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.
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!
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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!!
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!