This is definitely an R rated book. There are explicit homosexual sex scenes, language and drugs. Even though the writing was excellent with well defined characters and it flowed in an easy pattern, it was too graphic and the humor too dark for me. I will not be looking for another book by Augusten Burroughs.
bookaddict reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 45
Found this one humourous but somewhat self-indulgent and a bit disturbing. The writing style didn't particularly "flow" for me--I think there are much better "bad childhood memoirs" out there: the Lauck books, the Glass Castle, "Falling Leaves", "Angela's Ashes".
For a VERY humourous (not abusive) childhood memoir written in a much more dynamic and absorbing style, read "Devil in the Details" by a different author.
I just didn't like this book much, and didn't find much redeeming or profound about any of the people in it, including the author.
Tracy F. (tsf) reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 27
I hated this book and was unable to finish it. Well written but a real downer story about some people who have no business being around children, much less raising them. Maybe there is some great revelation at the end or something but it was just too depressing for me to wade through.
Bookfanatic reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 24
I don't think I've read a memoir like this. This is strange, graphic, disturbing, and funny. There's no child abuse, but Augusten definitely has an upbringing that is far from wholesome. I think much of what he says is exaggerated for the sake of telling a story. If you get squeamish easily or you're uncomfortable reading about same sex relationships, this book isn't for you but otherwise you might enjoy this unconventional memoir. His brother wrote "Look Me In The Eye" so you might want to read that to get another perspective of this family.
I was a little disappointed in this book. It was mildly amusing not hilariously funny. I actually found most of it pretty sad; I guess knowing people with mental illness makes a person view things differently and takes away from the humor.
I couldn't put this book down -- I read it in 2 1/2 days and I have a 1-year old! It was just so interesting and funny. It was very easy to read and very entertaining. I highly suggest it (except to those with homophobic inklings).
I really did not like this book. My recommendation: stay away!! It starts out okay but quickly goes downhill, and I found myself asking why am i reading this. I'd rather pick my toenails than finish this one.
I agree with Liese, if you want dysfunctional, there are plenty of good memoirs out there. Try Falling Through the Earth or The Glass Castle. They are chock-full of family problems, without the vulgarity.
Good book and funny in a dark way. I had to keep reminding myself this was a true story because so much of it was unusual. My expectations were higher for the book when I started, so it was a bit of disappointment, but still entertaining.
I don't know why so many people found it hard to believe this was a true story. It didn't strike me as very far-fetched, but I do feel sorry for the author for having been put through such things in his youth.
I don't think it's fair to write this book off due to "ick" factor.
It's a memoir. This is someone's life. Augusten Burroughs presents an era of his life, the way he perceived it at the time. If you read his later work, you understand that he views the time period that spans the length of this particular book to be a series of very bizarre experiences that he does not consider normal.
But that's the beauty of Running with Scissors. It's the story of a young man who is thrown into the oddest of situations, some of which, yes, are incredibly disturbing. But, as in all of his work, it's Burroughs's dark sense of humor that carries through.
Ater I was finished with this book, I didn't much care for it. But once I had time after to think about it, I liked it more and more. There were some parts of the book that were disturbing for me, which is why I was a little thrown back but when I take it all into perspective, it was a a very fine book.
I always enjoy books were I am reminded that my childhood was not as unusual as other people. This memoir is a candid collection of stories about a mother with mental illness, an alcoholic father and the Finch's. It never ceases to amaze me what happens behind closed doors!
hickgal - reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 5
I found nothing of value in this book. In fact, I felt like I need to scrub myself with Lava soap when I finished this one. What I thought would be funny and touching turned out to me sick and disturbing.
Suzanne reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 4
Extremely graphic (sexually explicit) memoir of a boy raised in a world without limits. Funny and shocking. Strong narrative voice. People under age 35 might not "get" some of the pop culture references. Brave biographical tale. Page-turner.
This book is written in a very emotionally detached way so that it seemed even more disturbing than if it had been another "poor me" tale. It's horrific to read about the childhood Mr. Burroughs had, but it is refreshing to have it told in a humorous rather than ranting way. He has every reason to be bitter about how things happened when he was growing up, but he chooses not to.
Some pretty graphic stuff, so not appropriate for all readers - if easily offended by sexual content, drugs, bathroom humor, you might want to skip this one. I've always considered myself open-minded, but there is some graphic sexual material I think I would have rather not seen, but I suppose it's an integral part of who this person was. On the flip side, as strange and unnerving as some of the characters were, I was interested in them and even laughed a bit at the craziness described, and also felt a lot of sadness and compassion for them. But while not a "must read" in my book, I don't regret it either.
Augusten Burroughs' childhood was so incredibly unusual and bazaar. It's an entertaining read, but not for the faint of heart. I also agree with a previous comment...this book is a lot funnier if you have previous knowledge of mental illness or are familiar with the field of psychology. I was laughing out loud at some of the wacky psychology-related conversations in the book.
Heather reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 3
The Book is ten times better than the movie. The writting itself is excellent! I was less than thrilled with the movie,it didn't protray the chacters as well as the book does.You either love Augusten Burroughs or hate him, because of his in you'r face type of writting .
Honestly, I looked at the back cover several times to be sure that this was truly a memoir and not fiction, it was so hard to believe the craziness at times. I thought this book was well-written, interesting, definitely not like any story I've ever read. It amazes me that kids are able to survive and thrive after years of neglect.
I heard very mixed reviews about this book before I read it. People were saying it's so
'graphic' but I kept waiting for the graphic parts to begin. I think there are two homosexual sex scenes in the whole book and they are about 2 lines each. Not too graphic if you ask me. There are romance novels out there steamier then that!
On the other hand, the writing didn't do much for me. It was choppy and not written very well in my opinion. It seemed to be all over the place. I don't understand when people say this book was funny. While there was some humor, it wasn't particularly 'funny.'
