Dissecting “The Wolf”

New York magazine this week puts Augusten Burroughs under the microscope to find out if he really remembers everything he claims he does (Sam Anderson, the writer of the article, actually refers to his “inner polygraph” going off on occasion). Ironically, a disclaimer at the beginning of the article reads,

NOTE: This profile of the allegedly fake memoirist Augusten Burroughs is based on real events. Dialogue has been compressed, and chronology has been changed for dramatic effect

Refreshingly, a review in the Washington Post today wastes no time on trying to verify the book’s claim (unlike the Times and a few others, as we reported earlier) and focuses on the book’s appeal,

Burroughs is doing something new here: ripping the scabs off emotional wounds without his usual acidic humor to deaden the pain…Still, Burroughs retains his capacity to move the reader: There is gorgeous writing on every page….Burroughs is to be commended for addressing this painful material head-on and with such sobriety, but I can’t help missing his crisp, biting humor and the immediacy of an author who typically puts his reader right alongside him for the journey. As much as I admire his brave effort, I felt relegated to the back seat. With Augusten Burroughs, I want to be riding shotgun.

This week’s People magazine gives it four stars out of a possible four (sorry, no link. People does not put its reviews online) and makes it their pick of the week.

Most libraries I checked showed it still on order, with reserves building. Time to get the book into circulation.

A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

by Augusten Burroughs

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (April 29, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0312342020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312342029
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $29.95
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; (April 29, 2008)
  • Reader: Augusten Burroughs
  • ISBN-10: 142720425X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427204257

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