Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Running with Scissors

Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors

I wanted to read this book before seeing the movie, so I haven't seen the film adaptation of this story yet. I found myself wondering off and on while reading Burroughs' memoirs of his bizarre life if it was indeed a memoir of how his life really was, or an exaggerated child's perception. I still don't know for certain even after reading the criticisms and analysis of this book which imply that this is Burroughs' actual memoirs.

Running with Scissors starts out when Augusten is only a young boy. His mother is a psychotic poet, and his father is an abusive alcoholic. The father disappears and he is left alone with his unstable mother who can hardly take care of herself, much less her son, so she gives Augusten up for adoption to her crazy psychiatrist. The doctor's family members are all insane in greater or lesser degrees. Some critics have called the family "eccentric", and while that may be true for the doctor's daughter, Natalie, I find that the doctor's other daughter, Hope, and his wife Agnes are downright looney.

Despite all of the hardships and emotional distress Augusten must deal with in his young life (along with the struggles with his own homosexuality and stormy affair with a much older man), he manages to still have dreams, and he manages to be the most sane of all of the people of his biological, as well as his adopted family.

The story is laugh-out-loud funny at times, and horrifying at other times. Overall, Burroughs has had quite a bizarre childhood, which makes for excellent storytelling material.

Now, I can safely go rent and watch the film. I will provide a post script and let you know how I liked it in comparison with the book.

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