malic's Reviews > A Wolf at the Table

A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
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May 31, 08

bookshelves: memoir, queer-stories
Read in May, 2008

this book is terrifying. it's about a little boy who longs for love from his father, who in return psychologically terrorizes him.

This is Burroughs' third full-length memoir, and it takes place mostly before the time Running With Scissors was written about, with a couple of stories that take place in his adulthood. However, I think I would still recommend reading his books in order of when he wrote them.

A Wolf starts with a melodramatic tone, and then Burroughs jumps into his memories of being a baby. While these memories set the tone of his family life and contrast with the lack of memories he has of his father as a very young child, I didn't quite believe them. His descriptions use too many adjectives that only an adult would understand. However, this part of the book lasts only a short while, and then it gets really good.

Burroughs is a genius at writing from the perspective of a himself as a little boy, with insight from the analysis of an adult. He writes candidly about the physical and emotional abuse from his father, as well as his own love, fear, and anger towards his dad and his never-ending need for approval from him.

Burroughs also writes about growing up as a gender non-conforming boy. While Burroughs never directly never blames his dad's homophobia on their relationship, I could not help but wonder how much it impacted their dynamics. Probably, though, homophobia its self is too simple.

Towards the end of the book, Burroughs writes that the time he lived with his mother's psychologist (Running with Scissors) was the most informative part of his life. I don't believe this at all. I think these first thirteen years of Burroughs'life living with his parents was, which is probably why he could only write this book after the four others.

also, i listened to the audio book which Burroughs narrates and it's so incredible to listen to him tell his own stories.
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