This is How: Help for the Self

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013, 8:31 am

Reserve now!

This is How: Help for the Self

Augusten Burroughs


reserve now!

Lisa F



self help, biography and memoir

In brief


This is why, for you, anything is possible. Because you are made of everything.

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) by Augusten Burroughs is distinguished for having the longest title of any book I've read and for being among the most intriguing. While admittedly not a fan of self-help books, I would recommend this one to anyone going through anything.

Burroughs, who made his debut with the brutally honest and often uproarious memoir Running with Scissors in 2002, delivers some serious, punch-to-the-gut advice in This is How.

Chapter titles range from "How to be Fat" to "How to End Your Life" and "How to Let a Child Die." It is not a funny book. It's a book about being real with yourself and using your life experiences, no matter how earth shattering and terrible, to move forward. He does not offer a step-by-step process for any of these issues, nor does he offer any kind of salvation for pain, anger or unhappiness. No rainbows, no unicorns.

Instead, his advice focuses on being honest, accepting your pain and making the most of it.

For example, his advice to victims of rape is "chew it up and spit it out" by "talking about it, writing about it, painting it, making a movie about it." Instead of merely enduring the horror, he compels you to "control the experience and reshape it as you please."

For people who struggle with their weight, Burroughs suggests letting go of the ideal and, if you want to eat a cupcake, eat a cupcake. Be fat and sexy. Don't be ruled by convention or diets or anything else that interferes with your happiness. Own your fatness or do something about it, but don't remain mired in a world where everything hinges on a dress size.

Although not a replacement for therapy or a guide for those who want to cover a specific issue in more thorough detail, This is How is a kick in the ass. It might not be what you want to hear, but could be what you need to hear.

Augusten Burroughs will be in Worthington on Thursday, January 23, 2014 as part of the library's Hear & Now author series!