Title: Running With Scissors
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Date finished: 4/15/17
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: July 10, 2002
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library
Blurb from the cover:
Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain. Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor’s bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules, there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock therapy machine under the stairs….
Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it chronicles an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
My rating: 1.5 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (April). I think this book was an exception to the rule because we usually read fiction but it seems that this month we’re reading non-fiction. This book tells the story of a boy named Augusten, who lives with his alcoholic father and mentally ill mother. After his parents divorce though, Augusten lives for a period of time with his mother’s psychiatrist, who to be honest didn’t seem all that sane himself. The only thing I can say about the plot of this book is that Augusten goes through what can only be described as disturbing, and sometimes horrific, experiences throughout his childhood. And while he seems to always survive “unscathed,” the damage that results from these experiences is evident to the reader.
Overall I really just didn’t like this book, mainly I think because its almost the exact opposite of my “usual” type of book. I like fiction books with happy endings and this book was a traumatizing description of a poor young man’s childhood that didn’t seem to have any other purpose in the tale other than shocking the reader. The sex scenes (of a thirteen year old boy) are extremely graphic, some of which were detailed rape descriptions. I felt dirty after reading the book. For me this was an unnecessary look into the mind of a deeply traumatized and disturbed youth. If that’s the kind of book you like then I would recommend trying this one but overall I can’t see how there was enough actual plot/content to make this a good read for even the most open-minded of readers.
The bottom line: This book was not one that I personally would recommend. I think its absolutely awful that this is a true story and that someone actually experienced this.
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page