Dry A Memoir

Augusten Burroughs




Trade Paperback

320 Pages


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You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.


Praise for Dry

"Beneath the quick-flowing, funny-sad surface of Burroughs's prose lurks considerable complexity: wherever he goes, whatever he's doing, you can feel how badly he wants to drink—as well as the sadness from which that desire comes and courage it takes to make the sadness so funny, all at the same time. If anything, Dry is even more compelling than Burroughs's first outing."—Time

"More than a heartbreaking tale; it's a heroic one. As with its predecessor, we finish the book amazed not only that Burroughs can write so brilliantly, but that he's even alive."—People

"[A] wrenching, edifying journey . . . with the added benefit of being really entertaining."—The New York Times Book Review

"A deeper book than Scissors, revealing Burroughs to be a more accomplished writer, creating scenes of real power."—USA Today

"Augusten Burroughs is a wickedly good writer . . . Dry is a great read. Grade A."—Chicago Sun-Times

"What makes Dry juicy enough to hold us rapt is not sordid debauchery but the clarity with which Burroughs etches the perilously thin line between control and oblivion. Burroughs draws the cliff so eloquently that we're right there with him when he starts flirting with the brink . . . One day at a time, Burroughs builds a deliberate but compelling story, lining up the shots for us until we have no choice but to knock each one back and then turn the page for the next."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Augusten Burroughs's Dry: A Memoir, a brilliant, insightful, and fabulously funny book that charts his road to sobriety . . . Dry catches the reader off guard on every page, challenging what we've come to expect from rehab literature."—Paper magazine

"When you are as self-deprecatingly funny and write as vividly and unpretentiously as Burroughs, well, I guess that's free rein to write 100 memoirs—and bring them on immediately."—The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"Like the alcohol he so enjoys, Burroughs's story of getting dry will go straight into your bloodstream and leave you buzzing, exhilarated, and wiped out. Burroughs is a malcontented, successful advertising copywriter in his twenties, gay, living in Manhattan, and owner of a childhood that the word "nightmare" doesn't even begin to cover (as described in Running with Scissors, 2002). Burroughs is an alcoholic . . . he is funny and dark . . . in his own half-mad way, he's an original, a step aslant of the cutting edge, and wonderfully capable of expressing the miseries and sublimities of detox."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Burroughs has a knack for ending up in depraved situations and a vibrant talent for writing about them . . . Readers accustomed to his heady cocktail of fizzy humor and epiphanic poignancy won't be disappointed."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Sometimes when you work in advertising you’ll get a product that’s really garbage and you have to make it seem fantastic, something that is essential to the continued quality of life. Like once, I had to do an ad for hair conditioner. The strategy was: Adds softness you can feel, body you can see. But the thing is, this was a lousy product. It made your hair sticky and in focus groups, women hated it. Also, it reeked. It made your hair smell like a combination of bubble gum and Lysol. But somehow, I had to make people feel that it was the best hair conditioner
Read the full excerpt



  • Dry by Augusten Burroughs--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to bestselling author Augusten Burroughs read from his memoir Dry. From the New York Times Bestselling author of Running With Scissors comes the story of one man trying to out-drink his memories, outlast his demons, and outrun his past. When the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten had twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all.



  • Augusten Burroughs

  • Augusten Burroughs is the author of Running with Scissors and Sellevision. He lives in New York City.
  • Augusten Burroughs Photo: Craig Cutler
    Augusten Burroughs


    Augusten Burroughs

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