Margot's Reviews > Running with Scissors: A Memoir

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
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's review
Aug 27, 10

bookshelves: 2010, audio-books, memoir, humorous
Read from August 08 to 24, 2010

I'll start by saying it has been very interesting reading all the negative reviews on this book, here on Goodreads. One of the biggest problems people have with it is that it is frequently classified as humor. I classified it as humor, as well, before even reading it. And, from my view, the classification still stands. The book made me laugh out loud in places--that means it's humorous.

The pseudo-memoir (Burroughs was sued for defamation by his foster-family for some not-so-accurate events and family practices depicted in the book) follows young Augusten through his adolescent when his mentally unstable mother fobs him off on her psychiatrist, who holds some very unorthodox views on parenting, anger, and life in general. Augusten is eventually adopted by Dr. Finch (taking in strays is a common practice for the Finch family), has a relationship with his thirty-year-old brother-by-adoption, and spends much of his time rebelling against authority with Dr. Finch's daughter Natalie.

The one downfall of the memoir, for me, was that Burroughs failed to introduce a strong story-arch into the narrative. This is a challenge with memoir, but has been done quite successfully in all of the other memoirs I've read recently. Since I was listening to this story, rather than reading it, I couldn't look at how many pages I had left to know that I was nearing the end. The story just suddenly started wrapping up and then Poof! it was abruptly over, and I was left surprised and just the teensiest bit dissatisfied.

Lastly, I should say that Running with Scissors is not for the faint of heart. Read from the right perspective, it can fascinate and entertain you, as well as make you feel a lot better about your own life ("Wow, I'm so normal!"). Read in the wrong state of mind, it can apparently make one very depressed and appalled. But I say, what's the big deal?! Burroughs obviously came out of his troubled childhood okay. He went on to become a talented and succesful writer. Yes, he probably has a few residual issues, but who doesn't?

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