I enjoyed this book- the author manages to relate his trainwreck teenage years with a sense of warmth and his funny bone obviously made it through intact. The events he describes may appall and/or shock but you are left feeling that, as dysfunctional as the whole bunch may be, there's a great love binding these people together and when it's all said and done the book is a great example of the saying 'one can get used to anything'. A warning for those who may be uncomfortable with it: there are some very graphic descriptions of homosexual acts.
I did enjoy this book - however, it was a bit odd. The interesting/strange thing is that there were points in the book where I just wanted to say "forget it", yet I was unable to put it down or stop reading it. It is an R rated book and has some strong content. Definitely not for everyone. I think what kept me going was the author's dry sense of wit and humor. I really enjoyed his funny, witty, sarcastic writing style. The book made me laugh out loud as well as shed a few tears.
This book started out ok. I laughed at the boy's imagination and his reactions to things but then it just got WAY too disturbing for me. There are graphic sex scenes with Augusten (as a 12 year old boy) and a Pedaphile (30+ yr old man) that are horrifying to me. Aside from the fact that he's just a kid (I have one the same age), he clearly says "Stop, you're hurting me." It's rape - pure and simple. Then there's the fact that he tells his mother and his psychiatrist (father-figure) about the relationship and they are blase about it and say he's old enough to make his own decisions. That's neglect and abuse. I'm sorry but this is not just an "unorthodox psychiatrist" we're talking about here, he's criminal. I hope there's some great revelation or lesson involved in this story because otherwise it just feels like watching someone be tortured. I can't finish it.
I felt like this book would be horrible by all the bad reviews I saw for it on here. It is a good book. Its hard to believe it was real, and that it really happened to him. Some of the things I read I believe are not far from what most people 'THINK' of doing, not sure how many do it. Then again back when these things 'happened' anything was possible. The world has changed too much.
Loved the book. Was very surprized at how different it was from 'Possible Side effects' could definatlly see it being a GREAT movie. Would like to see the movie. Feel bad for the people that were involved I am sure they are not laughing at it as hard as most will laugh when reading or watching the movie.
I didn't think it was rated R at all. It was just another 'Real life story'
After reading this book--I can say--I honestly have no clue how people can live like this-- And he the father figure being a doctor!! Good Grief!! The cover on this book fits it perfectly. The whole house was crazy! This was an interesting read, but i still find it hard to believe people live like this, where is child welfare or the neighbors or some sane family member??
This is a very funny. a very strangely funny, story about the very strange and funny extended family of a fourteen year old boy. It takes place in the early '70's, a time when many people tested society's limits as well as their own. It was a time when the unacceptable was accepted- at least on the margins. Augusten Burroughs pinpoints the time with details of decor and fashion and through the bizarre behavior of his characters and their interests. Agnes snacks on dog food from bag and Dr. Finch divines through specimens of his daily bowel movements which, in order to record the word of the will of God, he has saved on the backyard picnic table. The family and the doctor's patients mingle among dirty dishes and furnishing embedded with pests and pet hair and everyone expresses their anger as freely as self involvement and their boredom.
There were certainly moments when I considered closing the book, forever. Fortune telling by feces was crude and disgusting but other incidents were more deeply disturbing. Young Augusten's first intimate gay sexual encounter was raw and intrusive, as if one had witnessed the rape of a teen by an older male but failed to stop it. Another was the sad demise of a cat captured in a laundry basket by its loving but deranged mistress. Such abuse of children and animals is not something to laugh away. But somehow the moment ends and a new tale lures the reader on to accounts of further madness.
When contrasted to this memoir, no matter how dark or dismal the reader's childhood, they will be left with the absolute certainty of their own sanity.
Amazing. Never before have I read a book that not only shows you how whacked up a life can be when you live in a world where the norm is the un-normal, where pedophiles aren't believed to be wrong, etc. But not only does this book creep you out, letting you know the harsh reality some children live in, that doesn't include abuse, but its written in a way in which all you can do is laugh and marvel at how astronomically odd life is.
I did not like this book in the least. In fact, I quit reading it about a quarter of the way through, something I almost never do. Maybe because I'm a therapist, I couldn't find the humor, and saw a lot of pain being dealt with inapproptiatly or exploitatively but I thought this was a simply terrible book. Other people obviously thought differently, but I'm glad to get rid of it, and not in the least concerned that I don't know how it turns out.
Dysfunctionally funny! Just when you thought life with your family was "crazy". This is laugh out loud funny. My favorite part of the book has to be Agusten's first day at the pyschiatrist's house with the little boy pooping under the piano. What a great first impression! It is very vulgar and crude, but I think that's what makes this so darn funny. Truley a talented writer. This is one of the ONLY books that I recommend watching the movie shortly after reading it. Happy dysfunctional reading!
I absolutely HATED this book. I was in the hospital and this was in the gift shoppe so my husband got it for me... and I was SHOCKED by the contents. It is graphic and unbelievably awful. I can't believe it is an autobiography. Horrifying. You've been warned.
Very well-written, but the disturbing nature of the story is overwhelming. It's like a bad car crash, it's well-written enough that you have to keep reading, even if you're cringing at every word. I will not read another book by this author, nor will I read this again...for me it was too disturbing to truly enjoy.
WOW!! This book is really an R-rated book!! There was quite a bit of bad language and a lot of homosexual sex scenes. It's a true story and it was said to be humourous, but I don't think that I laughed once. It was a sad story of child neglect and sexual abuse and taking advantage of the mentally ill. It did flow really well to me and I had a hard time putting it down ... even though a lot of the time my mouth was hanging wide open in disbelief in what I was reading!! After I finished, I wanted to go and get his sequel, Dry, so I could see if his life ended up being any better for him as he got older ... just be forewarned though, it is quite graphic ...
this is a book about a mother who gave her son away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who looked like Santa Claus. The whole family was bizarre. This boy, now man, managed to survive under the most unusual circumstances.
