This is the story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of grandeur) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead ringer for Santa Claus and a certifiable lunatic into the bargain. Suddenly at the age of 12, Augusten found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian house in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few ...
This is the story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of grandeur) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead ringer for Santa Claus and a certifiable lunatic into the bargain. Suddenly at the age of 12, Augusten found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian house in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients and a paedophile living in the garden shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules or school. The Christmas tree stayed up until Summer and valium was chomped down like sweets. When things got a bit slow, there was always the ancient electroshock therapy machine under the stairs.
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To be totally honest, I actually watched the movie, ?Running With Scissors? before I read the book. However, the movie is what interested me in the stories of Augusten Burroughs. In my opinion, ?Running with Scissors? took some major bullocks to write. The story is so intriguing that you just cannot put down the book. I found myself completely drawn into the world of a boy, Augusten Burroughs, attempting to become an independent entity while struggling with obstacles beyond the boundaries of even the most active imagination. The story of his life is sad, yes. However, he seems to find the humor in his turmoil flawlessly.
Dealing with a psychotic mother, Deirdre, and the ?adopted? Finch family that is perhaps even worse off, Augusten somehow stays true to himself. I admit, this book is not for those of a high moral standard with preconceived notions of ?normal?. This book is also not for close-minded, judgmental people either. No, this book is for those of us that know life is truly flawed and that very bad things can happen and almost always will. It is also a testament that good people who get put in drastically horrible situations will either flounder or prevail. Well, Augusten definitely prevails.
The characters are engaging and somewhat mysterious at times. For me, it was slightly difficult to put my finger on what motivated Agnes (the wife of Finch) and Hope (daughter of Finch). However, they both play intricate roles in his story.
The other characters, however, all had extremely potent personalities. Finch (the Psychiatrist of Deirdre), is an unusual patriarch in many, many ways. I mean, at one point, he actually believes that his excrement will dictate the family?s financial situation. Odd, hmmm? Natalie (youngest daughter of Finch) is a force of nature. I believe that she helps Augusten realize that it is ok to be himself. She supports him and him and is the closest thing he has to a friend. At the other end of the spectrum is Bookman, (lover of Augusten, adopted by Finch as well), an extremely complex, psychotic character. The way he approaches the world and the people in it is an enigma, to say the least.
I can?t say much more without completely giving away the entire plot to the book, so I will end with this. I highly suggest ALL of Augusten Burroughs books. Trust me, I have read every one and they are all more than fantastic.
I hope this review was helpful to you and that you might have even enjoyed it.
Thank you for your time.
Feb 14, 2008
I bought this as an audio book and threw it in the trash. I wouldn't even donate it or pass it on. It's disgusting, perverted. I can't believe it's a true story. Albris service was superb in delivery of all products I've ordered from them, I just made a mistake with this selection.
Jun 3, 2007
I bought this book in the bookstore at JFK and read it enroute to Manchester, England. At the end of the flight I ditched it in a trash can at the airport. I loved it right up until the last chapter. I would have to reread it (groan) to pinpoint what exactly made me dislike it so much. Not going to happen. I did see the film (at a two dollar theatre, just in case,) hoping to catch what I missed in the reading. Both book and film felt contrived, I guess...
Apr 7, 2007
like a car accident
This, along with many other books by Burroughs, hold the same elemental features. The stories are somewhat connected yet charmingly anachronistic. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes outrageous, sometimes disturbingly outrageous; the memories in this collection hold a distinct power over the reader. Even if you wish you could, it is almost impossible to put it down. Some might feel ashamed for enjoying it, much like passing a bloody car crash on the highway at an all-too-slow speed. But I assure you, the outcome at the end of this experience is far more hilarious and a lot less fatal.
Apr 4, 2007
Couldn't put it down!
Great book if you are looking for a quick read! Unbelievable what the author has gone through in his teens! I recommended it to a friend and she also couldn't put it down.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-02-03 "Nobody ever told me what to do, so why did I always feel so trapped?" questions Burroughs (Sellevision), in this flawless audio adaptation of his alternately riotous and heartbreaking memoir. At age 11, when the mood of his family home changed from one of "mere hatred to potential double homicide," Burroughs found himself abandoned by his unemotional, professor father and chain-smoking, wannabe-poet mother. Dumped at his parents' psychiatrist's roach-infested Victorian home, which contained enough confusion to keep his mind off the fact that his parents didn't want him, the author recalls in a voice as mutable and unique as his unconventional childhood the bizarre details of daily life in a home where bowel movements were seen as messages from God, staged suicides were a means of quitting school and sexual relationships between boys and middle-aged men were deemed acceptable. Infusing each character with personality, Burroughs most brilliantly captures his mother's distinctive Southern inflection with a voice that sounds like its been through a curling iron and the booming, deep voice of the shrink who adopted him. Despite the often heavy content, Burroughs alleviates this gravity with his unwavering sarcasm and humor, further enhanced by his knack for employing kitschy cultural references to the 1970s and '80s. Based on the St. Martin's hardcover. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-06-03 "Bookman gave me attention. We would go for long walks and talk about all sorts of things. Like how awful the nuns were in his Catholic school when he was a kid and how you have to roll your lips over your teeth when you give a blowjob," writes Burroughs (Sellevision) about his affair, at age 13, with the 33-year-old son of his mother's psychiatrist. That his mother sent him to live with her shrink (who felt that the affair was good therapy for Burroughs) shows that this is not just another 1980s coming-of-age story. The son of a poet with a "wild mental imbalance" and a professor with a "pitch-black dark side," Burroughs is sent to live with Dr. Finch when his parents separate and his mother comes out as a lesbian. While life in the Finch household is often overwhelming (the doctor talks about masturbating to photos of Golda Meir while his wife rages about his adulterous behavior), Burroughs learns "your life [is] your own and no adult should be allowed to shape it for you." There are wonderful moments of paradoxical humor Burroughs, who accepts his homosexuality as a teen, rejects the squeaky-clean pop icon Anita Bryant because she was "tacky and classless" as well as some horrifying moments, as when one of Finch's daughters has a semi-breakdown and thinks that her cat has come back from the dead. Beautifully written with a finely tuned sense of style and wit the occasional clich ("Life would be fabric-softener, tuna-salad-on-white, PTA-meeting normal") stands out anomalously this memoir of a nightmarish youth is both compulsively entertaining and tremendously provocative. (July) Forecast: Although some critics might be thrown by Burroughs's casual acceptance of an adult/child relationship, this could be a hit. . Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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