Henry Goldblatt
October 15, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Magical Thinking

Current Status
In Season
Augusten Burroughs
St. Martin's Press

We gave it an A-

Sports nuts have Dave Barry, Midwesterners have Garrison Keillor, and the rest of us — gay guys, misfits, those with horrific childhoods — have Augusten Burroughs. We cherish him. And he, perhaps inadvertently, fosters codependency by sharing his every embarrassing thought. But something miraculous has happened in Burroughs’ fourth book — he’s happy. He has a boyfriend! A flourishing writing career! (And fans who feel compelled to respond to his candor by sharing naked photos and childhood tales of forced enemas.) Burroughs is still endearingly neurotic and self-centered in Magical Thinking, lobbing tart throwaways at his dating prospects (”A spiritual gay man simply means he has a yin/yang tattoo on his ass, which you can be sure has had electrolysis”) and Ernest Hemingway (”The only Hemingway I’ve ever been remotely interested in is Mariel”). Thankfully, there’s one trait he retains from his alcohol-hazed advertising days: He hooks you into a story better than anybody.

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