For diary writers, or those of us who bother to journal throughout our lives...sometimes
those written and secret events can come in handy, especially if we’re trying to become
In Running with Scissors, Augusten
Burroughs writes a true-to-life story about growing up in Massachusetts, from an age as
far back as he remembers until he turns nineteen. He shares what seems to be as much
about his strange life as he can remember.
This isn’t any ordinary
family. It’s more than dysfunctional, chaotic, or annoying. It’s a little shop of
horrors, with each family member acting out their very own embittered life. The words
disgusting, shameful, and sick come to mind, and that’s just describing their living
After Augusten's father abandoned his family for good, his mother’s
phycho/pseudo psychiatrist ends up adopting Augusten into his family of kooks. Hauling
out dad’s old electroshock therapy machine was just the beginning of a freakish
adolescence that Augustin endured.
We all have our ways of coping, and
children, even teenagers, don’t always ask questions when their gut tells them something
just isn’t right. Sadly, this is true of Augusten.
Running with Scissors is a disturbing
book. But what I found just as disturbing were the editorial review quotes from national
newspapers and magazines. For example, Vanity Fair states, “A childhood of electroshock
high jinx.” LA Times reports, “A hilarious and horrifying memoir.” Though I found it
difficult to put the book down, I wasn’t laughing. Some Amazon.com reviewers suggest that
Augusten Burroughs isn’t vulnerable enough, and that this isn’t an emotionally driven
If you’re interested in reading about how others lived their lives
growing up (no matter what your moral beliefs may be), if you can’t get enough of the
nonfiction personal essay, if Bridget Jones’s Diary was just a pre-appetizer, Augusten
Burroughs’ first book is for you. To those of you who, like me, haven’t given up on ol’
“Dear Diary,” well, there must be a reason.
Ed. Note: Also on N&W.com, read Tony ’s review of <i>Dry, Burroughs’ follow-up to Scissors.