27.12.14

Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs// A review.

Think of all the crazy things you have wanted to, but then didn't.
Think of all the crazy things that could have happened to you, but didn't.
Think of every single crazy situation that you have envisioned happening, but then didn't actually happen.
Now, put all of that together, into one crazy ball of crazy, and I doubt it will even come close to the amount of crazy that Burroughs writes of, in his memoir 'Running with Scissors.'

The novel - almost a sitcom within itself, opens with Augusten as a young child, and follows him into his late teens, where after a series of tragic events, skips out on the life he has for a chance of a better one in New York City.





After his parents divorce, his mother, a delusional poet, sends him to live with her psychiatrist, a rather 'out there' man, who believes that after the age of thirteen a child should be in control of their own life. Usually this would be every thirteen year olds dream, but not Augusten's, he adored order, and structure, and cleanliness, all three of which were absent in the psychiatrists home. The psychiatrists own children, both biological and adopted, saw no issues with the way they lived, including the fact that the leftover turkey bones, spent more time being moved from to room in the months after Christmas, then what they did on the table Christmas day!

The novel has been written in such a way that allows you to fall in and out as easily as you like. As mentioned before, the novel is very much sitcom based, each chapter tells it's own story, skipping ahead in time, with story/character arcs tying them all together. You can read three of four chapters,  and then come back a few weeks later without having to skim read previous chapters in order to recap on previous events. However, just because you can do this, doesn't mean that you will - the story is so gripping its easy to forget that it is a memoir,  the characters are so farfetched even your wildest dreams would not be able to imagine them up.

Throughout the five year span of this book, you have to keep reminding yourself, that Burroughs was only a young boy when any of this happened. The language, events and his general attitude towards life, makes him seem as if he were a man twice his actual age, when really, at the start of the novel he can barely be considered as a teenager.

I loved reading this book. It opened my eyes to damage a parent can do to their child, and how their lifestyles can have so much of an effect on them. Burroughs and his life dramatically changed throughout the period he lived with his psychiatrists family, and although it is filled with dark comedy and laugh out loud moments, the memoir behind it, is truly both harrowing and heartfelt.

There is something about this novel that makes it special. It's more than just a memoir about a kid with a tragic life. There's substance.  

I would honestly recommended this book to anyone who likes to read memoirs, but also to those who don't. It does not read like a memoir, it's a novel about his life that just happens to be true.



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