Will N Van's Reviews > A Wolf at the Table

A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
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Jul 06, 08

Read in July, 2008

Augusten Burroughs is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and it has always puzzled me a bit regarding the debate as to whether or not the events in "Running With Scissors," and now "A Wolf at the Table," are ultimately word for word truth. Given the corroboration from his older brother who has written his own memoir, I would have to say that there is a good chance that much of what Burroughs writes is based on his actual experiences. I suppose if I were a character mentioned by him and felt that I had been terribly slighted, It would be far more important to me (hence the lawsuit), but what do the best writers do? The embellish. They exaggerate. They often lie. Capote would say the same were he still with us.

A Wolf at the Table is considerably darker than Burrough's most well-known work, describing his perspective of a father who was quite possibly a sociopath. The darkness in him begins to unfold slowly, through alcoholism, emotional neglect and manipulation, and this character study gives light to some of the developments in "Running With Scissors." A cynic might ask such questions as: do we really need another book about a traumatic childhood and a distant and emotionally abusive father? Shouldn't Burroughs just "grow up and get over it already?" Why should we care?

The reason I do care comes down to his writing skill. He is simply brilliant at what he does. The often gorgeous prose, the depth of character development, and the emotional impetus that he conveys puts him in this category in my opinion. So much so, that I could care less if he actually remembers sitting in his high-chair at age two, staring through the holes in a saltine cracker.

It doesn't have to be true to be great writing.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Emma Louise oh his brother wrote a memoir too? would you happen to know what its called?

message 2: by Brittne (new)

Brittne I know it's months later, but in case you haven't gotten an answer yet, it's called "Look Me In The Eye."

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