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Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
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Running With Scissors

by Augusten Burroughs

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,643244230 (3.56)195
  1. 90
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (Monika_L)
  2. 40
    A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs (ParadoxicalRae)
  3. 20
    Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford (Smiler69)
    Smiler69: Memoirs told by the adopted daughter of Joan Crawford, who by all accounts was a raging alcoholic.
  4. 10
    Stitches: A Memoir by David Small (meggyweg)
  5. 10
    Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison (vancouverdeb)
    vancouverdeb: Look Me in the Eye written by John Elder Robinson, the elder brother ofAugusten Burroughs who wrote Running with Scissors. Each gives a different take on their dysfunctional family.
  6. 32
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (amberwitch)
  7. 10
    Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Traig (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: A funny memoir of a person with unusual habits.
  8. 00
    Between Nowhere and Happiness by Daniel Kine (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A young poet battling apathy with drugs and other forms of experimental coping methods.
  9. 11
    Normal Family by Don Trowden (Publerati)
    Publerati: Eccentric family chaos except Normal Family is entirely set over four consecutive dysfunctional family holidays. Hysterical and bittersweet fun. Promising new writer.
  10. 00
    My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest (ainsleytewce)
  11. 22
    Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (khoov00)
    khoov00: This book seems to appeal to some with the same sense of humor as it would take to appreciate the book Wicked.
  12. 00
    Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (LAKobow)
  13. 00
    Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander (utterlyutter)
  14. 00
    Sugarless by James Magruder (amberwitch)
  15. 00
    Bright Angel Time by Martha McPhee (ainsleytewce, ainsleytewce)
  16. 00
    An Underachiever's Diary by Benjamin Anastas (meggyweg)
  17. 11
    A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Crazy lives
  18. 12
    A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer (PortiaLong)
    PortiaLong: Disturbing memoirs - I disliked them both for the same reasons (so someone else may LIKE them for those same reasons).
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» See also 195 mentions

English (238)  Italian (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (243)
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
Growing up with a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic father, Augusten Burroughs's life was anything but "normal" to begin with, but things get even more dysfunctional when his mother gives Augusten away to her eccentric psychiatrist to be raised with his family. Managing to find humor in the absurdity of his abusive past, Burroughs recounts his more than atypical upbringing in this memoir.

To preface this review, I must say that I read this book when it came out more than a decade ago. My memory being what it is, that means I'm a bit fuzzy on all the details of this book. Nevertheless, I do remember being greatly absorbed by this book at the time, and my past self dog-eared many pages for my present self to revisit and find examples of quotable moments when Burroughs provides some insightful thought amongst the chaos of his life. Burroughs's writing style is very compelling - it's simple and concise enough to be read quickly and easily, but it's not simplistic. He has colorful metaphors and allusions as well as the aforementioned ability to find the dark humor in his pitiful situation.

Nevertheless, I recognize this book is not for everyone. Burroughs's life is pockmarked with neglect, abuse, sexual abuse, and all kinds of things that don't belong to genteel life. Reading about his life can certainly be uncomfortable at times, but again, I found that Burroughs was able to write in such a way that even the horrible things were somewhat tempered. As I mentioned earlier, Burroughs was also able to provide enough insights for the reader to feel hopeful about his own future prospects, with the book itself ending on a cautiously optimistic note. ( )
1 vote sweetiegherkin | Nov 25, 2014 |
Read this awhile back but remember being impressed. I started reading Sedaris after this book and realized that he is similar to Burroughs but with more talent for writing style AND storytelling. Read Sedaris, all his work before bothering with Burroughs... although his stuff was entertaining enough to recommend. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
I wish someone would have warned me about the graphic scene of child molestation. So for future readers sake, be prepared for a graphic scene of child molestation.

This is the kind of book that makes me angry, not because it's a bad book but because people call it funny. It's not funny, it's awful. You are finding humor in people who are mentally ill and that's just sad on your part. I get that this is how the author has dealt with this being his life but if the tone were slightly different then maybe it could be a good book for a serious debate on how we see the mentally ill, but instead everyone just laughs and carries on. ( )
  wrysosrs | Aug 16, 2014 |
It is not easy to know where to start with this book.

A thirteen year old boy is sent to live with the family of his mother's psychiatrist - a family that would seem to be desperately in need of psychiatric attention themselves. The rules, guidelines and structure of this family appear to be non-existent and yet, somehow, the author manages to thrive in this crazy environment.

This is apparently an autobiography - I'm not 100% sure I can buy into that.

That being said, I was riveted to the end. I found myself laughing out loud when probably I should have cried.

It's not your everyday story, but I would recommend it. ( )
  EvelynBernard | Jul 28, 2014 |
Twisted. Like a John Irving novel, yet depressing because it is not fictional but actually happened to someone. I'll never look at Western Massachusetts in the same way again. ( )
  timking33 | Jun 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
The book, which promotes visceral responses (of laughter, wincing, retching) on nearly every page, contains the kind of scenes that are often called harrowing but which are also plainly funny and rich with child's-eye details of adults who have gone off the rails.
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Augusten Burroughsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leivo, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.

Jules Renard
Dedication
For Dennis Pilsits
First words
My mother is standing in front of the bathroom mirror smelling polished and ready; like Jean Nate, Dippity Do and the waxy sweetness of lipstick.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A memoir. A story told about a young boy's life living with his delusional mother, her unorthodox shrink, and his dysfunctional kids. A very interesting read!!!
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312938853, Mass Market Paperback)

There is a passage early in Augusten Burroughs's harrowing and highly entertaining memoir, Running with Scissors, that speaks volumes about the author. While going to the garbage dump with his father, young Augusten spots a chipped, glass-top coffee table that he longs to bring home. "I knew I could hide the chip by fanning a display of magazines on the surface, like in a doctor's office," he writes, "And it certainly wouldn't be dirty after I polished it with Windex for three hours." There were certainly numerous chips in the childhood Burroughs describes: an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who gives him up for adoption to her therapist, and an adolescence spent as part of the therapist's eccentric extended family, gobbling prescription meds and fooling around with both an old electroshock machine and a pedophile who lives in a shed out back. But just as he dreamed of doing with that old table, Burroughs employs a vigorous program of decoration and fervent polishing to a life that many would have simply thrown in a landfill. Despite her abandonment, he never gives up on his increasingly unbalanced mother. And rather than despair about his lot, he glamorizes it: planning a "beauty empire" and performing an a capella version of "You Light Up My Life" at a local mental ward. Burroughs's perspective achieves a crucial balance for a memoir: emotional but not self-involved, observant but not clinical, funny but not deliberately comic. And it's ultimately a feel-good story: as he steers through a challenging childhood, there's always a sense that Burroughs's survivor mentality will guide him through and that the coffee table will be salvaged after all. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:29 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The author describes his bizarre coming-of-age years after his adoption by his mother's psychiatrist, during which he witnessed such misadventures as a fake suicide attempt and front-lawn family/patient sleepovers.

» see all 11 descriptions

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