It has been said that Truman Capote's last book, "Answered Prayers," cost him the friendship of almost everyone he knew at that time in his life, and It has been said that Truman Capote's last book, "Answered Prayers," cost him the friendship of almost everyone he knew at that time in his life, and it has even been speculated that this contributed to his demise. He had mined the personal secrets and character flaws of those around him for literary gold, and most probably embellished as brilliant authors often do. The characters were apparently easily correlated to their real-life counterparts.
And so, things haven't changed all that much. Augusten Burroughs has recently settled a lawsuit with the Turcotte family, referred to as "the Finches," in "Running with Scissors," for defamation, invasion of privacy, and emotional distress. This is due to events in the book claiming that the Turcottes advocated sex between children and adults, Turcotte's wife eating dog food, and the family using an electroshock machine that it stored under the stairs for recreation.
I can honestly say that, If I were a member of the Turcotte household and knew that the events depicted in the book were undeniably false, I would most likely be outraged and choose the same course of action.
That being said.
This is simply one of the most engaging, darkly humorous, and skillfully written books I have read in years. The delusional mother, the unorthodox psychiatrist; every single character jumps off of the page in bizarre, warped technicolor. Hilarious. Horrifying. Difficult to describe.
Skip the movie adaptation, which seems to lack the sense of absurdity in many key places.
Many reviews of this brilliant book perplex me. Some have commented that the action was slow or characters were introduced that didn't contribute enouMany reviews of this brilliant book perplex me. Some have commented that the action was slow or characters were introduced that didn't contribute enough to the overall plot, as if this were supposed to be a fast-paced thriller starring Tom Cruise (further evidence to me that even some readers have fallen prey to a short attention span paradigm). Others comment that it was poor because Jonathan wasn't the ideal of what a gay man should aspire to be in terms of strength of character. Since when has strength of character been a yardstick for great literature?
Michael Cunningham delivered in terms of breathtaking prose and the creation of characters that were alive--not just stereotypes. At the same time, he captured archetypal characteristics in Bobby, Jonathan, and Clare that mirror the faults and strengths of people in our own lives. Fear of abandonment. Fear of death and aging. Fear of responsibility. Hope for a better future.
If you are in the mood for fluff (as we all are sometimes) save this for later. If not, don't miss it. ...more