I found myself laughing hysterically at this book while simultaneously shaking my head in horror. It's the story of Burrough's life from the age of roughly 13 to 16. Burrough's lived a middle-classed life, but the people around him were gradually losing it. His mother began to have "psychotic breaks" (although it sounds like she may have had bipolar disorder) and hooked up with a bizarre psychiatrist - Dr. Finch. Soon, every aspect of their lives are touched by Dr. Finch and his equally bizarre family. At times, the events are horrifying, such as Burrough's molestation by Dr. Finch's adopted son. Remarkably, Burrough's manages to find the humor even in these situations. People are likely to compare Burrough's to another gay humorist, David Sedaris; however, Burrough's stories are far darker than those of Sedaris, although both of them write great funny stories. This book was a tremendously quick read, and I laughed out loud more than any recent book I've read. Highly recommended on that basis, but some readers are likely to be highly offended by some of the content.
Be prepared----this is an "R" rated book. Explicit scenes with gays and lesbians. Augusten Burroughs was just twelve years old when his mother gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who lived in a world in which rules were unheard of and a pedophile resided in a backyard shed. It is a painfully funny and unforgettable account of his outlaw childhood---now the basis of a major motion picture. It is horrifying that a child could grow up in these circumstances!
Warped is the only word that can sum up this book. It is a memoir - so the author is writing about part of his own life...and what a messed up part it is! If you've seen the movie, you've seen nothing, until you read the book.
A review on the back of this book called it "wickedly, ridiculously funny." Call me a bore, but I found nothing funny about the author describing, with wry sarcasm, his boyhood rape and subsequent relationship with his abuser. Nor did I find "hilarious" his growing up in a home filled with such mental illness that his surrogate father has his children remove his own excrement from the toilet. Be warned that this is the comedic version of A Child Called It.
I loved this book and have gone on to read his others. Not for the faint of heart. His memoir is graphic and disturbing, but it is his humanity, courage, and ability to survive that keeps you reading. Among the best I've read this year.
Book is in excellent shape.
Once I started I couldn't put this book down! Burroughs writes with such honesty. It's hard to imagine that the book is based on the events of his life. He presents the subjet matter in a very raw and uncluttered way with just the right amount of emotion.
I found this book rather disturbing. I must say I din't finish it. The story line being about a homosexual boy being raised by a selfish mother and given to her insane psychiatrist and his makeshift family. The end for me was when the teenage boy began being malested. I had enough !
A stunning look through the memory's of the author wen he was growing up during his formative preteen and teen years. Whether exagerated or absolutely accurate, this memoir paints a picture of a youth who even with his own personal trials, is thrown into more due to the trials of the adults in his life. The outcome is a person who did not use those trials to point fingers or place blame, but used those trials to make him who he is today. Looking forward to reading the following book by this author.
this was the first book i read by burroghs, and i've been a fan of his writing ever since. he's honest and really funny, and the scenarios and experiences he's had in life are incredibly interesting, if not sometimes upsetting. i absolutely love this book-but don't go see the movie, it totally sucked and isn't even comparable to the book.
I LOVED this memoir. The author copes with his mother's mental illness and neglect, with humor, bravery and curiosity. He tells of what could be a horrendous nightmare, in a matter-of-fact, "so this is my life" manner that caused me to admire and adore him. Great book!
There are several excerpts from reviews on the back of this book that refer to it as "funny" and even "hilarious" - not true, not true. Or at least if you find anything amusing in this book, I don't want to be your friend. Deeply disturbing, very graphic. A young boy is ignored, abused, and victimized. First at the hands of his upper middle class parents and then in the household of a crazy man who holds a medical degree.
It disgusted me, once to point of literally gagging. It also made me angry at times but I read it cover to cover so I will have to admit it is compelling. I wanted to read to end to try and see what became of this child. I was never, however, amused.
Odd and interesting, easy read, but not the deepest content you will ever read. I found it to skip around quite a bit, and I had a lot of questions go unanswered, but some how it kept my interest. There is strong language and male/male sexual situations, so while I found some of that funny, it certainly isn't for everyone.
Over all I'm glad I read it, but it isn't something I will keep on the book self to read over and over again.
I can really see why there is so much controversy over this book. This is not for the people who are squimish. I'm not, and some of the scenes were definitly sickning! I would never read this book again! Have fun with it if you choose to!
wow, the book that makes even the most crazy of families seem normal. this is the ironic tale of a boy that's trying to understand his 'artistic' mother and live with a crazy psychiatrist. it's full of wit, colorful characters and bizarre situations.
i do believe this was a memoir....definitely a page turner.
As someone in the psych career field, this hit me as a really weird book with a leading character of a therapist who would be sued routinely in this day and age and whose family needs therapy desperately. Book should be read before viewing the movie. Graphic homosexual trysts so only the most mature teens should read book or see movie.
Straaaange book! On the back cover this book was listed as "An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year". Okaaay...another blurb reports that this book "promotes visceral responses of laughter, wincing and retching on nearly every page". Now, THAT I can believe. Well, except for the laughter part.
I prefer to think that it's much more twisted than funny. Adults having sex with thirteen year olds, allowing them to quit school, stay home and smoke pot, etc.
Language is awful and I'm not a prude.
Thought awhile ago that if I wasn't such a book lover, I'd put this one in the garbage. Guess if it's a top ten book, SOMEBODY must like it! LOL
Oh, well, here's to saving the sacrifice of a perfectly good tree...
I think anyone that gave this a bad review was unable to read Running with Scissors with an open mind. I won't talk much about personal opinion...but this book was dark, strange, eccentric, graphic, sexual, EXTREMELY funny, and stunning. I can see where the bad reviews would come from (esp. those repulsed by same-sex relations), but i personally read mostly for entertainment. If that is why you read...this book delivers!!! Sure, it seems a litte "off" and maybe even fabricated, but it is nonetheless hilarious, grim, and a pleasure to read. Besides, who is anyone to say what an author writes is true or not??? I can't wait to read others by Burroughs...
