Title: You Better Not Cry: Stories For Christmas
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Original Publication Date: October 27, 2009
Genre(s): Memoir, Nonfiction, Humor, Holiday, Short Stories
Goodreads Synopsis: “You’ve eaten too much candy at Christmas…but have you ever eaten the face off a six-foot stuffed Santa? You’ve seen gingerbread houses…but have you ever made your own gingerbread tenement? You’ve woken up with a hangover…but have you ever woken up next to Kris Kringle himself? Augusten Burroughs has, and in this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection he recounts Christmases past and present—as only he could. With gimlet-eyed wit and illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.”
*No spoilers below.
You Better Not Cry was the second book I’ve read by Augusten Burroughs. I’ve also read Dry which made it onto My Favorite Memoirs list so, of course, I couldn’t wait to read these short stories detailing some of his past Christmases. I didn’t even read the synopsis or add it to my Goodreads To-Read shelf before checking it out from Overdrive. I knew I’d like it right when I saw it on the homepage and, honestly, it’s much more shocking and fun if you go into it blindly.
I seriously laughed out loud so many times. I’m not even talking small chuckles, I mean actual lengthy laughs. It was dark and quirky, sometimes cringy, but Augusten Burroughs chose the absolute perfect stories to share. Although each one was separate and set in different times of his life, they were put into chronological order, giving the book a solid beginning and end.
The writing is just beautiful and the pacing is spot-on. Each story starts with an intense, kind of mysterious buildup then, hits you with a “whoa, what the HECK!” when you least expect it. The people in his life were easy to imagine, he described each one so well. The ending made my heart swell and fill with all the Christmas cheer.
Dates Read: November 20-November 27, 2019
My Rating: 4 out of 5
“She always said that art was born from chaos.”
“The fact is, if you don’t ‘get into the holiday spirit‘ people will not only be angry with you, they will think something is wrong with you and they will decide you are a bad person. A spoil sport. ‘He’s a Grinch.‘ They will feel a visceral mistrust, a hatred, even. They will reject you. And you will find yourself on the outside of the snow globe.”
“‘It doesn’t matter how rich you are or how poor or how white or how yellow or‘–and here she looked down at the sidewalk–‘how much of whatever it is you have inside you. It just does not matter. The drink is stronger. It will always win and you won’t even know it’s trying to until it has.‘”
“My mistake was in underestimating the emotional force of a song you have already heard a thousand times. When I heard the song that night, I heard it with the ears I used to have. And I felt what I used to feel–that almost sickening blend of excitement and longing.”
“I simply could not trust any kind of perfection, not even the ridiculous variety.”
“It was beautiful in a way that made me hold my breath; the body’s response was to choose seeing over breathing. My eyes understood that what I was seeing was rare, significant.”
“There were people who had so much strength that you could borrow some, just by being in the same room with them.“