K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > Running with Scissors: A Memoir

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2156200
's review
Jan 29, 11

bookshelves: gay-lit, memoirs
Read from January 23 to 27, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Augusten Burroughs (born 1965 in Pittsburg as Christopher Robison) was named in 2005 as one, ranked 15, of “The 25 Funniest People in America” by Entertainment Weekly, People and The Guardian.

This memoir of his gay boyhood, “Running With Scissors” came out in 2003. On the same year, Burroughs came out with “Dry” about his experience being alcoholic and “Magical Thinking” a collection of memoir essays. I am not sure if any of these works made him funny to the American people but I guess it must be his first novel, “Sellevision” (2000) which was a comedy fiction that contains themes of greed and obsession and was adapted into a television series.

I did not find this book funny. It is okay though. I admire Burroughs courage to tell his story. There is a controversy that he weaved lies and/or exaggerated the truth about his mother’s psychiatrist. However, there is the so-called poetic licence that writers are entitled to use to make their writings more interesting to their intended readers. That is probably the reason why the court ruled that this book, in its succeeding editions, be called fiction rather than a memoir. Fair enough.

Still saying that you have a neurotic, drug-addict, lesbian mother and you had your first oral and anal sex experiences at the age of 13 are unthinkable for me. He has the intention to shock, I have no doubt about it because he told those sexual experiences like he was in court: detailed and disgusting. I just don't see the point. I read other gay boyhood memoirs like Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story or Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers. Edmund White did not go to details of his homosexual experiences but I was able to emphatize and almost imagine the pain of what some gay boys have to endure to be accepted.

Burroughs is a total reverse of White. Burroughs is proud of being gay and he did not reserve anything for his more "sensitive" readers. The vivid sexual details that he incorporated in the story are so disgusting that I wonder how some of my friends here in Goodreads could rated this 4 or 5 stars. Burroughs knows how to tell a story, I have no issue about that. It's just that I don't find it funny when people wash their dirty too dirty it is almost unwashable lines in public. Respect others and be more tackful please. Or maybe it is my upbringing so to those you enjoyed this book, please excuse my rants.

Let's say we ignore the fact that Burroughs is a homosexual. Don't get me wrong: I am not homophobic. In fact, I have a number of gay (or just gayish) friends and we get along with one another and we can talk anything under the sun. My view in homosexuality is that, one does not need to flaunt it. If you are gay, just be gay and you don't need to tell me. Or if you choose to tell me, it is definitely a non-issue. Just like straight men. We don't flaunt that we are straight. Everything just shows. We all do and get sex but we do not go around and talk about it. Much more to write books about it with descriptions so vivid that gives one the feeling that he/she is reading a homo gay book.

In other words, get past those gay sex parts of this book and you will still find this worth reading. I am just not sure how much of this book is true: my edition still says "a memoir."
9 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Running with Scissors.
sign in »

Reading Progress

01/25/2011 page 201
57.0% "Filthy book about a gay boy. What is the point of having to be so descriptive about his first oral and anal sex. It is so tasteless I want to vomit."

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Pauline This is actually one of my favorite books, for reasons you've enumerated above - opening up this much must have taken a lot of courage for Burroughs, and I love him for that. Granted it is meant to shock its readers, but once I got past that I appreciated it more, maybe because I saw it differently than how most of my friends did: that despite all its oddity and inconvenience, Burroughs's upbringing was normal, at least for him, because it was the only upbringing he knew of and experienced. And I guess writing this book (I don't call it a memoir, though it's not entirely fiction, too) is his way of telling the world, "Hey, this is what made me what I am today. It happened, and I happened, and that's the story."

Oh, and I read Dry too! And A Wolf at the Table. I don't know what it says about me, but I loved all three. I dunno, maybe it's because if you tone down Burroughs' stories by a mile or so, you get mine. :)


K.D. Absolutely maybe it's because if you tone down Burroughs' stories by a mile or so, you get mine. :)

You are not telling me that you're gay, right? :)


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly i think it's poetic LICENCE


K.D. Absolutely Ha ha Thanks. I revised it already!


Pauline K.D. wrote: "You are not telling me that you're gay, right? :)"

OH NO I LIKE BOYS JUST FINE. :)) Haha! It's more of the crazy, oddball household I can relate too. :P

Kuya Doni literal na laugh-out-loud nung nabasa ko reply mo! Hahaha :P


K.D. Absolutely Onga, I was smiling while typing it.
Akala ko talaga, you were trying to insinuate na gay ka. I checked your picture at mukha ka namang girl pero di ba you'll never know and never can tell kasi may mga bading na mukhang girl!


Pauline K.D. wrote: "Onga, I was smiling while typing it.
Akala ko talaga, you were trying to insinuate na gay ka. I checked your picture at mukha ka namang girl pero di ba you'll never know and never can tell kasi ma..."


Kuya Doni wala akong masabi. Seryoso gusto kong gumulong kakatawa sa sagot mo. :)))))


Thomas Our culture absolutely, completely, obsessively encourages straight men to "flaunt" every aspect of their sexuality from childhood on. I would encourage you to re-examine your heterosexual privilege in this regard.


K.D. Absolutely I agree, Thomas. I have long dropped this bias. I was new in Goodreads (and fiction reading) when I had this book. Goodreads (books and friends) has opened my eyes not to be sort of homophobic anymore. I will reread this book someday and change my review accordingly. :)


message 10: by Elise (last edited Oct 18, 2013 11:11AM) (new)

Elise K.D., I was glad to read your last comment as I was about to say something about :
"Still saying that you have a neurotic, drug-addict, lesbian mother"
and I don't really get how same-sex attraction and being neurotic/drug-addict can be compared (tip: if replacing lesbian/gay/bi/trans by female/black/any-other-group-it-is-not-socially-acceptable-anymore-to-discriminate-against makes it sound offensive, then it is offensive).
Your comment made me happy. :)


message 11: by K.D. (new) - rated it 2 stars

K.D. Absolutely Elise, thanks. I did not do that extrapolation but it is very clever.


back to top