A raw look at a childhood without nurturing or affection. His parents were so self -involved that they could not provide guidance or even much companionship. But he has overcome and is very open about his experiences. Very interesting and uplifting overall.
This was a great book. It was great to be a voyeur in the sense of 'watching the crazy people down the street' way. It was fascinating watching Augusten transform himself to fit into his new families roles. At times I wanted to shake the parents and tell them to wake up and see what was going on, but then it wouldn't have made the story what it was. I hope the author's other books are just as enjoyable.
I fully expected to love this book with all of my heart. It wasn't a complete disappointment but it left me feeling a little used. Augusten Burroughs is a loquacious but incredibly self-indulgent writer. It took me three weeks to get through his story, and this is coming from someone who devours book as soon I get my hands on it. I was not impressed.
Not for the meek, this book will have you shaking your head and laughing at the same time. Burroughs is a gifted writer, with the ability to jump all over the place let never makes you feel ungrounded - even when he was. The truth is ALWAYS stranger than fiction.
To say that Augusten Burroughs had an unusual childhood would be an understatement. His eccentric mother -- a poet -- left him in the care of her shrink, a man who might have benefitted from a little therapy himself. Somehow, Augusten survived, and the result is this memoir, one both horrifying and hysterical.
I bought the book thinking that it would be funny. While parts of the book are amusing, as a mother I just kept feeling incredibly sorry for the main character as well as some of the other children in the household. I was definitely saddened that a child would have to grow up the way he did. Amazing tale - just not hilarious like the jacket described.
Kelly N. - reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 1
Pretty good book. This writer is compared to David Sedaris, but I definitely don't agree. The book is clever and easy to read, but it made me feel sad, if this story is true, this person has lived a very sad life.
This book is a work of riveting and disturbing genius. Not for the faint of heart, it is the story of a boy who is lost in a world where his mother would give him to her phsychiatrist so she can focus all of her attention on herself. If this book were a piece of fiction, it would be ludicrous and demented, but the fact it is truth and the author writes so eloquently about such a painful time in his life shows its tremendous merit. Many of the details are graphic and distasteful, but the overall weakness in the characters thought to be strong and the strength on the characters thought to be weak demonstrates what complex creatures humans are. I loved this book, if for no ther reason then it made me appreciate my mother and family on a whole new level. I could not put it down!
A good book. I am always amazed at what people can do to others, and especially children. It is a wonder sometimes that so many survive. At least Mr Burrows can talk about his experiences with some humor.
There is a part of me that is horrified at the subject matter of mental illness and the whole story is a little nuts. However, it is a quick and hilarious read in a twisted way that I did find entertaining. Well worth reading.
Especially for anyone who's ever:
-- had an muddled relationship with parents
-- been in therapy
-- been confused about life in general.
THIS IS A MUST-READ.
If you enjoy giggling while feeling shocked and amazed, pick this one up.
It's not a fluke that it's on so many best-seller lists.
Very strange. Most of the time I was very entertained, other times I was discusted to the point where I did not want to read any further. Some of the gay scenes were a little too much considering the age difference between the 2 men (or should I say child and grown man). For the most part I would recommend this book. Its hard to believe that people can really be that messed up.
Hysterical, dark humor. I was disturbed only because I know it has to be true. No one could make up a childhood so sad and twisted if they tried. For what he's been through Augusten Burroughs deserves to make money off it!
Seriously this was one of the WORST books I ever read. No, wait, I can't even say that because I couldn't finish it.
A co-worker gave it to me to read and in 2 days I gave it back to her. Told her that if it was my book I would have thrown it in the trash! I love reading dark humor and almost nothing bothers me....but this??????
Don't waste your time with this. I can't even believe that there are any actors out there who would read the script to this and think "Hey I want to be in that movie". It is pure trash.
Mr. Burroughs has another book that just came out to the bookstores....you can bet that I won't be picking up that one!
My fiance and I both read this book and loved it! In many ways it was an exaggerated version of our own lives. I could definitely relate to his stories in a sick sort of way. Absolutely worth the read and it doesn't take long to read, as you find yourself just having to know how messed up one group of people could actually get.
I simply expected more from this memoir. At its core the art of memoir is self-indulgent, so I anticipate that at the get-go, but frankly the author of this work thought his life was more remarkable than I did. It was an odd upbringing, with compelling characters that I couldn't help thinking were probably more multi-faceted and interesting than the author painted them to be. I think this book was so popular because it was the most-twisted true tale that the average white-bread public is comfortable enjoying, not because it was of significantly more literary value.
Valyn reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Helpful Score: 1
I just put it away this morning, I couldn't finish it. Firstly I just cannot believe all of his story. I feel a lot of it was made up for shock value. I also had a problem with some of his "penis" references, sometimes the reader doesn't really need to know things in THAT graphic of detail.
As an abuse survivor, 2 of the "relationships" in the book really bothered me. I trudged through it, hoping it would get better, but when I hit the chapter "Toilet Bowl Readings". I couldn't finish it.
If you want to read something very disturbing, gross and unbelievable, then I guess you will enjoy this book. I feel I wasted a credit and I rarely feel that, even about books I don't enjoy. This book just sickened me on many levels.
Are this guy and his story for real??? Is this another "how much can we get away with" and still be believed and not get sued? Interesting, yes. Believable? Well, I guess I have to agree with truth is stranger than fiction, but...
Actually, this book sucks.
My reaction to this book alternated between humor, sadness and disgust. It's well-written and really holds the reader's interest. There are just 4 CD's so it's not a long book, just long enough to give you a real sense of the amazing, interesting childhood the author had with his real parents then his adopted family. I strongly recommend this book.
I absolutely loved this audio book. As read by the author, I, surprisingly, enjoyed it more than the printed version! He's a great reader and really brings his book to life.
