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A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father…

A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

by Augusten Burroughs

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a dark, tense and frightening little book. i loved it ( )
  mkclane | Jul 31, 2015 |
Why did I read this in one day? I'm still not sure. The book is poignant, incredibly painful, terrifying, and yet, I couldn't put it down. It was so real, so vivid, and so exquisite.

It's been a while since I read Dry, so I didn't remember the humor that might have offset this. Humor might have been very welcome, but at the same time, I think it would have broken the mood. It needed to be like this, to have the full impact.

Incredibly powerful, painful, and exhilarating all at once. ( )
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
As it seems, it has taken Augusten half a lifetime to decipher the reasoning behind his father's strange head games, split personality and emotionless existence. Daily psychological abuse as a child turns him into an adult who daily questions himself. It only makes sense. But that leaves Augusten with the difficulty of separating himself from his father. Questions, thoughts and concerns about his father consume him, even in his thirties, as he tries to carry on like a normal person working in the city. He describes in great detail his mother's steady mental decline through the years. But most of all, he really wants to know what is *wrong* with his father. He wants to know *why he wears two masks*. And he continues to struggle with the question of *how much of my father is in me?*

*In my bedroom last night I thought I heard him laughing downstairs in the basement. It was a soft laugh, more of a throaty chuckle. And then he stopped and I heard nothing. I didn't investigate. I knew he wasn't laughing because of something funny. It was basement laughter. And there was something crazy about it.*

I don't think this story will be leaving my mind any time soon. Amazing.(less)

Sep 08, 20 ( )
  CaseyRenee | Mar 22, 2014 |
I typically really like Augusten Burroughs' writing, esp. the stories leading up to his adulthood and shortly thereafter. But as many other readers have noted, this one seemed to fall somewhat short. I admit that I was fairly anxious to read this one, as Burroughs' previous stories have only very briefly mentioned his father, so I was curious to learn more about the man. Throughout most of the book, I kept thinking to myself that his father really wasn't all that horrible, or at least he didn't seem to be quite as bad as his son kept alluding to. Yes, he had some anger and some odd peculiarities, and very likely some mental instability. But sadly, too many children seem to grow up in a world like this today, and maybe I'm just numbed to that fact, to the point where I didn't find Augusten's experiences all that remarkable. Ultimately, what Augusten wants the reader to take from this memoir is that he never really had a close relationship with his dad. I have no doubt that this affected Augusten's development into an adult, but having read most of his other memoirs, I'd have to say there were also a lot of other factors involved in his highly dysfunctional family. He makes his mother sound like the good guy in this one, but as I recall, she wasn't such a positive role model in Running With Scissors.

This is a dark, somewhat disturbing memoir, but in a different way than in Augusten's previous works. The writing was still quite good, but I don't think he was quite at his best in this one, perhaps because of the more serious tone. ( )
  indygo88 | Nov 15, 2013 |
This is an extremely well written piece of literature. It is however, psychologically, very disturbing. I would not recommend this to anyone looking for an uplifting, enjoyable read. It is like descending into Dante's hell. ( )
  Betty.Ann.Beam | Nov 3, 2013 |
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For Christopher Schelling, who is short and mean and saved my life and gave me every start that I pointed to. This book belongs to you. Because I never could have written it without your brutish and relentless love. I know I never say it, but I cherish you and love you with all my heart.
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If my father caught me he would cut my neck, so I just kept going.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312342020, Hardcover)

Amazon Significant Seven, April 2008: When I started reading A Wolf at the Table, I thought I knew what to expect. Augusten Burroughs captures intense experience with an inexplicably cool remove, imparting a stillness and purity to emotions that would likely run amok in anyone else's hands. I love this quality of his writing, and it's present in full force in this memoir of a childhood spent in thrall to a predatory and deeply unpredictable father. What I wasn't prepared for was the suspense--the dread-filled, nearly sonorous waiting for the worst to happen. An artful sort of bait-and-switch happens in the telling: Burroughs brings you to the brink of a terrible catharsis more than once, but the break in tension never comes. It is profoundly sad, remarkably tender, and fueled by a sense of love and reverence that only a child knows. --Anne Bartholomew

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:53 -0400)

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The author traces the story of his relationship with his father, in a psychologically charged tale that evaluates such themes as the line between love and hate and a child's longing for unconditional love.

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