Monday, September 23, 2013

This Is How: Help For The Self

This Is How: Help For The Self. Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.
Augusten Burroughs

First Sentence
"Several years ago when the relationship I assumed was both nearly perfect and my last turned out to be neither and ended car-off-cliff style, I experienced an unexpected and profound personal awakening."
Publisher's Description:
If you're fat and fail every diet, if you're thin but can't get thin enough, if you lose your job, if your child dies, if you are diagnosed with cancer, if you always end up with exactly the wrong kind of person, if you always end up alone, if you can't get over the past, if your parents are insane and ruining your life, if you really and truly wish you were dead, if you feel like it's your destiny to be a star, if you believe life has a grudge against you, if you don't want to have sex with your spouse and don't know why, if you feel so ashamed, if you're lost in life. If you have ever wondered, How am I supposed to survive this?

Dear Reader,

Despite the hilarious and lengthy title of this book, sadly, the humor ends within the first few chapters. What Augusten Burroughs brings to his other books is a dark humor that gives him a unique and interesting voice, this is something I've liked about this Author and something this book is severely lacking in. I'll be the first to admit that I find self help books mostly utter crap and reading one is usually like having to swallow some really nasty cough syrup. I was hoping this would be a satire of one, especially knowing the dark side of Augusten. He only succeeds partially, taking some common self help advice and throwing it under the bus (which made me whoop and laugh along the way). This wasn't consistent throughout the book and which ended up causing the rating to drop to 3 stars (I was also wavering at lowering it even more but couldn't bring myself to give such a low rating to an Author that does bring something to the table).

The first few chapters give some humorous stories that had quite the relatable quality to them. The story of the woman in the elevator might have been my favorite. She criticized Augustens bad mood and basically told him to put a smile on his face because "it couldn't be ALL that BAD". This is where I commend the Author because he tells it like it is, yes... it sometimes IS that BAD, and that IS perfectly OKAY. Another part I loved was his criticism of affirmations, something I loathe. He basically tells us by doing this, we're lying to ourselves. Should we really be lying to straight to our face in a mirror!? He also brings up an excellent point about relationships and dating, how we should only be who we are and not try to be someone we want to be (something I didn't learn until late in my own life). If we only show this "best" side of us on a date, this is also a lie. How is anyone capable of keeping this up? Sooner or later all your faults will come out, and if they weren't shown to begin with than how are we to know if that person is accepting of them? Great advice, truly!

What I didn't love about the book was mostly everything else. I didn't need advice on suicide, drinking, and the vast other tips he had to offer which left me bored through part of the book. I guess this is something that shouldn't be a big deal because somebody could really benefit from this advice, just not me. This is another reason I didn't want to rate this too low because advice is very specific to that person and someone else might get SO much more out of it. This might not have been my favorite book by Augusten Burroughs but he does give a slightly unique perspective to the genre, and I have to admit that I didn't HATE it... which is an accomplishment.

Happy Reading,

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