Want a laugh? Listen to/read this book! Want a bit of a shock? Listen to/read this book! I couldn't recommend it more highly. And please, do not dare to compare it to the dreadful movie version. No comparison.
It is extremely hard for me to believe that everything that this man claims to have happened really happened. If it is, in fact, accurately a portrayal of his childhood then it is a miracle he was able to even write this memoir. Very bizarre, graphic X rated, disturbing.
Being a person who works in the psychology field I didnt find this book as far-fetched as some might. And while it was explicit, I guess I dont offend easily because I was actually in awe of his honesty. I thought the book was well written and well read.
Augustus Burrough'account of his totally unorthodox upbringing - full of charactors so wacky and unorthodox, it is almot impossible to believe this is not a book of fictional. Great writing style, good believable characters. Reommend highly
Overall, a good book - makes you sorry for the conditions that this young, disturbed boy grew up in. The graphic gay sex scenes were difficult to listen to and I found myself dreading multiple scenes - in truth, there were only two very graphic ones and overall the book was worth it. I don't think I'll get another one of his books, though, just because of the gay sex scenes which tended to be very violent.
This story is just absolutely crazy and hard to believe that someone actually lived through it. The story was too crazy at times to be enjoyable and there was way too much fowl language and graphic scenes to be comfortable with. Burroughs writing style is not for the easily embarrassed or the believer in mainstream relationships. A word of caution if you are easily offended: do not read this book.
Didn't like it at all! Felt very pieced together, no story flow. Some very disturbing scenes, and some very unbelievable events. Called a memoir but listed under fiction, so it's hard to say what really happened and what was embellished.
First, if you saw the movie, the book is MUCH better (as almost always is the case). Basically, this is a memoir of a boy's dysfunctional childhood and is sure to make you laugh, shake your head, and view your childhood in a much better light! It is a crazy tale to be sure, but different from anything you've read before! If you are easily offended by sexual references, this may not be the book for you.
I HATE not finishing books, so of course I'm very disappointed I couldn't finish this book. It was dry and boring. I can't believe it has the recognition it does. I feel kinda bad for posting it for a swap--like I'm recommending it--because I'm not!
Really you guys? Shut up. This book was, in my opinion, really good! I could just be biased because I believe that Augusten Burroughs is a great author, but really, even though it's dark, it has a sharp wit and a sense of truth underneath all of the disturbing factors. Really, this book is a "see for yourself" kind of book. I'd give it a chance.
Book is about growing up in dysfunctional environments, from his own family to being sent to live with therapist family that was even more dysfunctional than his birth family. In the meantime, he is trying to come to grips with his homosexuality.
Wow. Just finished this. Have just requested his next book. I have a feeling I won't be forgetting Augusten or his unconventional, and sad in many ways, childhood. What a skilled writer he is, despite not finishing school. Just goes to show, we all have different talents and we learn in different ways. Schools are not set up for alternative learners. Felt very bad about the parents he was dealt, the sex predator who stole his childhood, and most of all - the sham therapist who made a living "helping" people, but probably caused a lifetime of problems in his wake.
This book is so brutally honest in perspective that its undeniably one of the best books I have ever read. I think that there are so many people in this world that deal with this sort of life and for me I no longer felt alone in a world with mental illness. NAMI members unit and enjoy this book!! LOL
What an amazingly crazy childhood! As much as this book disturbed me and made my stomach turn at times it was interestingly captivating. I found it to be a very easy read and couldn't wait to see what happened next. I am actually going to order the next book just to see how it continues. I didn't think my childhood was easy but compared to Augusten it was a fairy tale. Having 2 teenage boys of my own I cant imagine them having to go through the things that he went through and how that would effect their personalities. I am glad to see that he has become a successful person because many people use dysfunctional homes as an excuse in adulthood. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they had it hard as a child.
This was one of the best books I've ever read. A heart rentching story told by the person who went through it so hillariously! His follow up book "Dry" was even funnier, has been requested by me and has already been sent out. If you want a real story, told in a fashion that leaves you laughing, get these two books!
I was disappointed by this book. The Glass Castle is a related memoir of a difficult upbringing. Amidst the darkness, it had some sweet moments and likable characters. I didn't have that same connection with the author and all of these characters were pretty frightening. I was interested enough to finish it, but I wouldn't recommend.
Wacky, off the wall, well-written, and completely insane. A lot of it was fun to read, a lot of it was uncomfortable, and some of it was completely unbelievable. I know the author swears that it's all true, but I'm with the many others who have doubts. Still, completely true or not, it's definitely the craziest memoir you'll ever read.
Tracy F. (tsf) reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
Horrible, awful and so depressing I could not finish it. People say it's funny but I found nothing funny about such a sad childhood. Absolutely not recommended and one of the worst books I have attempted to wade through in a long time.
Douglas B. reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
I found this book much more sad and upsetting than "wacky" or funny. It is very readable, and I was very interested in seeing what would happen next, but ultimately I will not be recommending this book to anyone I know.
I read this in a day or so. Excellent writing and the author's life tales are bizarre....in a good way. Maybe not a mainstream style/subject, but for anyone who enjoys a little shock, you will not be able to put down this book. The follow up 'Dry" is also worth reading-I couldnt put that one down either.
This was a much grittier coming of age story than I expected. Augusten's parents each reject him in their own way, so that Augusten is sent to live at the home of his mother's psychologist. This home can be described as weirdly dysfunctional. Could it just be quirky? That is the initial question, but the longer Augusten lives there, more idiosyncrasies are revealed until one realizes things are much beyond quirky. This is Augusten's story of how he survived.
Read this book a few years ago for book club. Was told it was "funny". Kept waiting for it to get funny but only found it to be disturbing and pathetic. For me, the only thing interesting was where it took place since I went to college in that area and at the same time the story took place. Agree with the reviewer who said it was worthless. I threw the book away when I returned home from book club. Couldn't even recommend it to any one.
nerdgirl63 reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
I just couldn't get into this one. It is an easy and quick read, but the content was disturbing and very unbelievable. I would catagorize this as fiction rather than a memoir and I would not recommend it.
