Saturday, 27 July 2013

Book #28

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

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. 
I have been called gullible before. In fact, I've been called gullible on many an occasion, and I really am. I believe what people tell me, but I'm not stupid. These 'memoirs' are a complete work of fiction. They are full of sheer nonsense, things that just wouldn't happen, things that are total figments of the author's imagination. I looked into this further, and found that the family Burroughs lived with, who the memoirs are based on, sued him for damages. He was forced to rebrand the novel as a book, rather than a collection of memoirs, and then stated the book was only 'loosely' based on his life. How embarrassing.

Reading this book is like talking to one of those people who lie to get one up on you. If you're telling a story, they tell theirs with added extras to make it all sound so much more exciting than yours. Burroughs is this person. The family have a paedophile living in their garden, who falls in love with Burroughs when he's thirteen. They spark up a relationship, and the family are absolutely fine with this. The children play with an electro-shock machine the doctor casually keeps under the stairs. The youngest child shits under the dining room table, and no one cares, nor cleans it up. Burroughs and one of the children bring the ceiling in the kitchen down one day, creating a huge hole in the roof, and no one really notices. The best one of all was this medical professional helping Augusten fake his own suicide attempt so he could be committed to a mental institution. The reason behind this was that Augusten didn't like school, and this would mean he didn't have to go. It's a load of fabricated tripe.

Nothing linked together. Each part of the story was just another piece of shit thrown in to jazz it all up. The ending was abrupt and dull.

I don't understand the praise that has been heaped on to this book. It's a badly written account of an emo kid's exaggerated teen years. Please avoid this.

1 comment:

Jake said...

great review as ever :)

On the subject of memoirs with exaggerations etc, you might be interested in a book called "Reality hunger" it goes to great lengths to explain that all memoirs and autobiography are to some extent works of fiction. As the person writing down their memories is doing so with their own version of events. Truth is different to each person etc etc.

It talks about James Frey's book A million little pieces which similar to this, had lies and exaggerations in a book that was supposedly non-fiction. The publishers eventually offered refunds to anyone who felt they'd been tricked. as the author of reality hunger puts it, it's a refund for people who were tricked into reading a novel :P

It's an interesting read, worth checking out if you're interested in that sort of thing.