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A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father | [Augusten Burroughs]

A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

A Wolf at the Table is the story of Augusten's relationship with his father, John Robison, Sr., a man only briefly touched upon in Running With Scissors. Told with shocking honesty and penetrating insight, A Wolf at the Table is more than the companion volume to Running with Scissors - it's a story of stunning psychological cruelty and the redemptive power of hope.
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Publisher's Summary

Millions of listeners have been flat-out astonished, profoundly moved, and massively entertained by the writing of Augusten Burroughs. Now, with A Wolf at the Table - his first full-length memoir in five years - Augusten returns to his literary roots as one of the most famous memoirists of our time, yet he makes a quantum leap forward into untapped emotional terrain: the radical pendulum swing between love and hate, the unspeakably terrifying relationship between father and son.

A Wolf at the Table is the story of Augusten's relationship with his father, John Robison, Sr., a man only briefly touched upon in Running With Scissors. Told with shocking honesty and penetrating insight, A Wolf at the Table is more than the companion volume to Running with Scissors - it's a story of stunning psychological cruelty and the redemptive power of hope.

Featuring exclusive, all new original songs by Patti Smith, Sea Wolf, Ingrid Michaelson, and Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara.

Listen to Running with Scissors.

©2008 Island Road, LLC (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"There are books that were born for bells and whistles, and Augusten Burroughs's A Wolf at the Table is one....This fifth memoir of abuse and excess is read, bleated, rumbled and, at times, tearfully shouted by the author himself. The audio book...breaks new ground by presenting four songs written expressly for the production." (The Washington Post)
"Intense, sincere, and passionate, Burroughs offers a deeply felt, intimate portrait of the most disastrous period in his life. He holds nothing back, and in fully giving voice to his emotions, he makes each moment immediate for the listener." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (224 )
5 star
 (68)
4 star
 (44)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.8 (68 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (67 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Annette 05-05-08
    Annette 05-05-08

    I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Egad"

    I've enjoyed his writing style and comedic take on a painful upbringing - up til now. This is apparently his memories from being the most embellishing, whining child on earth. it doesn't feel as if there's any humanity or understanding just the view of a child who by all description isn't very likable or seeing the whole truth. Self pitying. whining. And I have to say, sadly disappointing perhaps because it's through his own voice that it feels disingenuous. Not something that truly presents the "monster" or the "victim" of a cruel childhood - just a lot of words.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan Scarborough, ON, Canada 03-03-10
    Allan Scarborough, ON, Canada 03-03-10 Member Since 2012
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    "A tear for Augustin...but only one."

    If someone wants to they can write a book about anything they want to. A publisher, if they want to, can publish whatever book they want to. A consumer can purchase, if they want, whatever book they want to. That is how things come to be sometimes. This is a book that should never have been written, should never have been published and I should never have purchased.

    The subject matter attracted me to the book since I lived with a real Wolf at the Table. Many reviewers warned that this book was not worth buying. I thought to myself, I just had to read it to see if it was like what I went through with my father. Also, I wanted to see if it was as bad as some had written or if they just did not understand. I do not mind the authors writing style, how he reads his material or the songs. In fact, I liked all of those things. What I did not like at all and was actually offended by, was Mr. Burroughs interpretation of a bad father and his interpretation of how bad his father was towards him.

    Let me explain. Suppose there was a scale to measure a fathers parenting and supposes the scale ran from -10 for an extremely bad father to 10 for the best of fathers. On that scale I would rate Mr. Burroughs father as a 1 and I would rate my experiences with my father as a -6. I know living with my father was horrendous but I also know that some people have suffered far greater than I did. I at least have some perspective on this subject, Mr. Burroughs has none or he would have been too embarrassed to write this book. Too embarrassed because so many others have suffered so much more. It would be like a soldier whining about the terrible desk job he had to suffer through during the war while others that actually saw battle had all their limbs blown off along with their balls. It is sad when anyone suffers but Mr. Burroughs comes across as a spoiled whining brat. Oh if he only truly knew of what he speaks, he would never have spoken.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bjorn Pleasanton, CA, USA 06-06-08
    Bjorn Pleasanton, CA, USA 06-06-08 Member Since 2000
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    "Painful but worth it"

    I have listened to all of his books, and this one is quite different. The narration is a little heavy in the beginning, and I'm sure that will put a lot of people off. As the story of a boy trying to make sense of a crazy life and an unfortunate set of parents, it is extremely powerful. By the end, I was crying and the hair was standing up on my arms. I can tell you that I gave my own son an extra big hug that night! I'm very glad I stuck with it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krysti 07-24-15
    Krysti 07-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A Must-Listen "

