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Toil & trouble
2019
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Summary
From the number one New York Times bestselling author comes another stunning memoir that is tender, touching...and just a little spooky. "Here's a partial list of things I don't believe in: God. The Devil. Heaven. Hell. Bigfoot. Ancient Aliens. Past lives. Life after death. Vampires. Zombies. Reiki. Homeopathy. Rolfing. Reflexology. Note that 'witches' and 'witchcraft' are absent from this list. The thing is, I wouldn't believe in them, and I would privately ridicule any idiot who did, except for one thing: I am a witch." For as long as Augusten Burroughs could remember, he knew things he shouldn't have known. He manifested things that shouldn't have come to pass. And he told exactly no one about this, save one person: his mother. His mother reassured him that it was all perfectly normal, that he was descended from a long line of witches, going back to the days of the early American colonies. And that this family tree was filled with witches. It was a bond that he and his mother shared--until the day she left him in the care of her psychiatrist to be raised in his family (but that's a whole other story). After that, Augusten was on his own. On his own to navigate the world of this tricky power; on his own to either use or misuse this gift. From the hilarious to the terrifying, Toil & Trouble is a chronicle of one man's journey to understand himself, to reconcile the powers he can wield with things with which he is helpless. There are very few things that are coincidences, as you will learn in Toil & Trouble. Ghosts are real, trees can want to kill you, beavers are the spawn of Satan, houses are alive, and in the end, love is the most powerful magic of all.
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Booklist Review
Bestselling memoirist Burroughs, whose last revelations appeared in Lust & Wonder (2016), now reveals that he first learned that he had the gift when, as a young boy, he sensed that something had happened to his grandmother. When he arrived home, he learned she had just been in a car accident. Unsurprised by his premonition, his mother informed him that he comes from a long line of witches. Burroughs confesses that he would not believe in witches were it not for the simple fact that he is one. His acknowledging of incredulity as the opening gambit allows the reader to be caught in the spell of Burroughs' enchanting storytelling. Marked by flashbacks to his childhood and early days in advertising, this memoir centers on Burroughs and his husband Christopher's move out of Manhattan and into a 200-year-old Connecticut manse. The characters, including the foul-mouthed but big-hearted handyman and a former opera diva who may be one note short of an octave, provide laugh-out-loud moments that read like a massively entertaining mash-up of Fixer Upper and Queer Eye. One's belief in witches is beside the point, although Burroughs' does have an uncanny knack for manifesting desirable outcomes. Rather, it is Burroughs' unique ability to translate his fears, anxieties, and dreams into something universal that feels a little like, well, magic.HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Burroughs always pulls in lots of readers, and this hilarious and spellbinding memoir will generate a whirl of requests.--Bill Kelly Copyright 2010 Booklist
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