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Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running with Scissors (edition 2006)

by Augusten Burroughs

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12,254269207 (3.56)200
Title:Running with Scissors
Authors:Augusten Burroughs
Info:Picador (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Books I have read, Read but unowned
Tags:non-fiction, memoir, autobiography, humor, read 2007, 1970s, gay, mental illness, depression, coming of age, massachussetts, 1-a, 3-listened, R-2007-02, lgbt

Work details

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

  1. 100
    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. 30
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    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (amberwitch)
  5. 10
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  6. 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.
  7. 32
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    wonderlake: Crazy lives
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    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 200 mentions

English (263)  Italian (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (268)
Showing 1-5 of 263 (next | show all)
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 |
Was an interesting read. Only the 2nd of Burroughs books that I have read thus far. This focuses mainly on his childhood and early teen years. During this time his mother has a few psychotic breaks and Augusten goes to live with his mother's therapist. Although the family lives in a nice neighborhood there's is the worst house on the block. The family is quirky to put it politely. A Christmas tree is left up until May. Augusten and one of the other kids knock out the kitchen ceiling and then put in a "skylight" using a window from the pantry. That's just a couple of examples of what happens in the house where he grows up without his parents. At times the book is laugh out loud funny and other times my mouth dropped open with shock at what he says is happening. That being said you can't help but wonder how much of the book is actually true and how much is pure fiction or embellished truth. ( )
  ChrisWeir | Aug 14, 2016 |
I hate this book with a passion. A gripping tale of a traumatic adolescence that ends with the self-congratulatory cries of "Look at me! I survived and I'm a *real* writer! And I live in New York!" I can't stand it when writers pat themselves on the back for "living to tell the tale". Whatever. ( )
  voncookie | Jun 30, 2016 |
I hate this book with a passion. A gripping tale of a traumatic adolescence that ends with the self-congratulatory cries of "Look at me! I survived and I'm a *real* writer! And I live in New York!" I can't stand it when writers pat themselves on the back for "living to tell the tale". Whatever. ( )
  anna_hiller | Jun 22, 2016 |
Strange . . . ( )
  mtlkch | Jun 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 263 (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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Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.

Jules Renard
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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Average: (3.56)
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1 169
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