Wednesday, July 16, 2008

BOOK: Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

in their shoes challenge

Many of the quotes on the back of the book describe this as 'hilarious', 'wickedly, ridiculously funny', and 'insanely funny', but I didn't find it funny. Burroughs horrifying life with insane parents and then a foster family was tragic. He retells it with a casual, flippant attitude which is why readers find it funny I guess, and he himself only knew the crazy life so it was normal to him.

At one point Burroughs' guardian, who happened to be his mother's psychiatrist, arranged a fake suicide attempt so he didn't have to go to junior high school any more. There was no body looking out for this poor kid's life. At thirteen, Augusten also carried on a homosexual affair with a thirty-three adopted brother in the guardian family which some family matters thought was inappropriate, but no one did anything to actually stop it. And a warning to some readers, there are some pretty graphic descriptions of their activities.

I didn't hate the book but the insanity of his life was more sad than anything. He had a great attitude in some ways, in that he just learned to deal with it and nothing bothered him too much. Have you read this book? What did you think? Leave a link or comment.

12 comments:

John Mutford said...

I'm not sure if you saw the movie or not, but I think it captured the humour, dark though it was. The "masturbatorium" still cracks me up.

SuziQoregon said...

Everything I've read about this one talks about it being funny, but it sure didn't sound funny to me so I've avoided it. Sounds like that was a good move.

ps - I use the feed footer too ;-)

ya ya's mom said...

I read this, along with his other books and really enjoyed them. I appreciated his ability to take his basically horrible like and write it in such a way that was light hearted. It is not funny in a ha ha way, but interesting to me. I am an avid people watcher so maybe that is part of my love of his books and writing. His first book is Sellvision. Just a fictional story. I loved it, VERY FUNNY in my opion.

Debi said...

Wow, all I'd ever heard about this book was how funny it was. But you're right...that sure doesn't sound too funny to me. But I am sort of intrigued, and might have to pick this one up. Thanks...it will be nice going into it with more realistic expectations.

Bookfool said...

I flipped through this book and happened upon a scene that totally grossed me out, so I'll never read it. I'm kind of relieved to find that you didn't care for it, since it would have only cost me a quarter.

Lori said...

I found Running with Scissors more sad than funny too and in the end felt that some of the adults in his life should have been charged with child abuse/neglect. I just couldn't find humor, even dark humor, in it.

Lisa said...

I started it and totally didn't get it. I mailed it off unfinished over a year ago. Not only was it not funny, I didn't find it believable in any way.

thebluestockingsociety said...

I listened to this book on tape a while ago and was thoroughly disturbed and disgusted. I was disturbed by the tragic childhood Burroughs endured. I was disgusted that he was playing it up as humorous for money. I'll not be reading (or listening to) any more Burroughs.
-Jessica @ http://thebluestockings.com

tinylittlelibrarian said...

I haven't read it. I, too, had heard how funny it (and the movie) was but when I'd read anything about it, it always sounded just like your review - really sad and with awful things happening. Since we're reading twins, I'll be avoiding it. :)

Nyssaneala said...

I read this before I started my blog, but I didn't enjoy it very much. I guess his humor just isn't my style.

Megan said...

I saw the movie and thought it was so bizarre and disturbing, even if it had its funny moments, that I was scared off of the book. I figured I'd be better off if I just steered clear of his work, but alas, I've unwittingly received a copy of his latest memoir of his deeply troubled childhood, A Wolf at the Table for review, kind of. There are no parts that could be mistaken for funny in this one, and I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse. I'm left with the impression that Burroughs really is a great writer, but his work depresses me too much for me to really "enjoy" it.

katrina said...

I read this earlier in the year before I was reviewing my reads and was also very wary of this book. I wasn't convinced that it all was true
I remember taking it to the hairdressers with me, as it is a waiting system and often takes a good hour waiting, I pulled it out of my bag and got reading, then I got to his loosing his virginity scene and was suddenly painfully aware of how close ppl were sitting next to me and how easy it would be for them to glance at the page and wonder what type of a girl I was. It quickly went back into my bag.
My mum was equally shocked when she picked it up to see what my sister was reading, she may be 22 but she is still the baby of the family!