Title: Running With Scissors
Author: Augusten Burroughs
I picked up Augusten Burroughs’ memoir on a whim, completely ignorant of the author or story. The jacket blurbs promised the book would be irreverent, hysterical, and deeply disturbing. They were right.
Burroughs grew up in a highly dysfunctional family and eventually lived with his mother’s psychiatrist and his family. He had a relationship with a pedophile, dropped out of school, created a skylight in the kitchen by knocking out the roof, and so on. No child should grow up the way he did.
Of course, we know that in the end it’s a success story for him, because he wrote the book. So he may be scarred and it may have been harder for him than some other people, but he managed to move on with life.
Burroughs’ tone is superb. Never in the book is he whiny or attention-seeking. He relates events matter-of-factly, with a slight tinge of sarcasm, an underlying sense of a very dark humor. And the book is very funny, even in moments that are horrible or absurd.
But there are few takeaways. It’s entertaining, yes. Inspiring, perhaps. But there is little to learn.
Conclusion: entertaining read if you don’t have anything else available. Or if you can’t resist the horror of reading about a train wreck.