The kindest thing I can say about this book is that it is "odd". There are pretty graphic and abusive scenes in the book that made me feel "icky" while reading. I'm not sure how anyone could survive this type of upbringing and it was difficult for me to read about it.
Bizarre non-fiction story of a young teen whose alcoholic father and psychotic mother abandoned their parental responsibilities and placed the narrator in the home of a "therapist" who seems to have been more disturbed than most of his patients.
Like watching a train wreck. You're embarrassed to be so transfixed by another's disaster. This story is by turns hysterical, unbelievable, sad and heart-breaking. It will make you appreciate whatever kind of dysfunctional childhood you thought you had.
Many times while reading this book I was horrified, but at the same time I could not put it down. Had to see what would happen next. I shared the book with some friends who then had to share it with their friends. If you've seen the movie, you still need to read the book. The movie was a complete disappointment.
This story is vulgar and seems to be popular simply because of its shock factor. I wanted to put it down numerous times but gave the author the benefit of the doubt, hoping for a moment of truth or life lesson. No such luck. I'm glad I read it so that I can recommend that others not bother.
Completely gripping memoir of the author's life up through the teen years. His mother is completely wacko and totally self absorbed. His father is basically non-existent. He ends up living with his mother's shrink and the shrink's crazy "family". It's wild, weird, funny, heartbreaking and, what's most astonishing, true.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, definitely not for those who are easily offended. I found it extremely disturbing, graphic, and twisted. It was difficult to put down, like watching a train wreck, not that I've ever watched a train wreck, and yet it was quite funny. Augusten Burroughs had a bizarre childhood, talk about your dysfunctional family! I highly recommend this book.
Though I did find this to be a good read, it was far more disturbing that comical - as the reviews on the cover and inside promised. I was often so disgusted that I considered putting it down. I do see that his writing style was humorous and often the situations were as well; however, there are some situations that just can't be humorous.
i loved this book, it was funny and just so insane at times!
i kept asking my self "is this really true?"
i read this after reading "A Wolf at the Table" which i felt helped me get a better understanding of augustens parents and their relationship w him
Great book. It took me a minute to get into it.. but once I did, it was quite a ride. Funny & horrifying all at the same time. Each chapter focuses on a specific event or series of events that occured during his childhood, starting from about 11-12 years old, and ending at 17. As far as memoirs go.. this one will probably be the most interesting one you'll ever read.
I'm looking forward to watching the movie -- although I'm sure there's LOTS that will be left out.
not what I expected - I bought the book because I read it was funny, it is funny but also very crude and disgustingly descriptive in places. Even so the story is really well written and very good. By the time I got to the last chapter I was sad it ended & wanted to read more... so I'm getting the next book. It's the first true story I've read about a life so bad - come across almost as normal. He makes the worst situations seem so comical you want to cheer him on, not pity him.
I didn't find this book funny at all. It was certainly shocking, not to mention disgusting and plainly horrifying in parts. Unlike _Magical Thinking_, this didn't have the feeling of David Sedaris' writing at all. This was hard to believe, and mostly just sad. I just didn't enjoy reading it. It was hard to put down though, in the same way it is hard to speed past a crash site.
I loved this book. It is much better and goes into alot better detail than the movie. I find it amazing that a person can go through a hellish childhood like that and come out "ok". I am looking forward to reading more works by Augusten Burroughs.
This book is of a bizarre story from a child's (ie. Augusten) point of view of a very dysfunctional upbringing. I'm not sure the majority of American can even relate to this family. While reading the book I couldn't help (or hope) to believe this is 95% fictional. If you want a book to make your upbring seem like a piece of cake..or why rules & standards are put in place.. This would be it...
It's also very sad to think of all the kids who live like this when they're are wonderful families to take care of them via adoption, etc..
Hilarious, sad, and while the rumor mill believes it's fabricated - I've been in the field long enough to know that it's probably not THAT much of a stretch from the truth. People really do have lives like these. To write a book about it is true bravery. I'd love to meet Augusten Burroughs.
I did not find this book funny or hilarious in any way whatsoever. If indeed, any of his story is true, I simply found it depressing and sickening. His writing style is very peurile, and while he manages to tell his story, he seems to jump around and focus on the purely sensational.
Although this is a true story , there are many parts that you would wish are not true. It is an amazing story of survival. The author's mother gives up her son ( at @ age 12) to be raised by her onorthodox psychiatrist. Burroughs defies all odds and after reading the book, I believe that he should be a public speaker and share his experiences so that children who grow up in dysfunctional families will believe that they can overcome anything!!
Augustine Burroughs' Memoir is about growing up in a really fractured and funny family relationship. He spends the formative years learning about life in the wacky household of his Mother's psychiatrist. A lot of kinky humor. Be advised that the author is homosexual and this plays out frequently in his writing.
I thought it was terrible, but hey, it's a bestseller and is being made into a Hollywood movie, so I'm sure some of you are interested, like I was. Good if you're into drugs, feces, pedophilia, psychotic episodes.
This is now a movie that has many good actors, but even though it's true, Adam Sandler should be the main character. If you like Adam Sandler you'll really like this book. Sorry, but I'm not a fan of most of his movies.
A pretty far-fetched, fantastical "memoir" that in the light of James Frey's scandal, comes off very questionable. Some drug use, abuse, and, albeit consenual, a sometimes abusive gay relationship between an adult and minor. Writing style seems to try too hard to drop in pop-culture references and to come off "cool." After a while, it settles in.
Here is an amazing memoir of a childhood lived in my hometown. Well-written, sometimes shocking, often hilarious. The cultural reference points all ring true, as do the emotions. This book is not for the faint of heart, but the truth never is. Strongly recommended.
