because he’s a male humorist, doesn’t mean he’s the same. Really, he has more in common with Jenny Lawson.

Lust & Wonder at its base is an extremely intimate look at what it is like to be a gay man living in New York. But it isn’t just that. It’s also about being an addict, and depression, and severe anxiety. It’s about divorce and recovery and abuse. And finally, it’s about learning how to let yourself be happy when you think you don’t deserve it.

I may have quoted 75% of this book in my journal. Burroughs has given me so many amazing descriptions of what it feels like inside my anxiety-ridden brain that I haven’t had before. That perspective was so important to me. But I feel like this book is going to be relatable to so many different people in so many different ways because of all the reasons above.

Just a note on Burrough’s past books–you don’t necessarily have to have read his other ones in order to read this. However, he does reference some of his past life that may not make sense if you don’t know anything about his history. I would at least recommend you Wiki him prior to picking this up–but do read his other books if you get a chance, especially if you like this type of memoir. They are certainly worth the read.

Augusten Burroughs continues to be, if not a top 10 favorite, one of my constant authors that I will always read whenever I see they have a new book coming out, no questions asked. This strayed from his norm–he’s much more vulnerable here–and the result is magnificent. Thank you for sharing, Augusten. I needed this one very much.


NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Releases March 29.



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