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on July 16, 2016
Not sure how this became a New York Times best seller, but it does have its moments of brilliant humour from the depths of childhood neglect. That Augusten Burroughs survived his mothers care, and having been passed on to that of her eccentric shrink is kind of a miracle. At times shocking, repellant, horrific, the authors childhood and his attitude towards his situation is compelling. However, one problem with this book, which is probably a form of therapy for him, is that there is no progress, no revelation, no healing. Half way into the book, the reader realizes that this list of abuse and bizarre people is just going to go on and on without let up. No escape, no maturity, no blame, and no analysis. It is as though he is trying to shock us with yet something more bizarre, such as the holy turds his doctor/guardian interrupts for meaning each day.
Mr Burroughs is alive and apparently well. Somewhere he attained the strength and character to get past an upbringing that would have institutionalized most people for life. I salute his achievement.
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on February 4, 2016
If you like David Sedaris, you'll love this book. This book is a sometimes horrifying account of childhood/adolescence- the narrator is a survivor who somehow seems to make progress in an absurd reality. For those of us who had parents who danced on the edge of strangeness of the sixties and seventies, this story is the bizarre extension of what doors could have been opened.
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on November 28, 2007
Frankly, I don't know how this was on the bestseller list. I liked it well enough, but the subject matter is pretty "out there," if you know what I mean. And some of the sections are graphic. But overall this was a VERY entertaining book. While the sections on homosexuality and especially those dealing with an underage male may bring some to shut the book's covers, others, dealing with the electroshock therapy machine, Burrough's totally wacked out mother, and the psychiatrist from hell will cause you to laugh out loud. Parts are truly sad, and some sections reek of insanity themselves, but RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, whether you like it or not, is not going to be even remotely like anything else you've read in . . . well, ever. I also enjoyed the book "Katzenjammer" by McCrae for another strange read. If you liked RUNNING, then you'll like "Katz."
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on January 8, 2007
Three books that you MUST read are these: ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY, MIDDLESEX, and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Now, that said, you need to be warned about all three since they are NOT what you'd normally find on the bestseller list. RUNNING is by far the most bizarre, and the homosexuality in it may turn some off, not because of the alternative lifestyle, but because of the age difference in the two characters. But if you think that's disturbing, wait until you get a load out of the doctor who "adopts" poor Augusten. The house he gets placed in is one completely loony bin, and some of the characters, while unbelievable, still ring true within the context that Burroughs places them. My only complaint with this book, and hence the lack of a five star rating, is that some of the more interesting characters weren't given more page time. Other than that, it's probably the oddest book I've ever read--a good break from classical fiction. Also would highly recommend ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY as it is TOTALLY funny without being too deranged.
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on February 2, 2004
This book may be for you. If you're easily offended by graphic depictions of gay sex, abuse, bodily functions & mental disorders, I'd advise you to stay away. You'll be more horrified than amused.
A good friend bought my this book as part of a package of things that reminded him of me. I'm so glad he did. My childhood feels positively normal compared to this boy's.
This ia a graphic, hilariously dark tale of child abuse, neglect, addictions, craziness, homosexuality, and of surviving. There were parts of the book I was appalled at, parts I empathized with, and parts that I couldn't read because I couldn't quit laughing.
However, if you can see past the surface of things, you may just empathize a bit with this confused, bright, resiliant, neglected & abused boy.
There were chapters that horrified me when I realized that these things actually happened. On the flip side, there were scenes that had my laughing hysterically. His obsession with his & everyone's elses hair, and the episodes of the dying cat, and the many messages from God are both disturbing and funny.
If a young boy could survive & thrive after living though this hopefully untypical childhood, it gives me hope that things may work out ok after all. I can't wait to see what happens next.
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on January 15, 2003
I chose this book because the description was very intriguing - a true story about boy who has a psycho-mother and is sent to live with her psychiatrist. Narcotics are eaten like Pez. The kids play with the old electroshock therapy machine under the stairs. There's a strange pedophile who lives in a shack out behind the house. Sounds like the ingredients for an interesting story, no?
Well, I learned early on that this book has more detail than I care to read about. This would be slightly more forgivable if the characters were first developed, yet the author didn't take time to do that. Instead, he launches into descriptions that sound like they're the efforts of an amateur creative writing student. I didn't like the author's description that his mother's words all sound like they've gone through a curling iron. I don't want to read about a toddler's bobbing genitalia and how he tugs at it before he squats under the piano and defecates. I don't care to read about how the author regularly reads his morning excrement in the toilet like one would read his fortune from tea leaves.
Unnecessary, unrestrained use of detail and shock, regardless of how true, dosn't necessarily make a work better. This author evidently isn't aware of this fact.
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on January 25, 2009
I had never heard of this book untill a classmate of mine had introduced it to me.I really enjoy books about real life and what people have experienced. When I picked up Running with Scissors I could NOT put it down!

This book is the biography of Augusten Burroughs childhood. As a child Augusten was very lonely. His father was an alcoholic and his mother was an insane poet, frantic to become famous. They fought constantly, up to the point where they went to a therapist named Dr.Finch. When Augustens father wouldn't participate, he abandoned them, leaving just him and his mother.

I found it amazing that Augusten was capable of staying sane throughout the first 16 or so years of his life. Anytime that it seems Augusten is being irrational is explained with reasoning later on. Running with Scissors is a book filled with twists and turns that force you to keep reading. Even while i read abourt the saddest moments of his life i would smile because of the humor he adds into the situation.

It is amazing how funny and addictive this book is. But don`t take it from me, read it yourself and find out!!
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on January 3, 2005
Memoirs or memoir-style books are now all the rage. And most manage to turn that genre on its pretty little head. Books such as Tatum O'Neil's "A Paper Life" and even the shocking and gorgeous "The Children's Corner" by McCrae. But Augusten Burroughs has a special place in the memoir section. This guy has really been through a little everything and the fact that he's survived to write about it, albeit humorously, is just a plain miracle. The fact that he's survived to write ANYTHING is remarkable, much less something as funny, powerful, harrowing, and real as RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. This is my first Boroughs book, but it certainly won't be my last.
I would also recommend two other books that are remarkable in the stories they have to tell. Tatum's A PAPER LIFE is a little more grounded but not as hysterical as this book, and the shocking and hilarious THE CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae--extremely well written and guaranteed to drop your jaw. Cheers!
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on February 14, 2007
Our book club is known for picking a little of this, a little of that. But recently we seemed to have a theme going. We picked three books ("Lullaby" by Palahniuk, "Katzenjammer" by McCrae), and finally "Running With Scissors by Burroughs. All three were in the category "out there" but we enjoyed each and everyone. My only complaint with Running was that some of the "themes" didn't seem to so anywhere. I would have liked to seee the electroshock machine actually shock someone, and one of the the wackos who lived upstairs was one of the more memorable characters; yet she never really developed into the story line. Still, I imagine that most have seen the movie now and are buying the book for this reason. It was an interesting read and if you like something really new and edgy, this would be the book.
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on July 12, 2004
Ok. There are some shocking scenes in this book. But it's good. Isn't that what counts? This is a book about relationships. There is Augusten's relationship with his increasingly crazed, would-be-poet, lesbian mother. There is Augusten's relationship with his increasingly crazed, pedophile boyfriend. There is Augusten's relationship with his increasingly crazed, perscription drug addicted psychologist turned guardian. If you enjoyed "My Fractured Life" (Rikki Lee Travolta) and that kind of frank but humored presentation of tainted relationships and off balance nature, you will love "Running With Scissors." In the words of Bill Cosby, 'if you're not careful, you just might learn something.'
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