K.'s Reviews > Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
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Sep 26, 2007

did not like it

I know the family, I know the ego-crazed and self-indulgent overgrown baby who wrote this book, and I find it not only sloppily written but vicious and hate-filled. It's a mother-bashing, lesbian-bashing, lying heap of crap. You can see I am worked up about it. I wouldn't mind if it were called a novel (which it is). I only object to its being called a "memoir." Read instead Jackie Leyden's beautiful hymn to the mixed blessings of growing up with a mother who had bipolar disorder, DAUGHTER OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA. There is absolutely no comparison between "Burroughs" as he calls himself and David Sedaris. Sedaris writes from joy. "Burroughs" writes from hatred.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin Thanks for this review! I've been getting SO MUCH BACKLASH for my criticism of Burroughs that I thought I was the crazy one!
It seems to be a Goodreads crime to hate this book, but I'm glad there are other people with taste out there!


message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark I believe I saw a movie version of this book. Probably the book is better but the movie was great! I need to read this book..


message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin No, Mark, trust me, you do not need to read Running with Scissors. It looks like you are into spiritual and cathartic books, and Burroughs' disgusting writing is NOT redeeming. Listen to K. (above) and don't waste your time on this when there are so many transcendent works to be read!


message 4: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I don't see why the book is "lesbian-bashing." I don't think that Burroughs ever argues that his mother's lesbianism is the main problem - it's her mental illness and inability to parent. And it's not like the heterosexual characters are portrayed positively either. I have no idea whether this book is accurate or not, but I don't think it's lesbian-bashing at all.


message 5: by K. (new) - rated it 1 star

K. Hi Rachel. I thought his horror and ridicule at finding his mother with a woman was a real bashing kind of thing. But maybe I'm overreacting because I'm one of the women he found her with.


message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Wow...so you really have an insider's view of the story. So obviously you didn't like him or his story...but did you think his telling of the events was accurate? I know there has been a lot of controversy over this.
I still didn't think the book was lesbian-bashing at all. I think anyone would be horrified to catch their mother engaged in oral sex - regardless of whether the other person was male or female. It would just be incredibly shocking and embarrassing to catch one's parent "in the act." And it sounds like it was an extra shock because he had no idea his mother was into women before this happened. But to me it didn't sound like he was saying anything derogatory about lesbians in particular.
I also didn't feel like he was really bashing his mother. It sounded to me like he was understandably angry that she wasn't there for him, but that part of him understood that she was truly mentally ill and taken advantage of by an unscrupulous, incompetent psychiatrist.
I'd be fascinated to hear what you thought of Burroughs and his family. I find the whole story, and the controversy surrounding it, absolutely fascinating.


message 7: by K. (new) - rated it 1 star

K. His mother has a contract for her memoir now. Read that when it comes out, and then see what you think. Reality of course is infinitely subjective. I didn't think anything he said or portrayed was accurate, but it's not my story. It's his. He has the right to tell his story the way he experienced it. I just wish he'd called it an autobiographical novel, which it is, and not a "memoir." Please don't assume he found what he said he found, or knew as little before hand as he said he knew. Please don't assume the whole scene he painted in the novel happened as he said it happened. Just bear in mind that every word of this is his story. And it's a STORY. The way he tells it was calculated to sell the book and then calculated to sell a movie. My opinion is that much of his telling is commercial. I heard him on the radio swearing that every word was true. True to whose experience? His only. If he would just say that, I wouldn't be so pissed off. But Margaret's story will be told now. That's what I hoped would happen. Read that.


message 8: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I definitely plan to read his mother's book when it comes out. As I said, I find the whole story fascinating. But I have no idea how much of the story is true and how much is fabricated or imagined. In any case, I really look forward to reading his mother's side of the story.


Gabi Do you know when the book will be out?


Megan Van She did do an interview on NPR and I thought she acted according to character. She seemed more interested in telling her story, sharing her poetry, than considering the effects of her lifestyle on her son. My mother had narcissistic personality disorder and I could totally relate to Burroughs as he tried to find his childhood in his mother's fantasy life.
No offense K.


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