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In this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection, Burroughs recounts Christmases past and present as only he can. With gimlet-eyed wit and illuminated prose, the author shows how the holidays bring out the worst--and sometimes the very best--in people.
- ISBN-13: 9780312341916
- ISBN-10: 0312341911
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press
- Publish Date: October 2009
- Page Count: 224
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 43.
- Review Date: 2009-07-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Burroughs's holiday-themed memoir lacks the consistent emotional intensity of his earlier work, despite a few gems. Arranged roughly chronologically, the vignettes begin with concrete Christmas memories (preparing a detailed, multipart list of desired presents in “Claus and Effect”) and move toward musings on the spirit of the holiday (facing a flooded house with an atheist partner in “Silent Night”). While the childhood stories have Burroughs's trademark dry wit—he once gnawed the face off a life-size Saint Nick made of wax—they aren't particularly memorable. It's when he turns his attention to the less tangible essence of the holiday that the writing comes alive, especially in the final two pieces, “The Best and Only Everything” and “Silent Night.” In the former, Burroughs (Running with Scissors) remembers a long-ago Christmas spent with a former lover dying of AIDS and in the latter, which takes place a decade later, he describes dealing not only with a burst water pipe but also feeling ready to celebrate the season with a tree for the first time since the death of his old boyfriend. (Nov.)