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Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten…
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Running with Scissors: A Memoir (edition 2003)

by Augusten Burroughs

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,509271192 (3.55)201
Member:skoeppen
Title:Running with Scissors: A Memoir
Authors:Augusten Burroughs
Info:Picador (2003), 1st Picado, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

  1. 100
    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Monika_L)
  2. 40
    A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs (ParadoxicalRae)
  3. 30
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    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.
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    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.
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    wonderlake: Crazy lives
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» See also 201 mentions

English (265)  Italian (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (270)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
The only positive thing I can say about this book is that it includes a chapter about Burrough's brother, John Elder Robison. Robison's own books about his experience as an individual on the autism spectrum are informative and insightful. This book is neither. ( )
  wandaly | Aug 23, 2017 |
What a fun and memorable memoir. Did this really happen? Wow. ( )
  CherieKephart | Aug 3, 2017 |
didn't finish Too erotic / crazy for me his childhood

The true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus.

So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a paedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
  christinejoseph | Jul 5, 2017 |
I hated this book. I thought it was absolutely disgusting. ( )
  Contusions | Dec 23, 2016 |
Augustan Burroughs certainly is justified in writing a memoir, his teenage years being quite unlike those of anyone else I've known. His mother, suffering from mental illness, sends him to live with the family of her psychiatrist (!), most members of which--the psychiatrist included--proving to be as unbalanced as she is.

There is an interesting balance the memoir must maintain. Some of the eccentricities are so "out there," a reader cannot help but laugh. On the other hand, there is a deep affliction of mental illness underlying everything--and some manifestations of it are downright ugly--and there is nothing funny about that at all.

It's because of my ambivalence over this kind of presentation that I award three stars. I was absorbed by the story, but perhaps not as disturbed by it as I feel I should be, because so much of told was in a rather light-hearted way. ( )
1 vote kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (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 editionscalculated
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:46 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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