Suddenly, at age 12, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian house in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules. There was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things went dull, there was always the vintage electroshock-therapy machine under the stairs...
Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it is a truly amazing chronicle of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
©2002 Augusten Burroughs; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
"Beautifully written with a finely tuned sense of style...this memoir of a nightmarish youth is both compulsively entertaining and tremendously provocative." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sharp, riotous humor...deeply affecting...this is a survival story readers won't forget." (Booklist)
"Bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious." (The New York Times)
This book takes you on a journey of growing up and discovery from a child's point of view. It's an "adult" tape, (definitely not for children - I wouldn't want to explain parts to my 8 year old son, but its not salacious either). It has kept me fascinated for the 40 min. drive home every day for a week. Its like discovering parts of my own family from the viewpoint of one of my younger relatives.
Sometimes previews and marketing do a book a dis-service trying to lure people in. I found this to be true - the value far exceeds what I expected.
The reader is outstanding, bringing each individual character to life with a voice that seems to match the author's words exceedingly well.
Excellent book - I've read some reviews of Burroughs work where they compare him to David Sedaris (who I adore), but other than being gay and funny, comparison stops there. He is so open about his life - painfully so at times - and it really drew me in to his story. With a lot of humor and a gift for communicating the grotesque in a light handed way, Burroughs is an amazing writer. I listen in my car on MP3 player and found myself sitting in parking lots, outside of my house, etc. just so I could keep listening before I had to stop the player.
Not for the easily offended, this book is crass, bawdy but highly entertaining. The author is so open and honest, sharing frighteningly intimate thoughts and portraying the actions during his pre-teen and teenage years. I had to remind myself many times that this book is a memoir, not fiction. It is so out there, the things that happened in the author's life and the people he is surrounded by that it's almost hard to believe at times, although, I've met some people who aren't too far away from the characters in the book, which make it even more fascinating. The characters are so well developed throughout that you almost know what they look like and can imagine meeting them in real life. This is a book that stays with you for a long time after you read and leaves you wondering. I can't wait to read more from Augusten Burroughs - a fantastic writer.
I've waited a month to write a review because I hoped I would like this disturbing and compelling book more than I did. This boy is surrounded by dysfunction and it's a miracle that he survived at all. As much as I disliked it however, I felt compelled to finish as I was pulled along by the ever more disturbing plot. In that, it was excellent, by I certainly wouldn't save it to disc as I would never want to read it again.
I give credit to the narrorator (the author himself) - 50% of an audible book's enjoyment is a narrorator you can stand to listen to. I did like the narraration. One reviewer likened the book to David Sedaris - while there are similarities- Augusten is much darker and is not as funny (it is funny in only a very perverse way). His whole life is surrounded by severely dysfunctional people and at the end I was depressed and felt profound pity for the man. The book is very graphic and many will find it offensive. I usually love dark comedies, but this goes over the edge. If this story is really true (even half true) some of the real-life characters need to be put away for the safety of the public.
It certainly doesn't leave you feeling good. The characters are hard to relate to and hard to embrace. The story is often disturbing. The writing isn't terrible but isn't exceptional. I'm sorry that this author is being compared to Sedaris, Eggars, and Keillor -- he pales in comparison to those guys.
While this story remains fairly interesting because of the bizarre chain of events claimed by the author, the characters feel 2-Dimensional and I found myself rapidly losing sympathy. It is worth listening to, (be aware that descriptions are often graphic, but not gratuitously so) but not one I would enthusiastically recommend.
As a psychiatrist who has treated two people in my metropolitan area who lived with their psychiatist in the 60's, this is not fiction. It is told with Burroughs' tough, but funny humor. He has found a way to transform his tragic circumstances in a way that others can understand, using the with and humor that must have been part of his survival!
This is a very enertaining read. Easy to listen to, well narrated and well written. How anyone can live to tell of such a childhood is beyond me. I recommend this for the listener who may have come off of a 'difficult' audio (by difficult I mean something that you have to listen to with a lot of focus or you may miss something) and wants something to breeze through. May not be for everyone because the content can be a little off-putting. (Immoral doctors, childhood sexuality, parents who abandon their kids....)
There are funny moments in an "oh my that's awful" sort of way, but why would I want to read about bodily fluids of all types in excruciating detail set in a home ruled by people with no control over their lives. If you want a voyeuristic appreciation of abysmal human behavior than this is for you, all wrapped up in nervous laughter.
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