The Humour and Honesty of Survival

This Week’s Book = This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t (by A. Burroughs)

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This book surprised me. I actually picked it up just to keep me occupied while I enjoyed a coffee and dessert at a local cafe…never thinking that it would be the topic of one of my blog posts. In all honesty, I thought that this book looked funny and like an easy read. It didn’t disappoint on either of those assumptions. However, it also invited the reader to look at some serious issues in a bluntly honest way…and with that, it became a book that I thought could be useful to chat about.

This is How is a book that forces readers to look at the tough areas of life. There is a dry wit that runs rampant throughout this book and is even evident in the chapter titles (‘How to Be Fat’, which is followed by ‘How to Be Thin’). Burroughs discusses 28 different topics (each getting its own chapter) – everything from suicide to eating disorders to losing a child. Throughout the book, there is a matter-of-fact tone as Burroughs shares many stories from his own life and makes blunt statements about each issue.

Part of me liked this book. It really was another laugh out loud on the Skytrain type of book…even the part where Burroughs compares therapists to hookers. Conversely, the other part of me feels uneasy about it. Sure, sometimes people need blunt statements and/or humour to kick their butt into gear. But not always. There were times when I was reading this book that I grimaced – I felt like Burroughs was minimizing some issues and talking about them in almost an arrogant fashion. On the flipside though, there were also sections of the book that seemed more successful with his straight-to-the-point style. In my opinion, the usefulness and even the humour of this book will depend on sensitivity of the reader and the issues that they may be dealing with at the time of reading. If you are a “no bullshit” type of person, this may just be the book for you. Keep in mind though – Burroughs is neither a self-help writer nor a counsellor.

Interested in the book? Click here!

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