Some writers have the ability to write about painful and confusing experiences and infuse them with equal parts comedy and pathos. Augusten Burroughs is one of the best, as he proves in two previous books: Running With Scissors, which chronicles his bizarre childhood growing up with mentally ill and addicted parents, and Dry, which describes his early years in advertising when his drinking became extremely problematic and led him to recovery. In the books that came after, I found myself missing the voice in those two books. With Lust and Wonder, Burroughs is back, and he writes about the journey that led him back. In this memoir, he documents his search for love from his early medicated mishaps to the loss of his first love to AIDS and his vow to never love an HIV positive man again. Burroughs chooses a safe match and enters into a long term relationship and marriage in which the partners are hurtfully wrong for each other. If you’ve ever been in a wrong relationship, you’ll find that Burroughs describes it spot on–the guilt, the resolve to be better and try harder, the denial of the heartbreaking truth. And somehow, he adds enough humor to make us laugh amidst the pain.

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