I’ve read most of Augusten Burroughs’s previous memoirs; my favorite of his books, Running with Scissors, is probably his most popular- it even inspired a movie adaptation. In his latest memoir, Lust & Wonder, Burroughs recounts the three big romantic relationships he had spanning the few years prior to his writing career taking off to the present day.
Burroughs is a mess. He’s made a career of being a mess. The events of this book highlight how much of a mess he is, primarily in romantic relationships. Augusten’s biggest issue with the first boyfriend he talks about, Mitch, is his lack of sexual desire for him. The relationship finally ended when Augusten confessed to not only (graphically) cheating on Mitch but to cyber stalking him.
It made me wonder: Was it even fair to expect the person you’re with to be just as happy as you? Furthermore, how could you ever even know for sure? You couldn’t, was the truth of it. You could not know this.”
After briefly rekindling a relationship with an ex, who is dying from AIDS, Burroughs gets a book deal (for Sellevision) and meets Dennis. His relationship with Dennis spans a decade, a custom built home, two dogs and a completely intertwined social life. Their many differences eventually cause a rift and the ending is messy. While his relationship is imploding, Augusten realizes he has feelings for a close friend.
Maybe I’ve been out of Bouroughs’s world for too long, but I found everything in this memoir irritating. While I understand Bouroughs suffers from some (hereditary) mental illness he is painfully self involved and not a relatable protagonist. I just wanted to punch him in the face.