    Listening to an audio book narrated by the author, in the tone in which it was intended, is an interesting experience. In this case, I found it essential. The author takes us through his childhood, a very honest and raw perspective. This was my first experience with Burroughs, and it is certainly far from my last.
    I have to mention the cover design, by Chip Kidd, is such an accurate reflexion of the tone of this book. Very powerful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bexx 02-22-15
    Bexx 02-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Terrifying"

    I am an avid reader of Augusten's works, many of them I've enjoyed multiple times, and this one shifted my entire perspective. This novel was haunting and riveting, an amazing performance by the author and the other artists involved. Incredible!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Barry Ryan 09-18-14
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    "A disapointment"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Augusten Burroughs interpretations of his life experience in his other works are mostly wonderful experiences for a reader. I understand the challenges and emotional trauma he suffered but through the offsetting and compelling lens of irony and humor. This book is completely different. It is very dark throughout. The audio enhancements add to its somber tone; the voice Mr. Burroughs uses throughout is like the voice of the narrator of a schlock horror story. I guess he had a need for his readers to understand that his life was not very funny. This audiobook was somewhat interesting but I cannot say that I liked it.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Augusten Burroughs’s performances?

    Yes if he reurns to his "normal" voice.


    What character would you cut from A Wolf at the Table?

    all of them


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisha ANTIOCH, CA, United States 06-10-14
    Lisha ANTIOCH, CA, United States 06-10-14

    I am an avid reader and love audio books. I do not watch TV. I also love to do puzzles. Combine the two and I am in Heaven!!! Peace out!

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    "Awesome!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book to everybody and will. The fact that this is a true story just makes it even more heartbreaking and in the end a testament to what a human soul can endure and still come out a shining star.


    What other book might you compare A Wolf at the Table to and why?

    Anne Rice's "Called out of Darkness - A Spiritual Confession". Although I read that book and the emotion shines it is not the same as hearing the author speak the words and know exactly how he must have felt during his childhood. I just wanted to give him a hug so many times throughout the book.


    What does Augusten Burroughs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    So much more than I can say. You can feel in your heart what he felt and I cried for him. Yet he has made so much out of the ashes his father left of his heart.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A stunning story of the survival of one little boys heart!


    Any additional comments?

    After reading "Running with Scissors" I was expecting something so different than what I got from this book. But I was not disappointed in the least. Buy this audio book and experience a story that will raise your heart and bring you to the realization that some parents should not be allowed to exist. I wanted the Wolf to die as much as Augusten did when he handed his brother the gun and shouted "KILL HIM!" over and over and I was shouting with him. He did survive his father but I still think there is a hole in his heart that will never be mended. And he deserved so much more because he gave love so freely without ever getting any back. To his fathers dying day he loved him with all his heart and it was his father that missed out on this unconditional love and his loss that he never returned the love of a little boy who loved him so much it will make your heart ache.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Chicago, IL, United States 07-09-12
    Sarah Chicago, IL, United States 07-09-12
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    "odd narration..."
    Where does A Wolf at the Table rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's right in the middle. I like Burroughs and his work in general


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story was shocking and sad. But it gives great insight to the author, his writing and his style of humor.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Augusten Burroughs’s performances?

    I have listened to almost all of his books


    Any additional comments?

    What I didn't like about the book was the tone the author used to read throughout the story. It was odd coming from an author who seems so at ease and casual in other readings. His voice, the speed, the tone did nothing to enhance the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Belleville, IL, USA 07-22-10
    Sarah Belleville, IL, USA 07-22-10
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    "Not what i expected but worth my money."

    This is extremely different than Burroughs other books-It's not comedic, its more drama. Its extremely heart felt. It really feels like he pours his heart out in this book. Also listen to the whole thing, after he plays a song at the end he has an outro that explains why the songs are there, and it may have you listen to the songs differently than you had at first. If you're looking for a comedy, this is not it. Very well written, at time i was unsure of weather I liked the audio and how it was read at time, but over all it grew on me and I enjoyed it very much. I definately reccomend this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen corrales, NM, USA 10-15-08
    Jen corrales, NM, USA 10-15-08
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    "Wolf at the table"

    I have read Dry and Running with... I just could get past the 2nd chapter. Too dark for me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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