Not really my kind of book. While well-written, it got kind of tiring reading about a child/young adult that lived years and years with no supervision. Critics called it funny...I never laughed, though the author did manage to use a tone that kept the story from being overwhelming sad and tragic.
I give this book a rating of B+ I liked it and was shocked by some of it but by the end I wasn't surprised by their crazy behaviors anymore and was ready for it to end. It'll probly be a while before I read the follow up "Dry."
I loved this memoir! It was like David Sedaris crossed with the films of David Lynch. At points, I found myself holding my breath because I couldn't imagine what would happen next. My own childhood seems downright normal to me now!
L. G. (L) reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
This was an awesome book. he's probably one of the best writers with an eye for detail. While a lot of people found the book funny, I didn't - just sort of sad, really. Definitely one of the best reads of the year for me.
This was really...unususal. Interesting because I was constantly trying to figure out A) What would happen next and B) How someone could possibly survive such a bizzare childhood *Shakes head* I finished it, but it's not one of my best books I've ever read.
The child manages his way through an insane childhood - an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who lets her therapist adopt him, an electroshock machine and a pedaphile. Somehow, he makes it to the other side.
Interesting at times, but basically reminicent of a series of Howard Stern shock jock moments. I can't say that I was impressed at the quality of writing or the believability of this "true" story. If anyone cared to look I wouldn't be shocked if this book ended up like "A Million Little Pieces".
I could only read it for so long everyday. It is that crazy of a book. If even one quarter of it is true, then Augusten Burroughs deserves either a medal or some thorazine. Unbelievable. I just couldn't stop reading it. It is a well articulated 10-car-pileup.
At times hilarious, at times harrowing, Burroughs ranks with David Sedaris in translating his unconventional (to say the least) childhood into a memoir. Rules were unheard of, the Christmas tree stayed up all year-round, Valium was consumed like candy and, if things got dull, an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. An extraordinary book.
this is my first read with this author....story moves easily...I understand why it is a memoir and not a biography....it does get very "raw" in places... I have his next book "Dry" and his 3rd book is on my wish list, but not sure I will follow this book with his next..think I need a break from this author before going right to his next book.Overall worth the read, but not for the gentle at heart due to its shock value.
Burroughs' writing style is very entertaining and creative, but for a memoir, I didn't find this book very believable. Some compare Burroughs to Sedaris. Their styles are similar; the only difference is that Sedaris' accounts actually seem true.
This book was absolutely fabulous. The story of a boy whose mother is mentally ill, and how they both get sucked up into the even crazier world of her psychiatrist and his family. The mother, somewhat detached and unnurturing towards him, sends him off to live with her psychiatrist and his family, where he gets into all sorts of crazy situations as he breaks society norms, explores his homosexuality, and truly finds himself. It's bizarre, it's humorous, it's Life. A great read!
this is one of the best books I've ever read...everyone who says they didn't like it is crazy! I had to keep reminding myself that this is a true story---sad, but true. I laughed a lot and LOVED this book-couldn't put it down!
Personally, this book wasn't very appealing to me. It didn't keep my interest like a good "who-done-it". After reading this one and his brothers "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's", I've learned these types of books aren't for me. I like books that make my imagination work overtime and this one didn't do it for me. I thought it was well written but didn't have that "can't but it down" quality.
It was interesting, but after it was regaled across the nation and/or the world as being some genius tome, I'd say it didn't live up to expectations. Being that it's true it's pretty crazy, but crazy becomes normal after a while and i was just not able to be shocked anymore.
A true story of a boy whose father left and his mother is crazy. She sends him to live with her psychiatrist, where crazy patients live with the family. The home is littered with trash. The 13 yr old boy has a gay relationship with a 35 yr old, who lives with the family.
Could not finish the book due to my disgust for just about every character in the book, foremost the narrators' idiot mom for leaving him with a motley crew of pyschos,molesters, and other mental defectives that I would not trust a hampster to much less a young child. Several explicit scenes in which the author is raped/molested by the second worst character, a molester living with the bizarro family. Appearantly this author has made an entire literary career ( at least 4 books?) about his disfunctional family.......some stories are not meant to be shared. If you love reading about young children being subjected to acts of sodomy....this book is for you.
This book does not even deserve a half of star, but its the lowest rating. I had to struggle through this book it was that bad. If you want to read about graphic pedofile relationships, daughters digging their father's sh*t out of the toilet, a bunch of crazy people living in a disgusting dirty house and a teenage boy dreaming of being a hairdresser, than this is the book for you. I'm glad I just borrowed this book from a library and didn't waste a credit on it!!!
I only finished this book because it was a book club selection for my book club. Some of the tales are unrealistic. I was grossed out many times. Not worth all the hype. It seems as though Burroughs story is VERY embellished.
This book was one of the most interesting, different, best I have ever read. I usually read Mystery, Murder and Forensics, but I picked this up one day and had it finished 2 days later. I could not put it down. Extremly entertaining. Hope you enjoy too.
I know how many people have read and loved this book, but I found it upsetting and disturbing. The bookjacket likened it to "David Sedaris writing 'The Hotel New Hampshire.'" That seems rather apt. And while I like both David Sedaris and John Irving, the combo of the two is kind of frightening.
I started off hopeful, but by the end didn't really enjoy this book. I'm no prude, but some of the scenes left me feeling sticky. The characters I did like weren't really developed that deeply, and while some ideas/images from the book might last, the overall plot wasn't that powerful.
I expected so much more from this book. Instead it was just twisted and strange with little real substance. Sometimes it felt like he was writing just for the shock value. I would recommend Dry but not Running With Scissors.
One of the best memoirs I have read this year. For all the sad and terrible moments that arise Burrough's knows how to laugh at himself and his situation. Be sure to read his follow-up DRY, for the humor and recklessness that continues into his early adulthood. I will definately be reading more from this couragous man.
This is a wonderful memoir of a boy whose mother and father were divorced and his mentally ill mother gave him away to her psychiatrist who invited patients to live in his home.
I'm not giving it justice here - I read this book in two days and I have 4 children! I could not put it down - the things this boy went through were amazing and I'm looking forward to reading his next book!
The blurbs compare this book to David Sedaris, David Sedaris writing The Hotel New Hampshire, David Sedaris meets John Waters, and to Dave Eggers\'s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I\'d say David Sedaris meets J. T. LeRoy. I can\'t wait to read the sequel, Dry.
i did not really care for the book...it is childish but not for children...it promises to bring on gales of laughter yet i never even chuckled once....it is not interesting and i read the whole book in 3 days to just get it over with...while i understand it is a memoir of true life events you would think that Augusten would be a little more sympathic to mental illness than he is...there is a lot of TMI and it is irrelevant to the story...there is also things that i am not sure i truly believe but were more like in there for "shock value"...i am very disappointed in this book and will not be in any great hurry to pick up another book by this author...
"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.
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Burroughs writes a fascinating story of his life as a child - his mentally unstable Mother, her equally unstable therapist, and Augusten. This boy, an introverted child without a clear sense of self, is thrust into the family of his Mother's therapist - becoming the only family he really felt at home with - despite the Christmas tree in the living room in July, the dirty dishes and garbage everywhere...Great read and highly recommended!
Augusten Burroughs' memoir of a crazed and abusive childhood is filled with bizarre scenarios and weird people. His childhood rendered him defensive but self-reliant. It is not sweet, but it is fascinating and his writing is entertaining.
Mr. Burroughs had a very unusual childhood. This story will amaze you, and disgust you. I guess if he could survive this, he could survive anything - and become a best selling author. Was this story exagerated? For the author's sake - I hope so.
I bought this book at a yard sale for the humorous cover. When I started reading it, I just thought 'Wow...so dysfunctional...' - but, my strict Christian upbringing would not allow me to finish the book. I reached a certain point and had to put the book away...far, far away. Then, a few months later, I discovered that they made a movie. My jaw dropped.
Needless to say, I don't recommend this book for those who have young readers at home that may be intrigued by the cover and start reading it :)
Yes, I realize it is a story of a totally disfunctional family, and I tried to make it through the book. The humor kept me going, but some of the situations were just so bizarre that I could not handle reading more than half of the book. I can't wait to see who orders this book from me. I dare you to make it through the entire story. If you do, you can tell me how it ends!!
The blurbs compare this book to David Sedaris, David Sedaris writing The Hotel New Hampshire, David Sedaris meets John Waters, and to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I\'d say David Sedaris meets J. T. LeRoy. I can\'t wait to read the sequel, Dry.
Funny, twisted, occasionally disturbing. You read this and find yourself wondering just how true it really is. At times, it is so fantastical that you don't think there's any way someone could have made it up.
Awesome! You should only read this book if explicit content is not offensive to you. I don't think the book would have the same impact w/out the vivid details. It is a really good book...and you love the author by the end...
Running With Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, whree Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull, an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing, and bestselling account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
There is a passage early in Augusten Burroughs's harrowing and highly entertaining memoir, Running with Scissors, that speaks volumes about the author. While going to the garbage dump with his father, young Augusten spots a chipped, glass-top coffee table that he longs to bring home. "I knew I could hide the chip by fanning a display of magazines on the surface, like in a doctor's office," he writes, "And it certainly wouldn't be dirty after I polished it with Windex for three hours." There were certainly numerous chips in the childhood Burroughs describes: an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who gives him up for adoption to her therapist, and an adolescence spent as part of the therapist's eccentric extended family, gobbling prescription meds and fooling around with both an old electroshock machine and a pedophile who lives in a shed out back. But just as he dreamed of doing with that old table, Burroughs employs a vigorous program of decoration and fervent polishing to a life that many would have simply thrown in a landfill. Despite her abandonment, he never gives up on his increasingly unbalanced mother. And rather than despair about his lot, he glamorizes it: planning a "beauty empire" and performing an a capella version of "You Light Up My Life" at a local mental ward. Burroughs's perspective achieves a crucial balance for a memoir: emotional but not self-involved, observant but not clinical, funny but not deliberately comic. And it's ultimately a feel-good story: as he steers through a challenging childhood, there's always a sense that Burroughs's survivor mentality will guide him through and that the coffee table will be salvaged after all.
JeanneB - reviewed Running with Scissors : A Memoir on
An account of the author's survival of a horrific childhood. It was written in a matter of fact and humorous manner. It is graphic and not for everyone. I liked it and went on to read 'Dry' and his other books published to date. His story continues in his other books and I find them touching and they ring true.
There is a passage early in Augusten Burroughs's harrowing and highly entertaining memoir, Running with Scissors, that speaks volumes about the author. While going to the garbage dump with his father, young Augusten spots a chipped, glass-top coffee table that he longs to bring home. "I knew I could hide the chip by fanning a display of magazines on the surface, like in a doctor's office," he writes, "And it certainly wouldn't be dirty after I polished it with Windex for three hours." There were certainly numerous chips in the childhood Burroughs describes: an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who gives him up for adoption to her therapist, and an adolescence spent as part of the therapist's eccentric extended family, gobbling prescription meds and fooling around with both an old electroshock machine and a pedophile who lives in a shed out back. But just as he dreamed of doing with that old table, Burroughs employs a vigorous program of decoration and fervent polishing to a life that many would have simply thrown in a landfill. Despite her abandonment, he never gives up on his increasingly unbalanced mother. And rather than despair about his lot, he glamorizes it: planning a "beauty empire" and performing an a capella version of "You Light Up My Life" at a local mental ward. Burroughs's perspective achieves a crucial balance for a memoir: emotional but not self-involved, observant but not clinical, funny but not deliberately comic. And it's ultimately a feel-good story: as he steers through a challenging childhood, there's always a sense that Burroughs's survivor mentality will guide him through and that the coffee table will be salvaged after all. --John Moe