Books I Loathed discussion

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Loathed Titles > Running with Scissors

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I knew nothing about the storyline, and I expected it to be disturbing, but I didn't expect that I would finally say I had enough and not finish it, which is something I never do. In the first chapter, I got a real kick out of the references to "Jean Nate", "Dippity Do" and "psychedelic Pucci dress" and "olive green Princess telephone" as I grew up around all that. That was the end of the humor - for starters, his parents never should have had children. By the School Daze chapter the mother signs over guardianship to the wacky Dr. Finch and his even wackier and disgusting family - they live in squalor and filth. The explicit sex scenes are not necessary and do nothing to enhance the story. Then we get to read how Dr. Finch used his bowel movements to determine his financial future (and made everyone else gather round the toilet bowl as well.) It's disgusting. I decided to "throw the book against the wall" when I got to the chapter entitled Here Kitty Kitty and just couldn't even begin that chapter. It blows me away that this was a bestseller and I don't know why anyone would want to share this story with the world. UGH!


message 2: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Yeah, I feel bad for Burroughs that he lived this, but why did he make me live it too? It made me feel depressed about the state of humanity.


message 3: by Stephanie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Stephanie | 4 comments Is it really that bad? It's on my to-read list and now I'm thinking maybe it shouldn't be.


message 4: by Meredith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Meredith Watson I saw the movie and didnt care for it at all. Wasted 2 hours on the movie, wont waste any more on the book!


message 5: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Stephanie - there are so many wonderful books in the world to read....i'd think you can skip this one.


message 6: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Jessica Gawker.com reports today on Augusten Burroughs' settlement with the family:

http://gawker.com/news/fictions/augus...


message 7: by Teri (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Teri G (teri_g) Ugh, horrible, horrible book. The first chapter started out rather funny in a warped and twisted sort of way. I was curious to see where it would go, but the subsequent chapters were even more warped and twisted, and I could no longer see the funny. After a couple of chapters, I decided to flip through and read a few pages here and there to see if it was worth it ... nope. In fact it got even worse. Reading this book actually made me feel sick to my stomach -- and that's hard to do.


message 8: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Jessica - thank you for sharing this link!


message 9: by Carol (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Carol | 8 comments I liked the book, but didn't like the movie AT ALL.


message 10: by Jessica (thebluestocking) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) I listened to this book on tape. I HATED IT. My husband and I picked it up expecting something along the lines of memoirist/comedian David Sedaris. Unfortunately, the "humor" of this book was completely lost on me. It was more like a tragic tale of horrible abuse. It was unpleasant on an extreme scale. I would never recommend this book to anyone. In fact, I will probably never read (or listen to) anything else by Augusten Burroughs again.


message 11: by Hardcover (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:24PM) (new)

Hardcover Hearts (hardcoverhearts) | 3 comments Is it just me, or did you expect a revelation at some point about the doctor trying to molest him? I kept expecting it, and then being more disturbed when it didn't materialize. I remember when the James Frye controversy broke with "A Million Little Pieces" that I thought immediately that the issue was with this book being inauthentic, not even thinking it was a different book. I guess I just didn't believe it.


message 12: by Elaine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Elaine (urbanbamboo) | 7 comments Thank god, I thought I was the only one who hated the film. It was gimmicky with all its overly quirky characters, and so many other coming-of-age stories are more intelligent and heartfelt/genuine. Was going to read the book before I saw the movie; glad I didn't.


message 13: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) That's funny BlueBard, because I was going to see the film before I read the book. same sentiments, glad i didn't.


message 14: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:39PM) (new)

John | 8 comments I listened to the audiobook, which wasn't so bad, although I found the story rather far-fetched. HOWEVER ... I later learned that I had accidentally ripped the library CD's of the unabridged book "wrong" so that parts of the story were omitted. A friend who'd recently read it asked me what I thought of a couple of the more graphic scenes, which left me quite confused. I still don't know exactly what happened; I had all, or at least parts, of each disc, copied, enough so that I didn't pick up on any "holes" in the plot.
I liked the sequel "Dry" much better, but couldn't get far with either of Augusten's two essay compilations.


message 15: by Linda B (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:39PM) (new)

Linda B | 4 comments I thought it was a fascinating read. A little disguisting at times to listen to (esp. the sex scene with his brother) but great insights into a dysfunctional family


message 16: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 15 comments The humor in Running with Scissors is very dark humor which doesn't appeal to everyone. During a television interview Burroughs stated that he intended the book to be funny.I think that in writing the book Burroughs relied heavily on the shock value of the story. It is sensational and does seem far fetched. After reading the book I thought that if even half of it were true, Burroughs deserves credit for having survived his childhood.That being said, I enjoyed the fluffy read but I was very dissappointed in the movie with its all-star cast.


message 17: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I think dark humor can be deliverd with more tact than it was in Running with Scissors. My biggest problem with Running with Scissors was the overly descriptive way in which he described, in particular, the sex scenes. I didn't need to hear every sordid detail.


message 18: by Ellenjsmellen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Ellenjsmellen | 1 comments Not only did I hate this book, but I hate myself for even giving the movie a chance. I also did not finish this. I'd rather slit my wrists with a rusty razor than read another book like this one.


message 19: by Jan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Jan | 5 comments This book made my skin crawl. Eeeuuuw.


message 20: by Summer Rae (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Summer Rae Garcia | 45 comments I loved this book so much that I read it in one day and followed it up with all his others. The movie was so-so. My mother was an insane poet/painter, so maybe I could identify, but I adored it.


message 21: by Nikki (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Nikki Boisture I really liked this book too. I think Augusten Burroughs has a knack for writing about something horrid in a matter-of-fact but somewhat flippant tone which really appealed to me. I went to a book signing of his when he published Magical Thinking and he's a great story teller in person.

If you want a lighter side of his family, check out his (biological) brother's book, Look Me in the Eye, about him growing up with Asperger's Syndrome. I think his name is John Robison. It might be more up the alley for those of you who were squeamish about the graphic descriptions of his life!

As far as the movie...I was so looking forward to it, but it got dreadful reviews, so I decided to skip it!


message 22: by Summer (new)

Summer | 28 comments I loathed Running with Scissors, but that is some useful information, Nikki. I will check out Look Me in the Eye.


message 23: by Bobby (new)

Bobby | 1 comments I love dark humor... done well. This was not done well. It seemed kind of cliched or like it was saying that it was worthy of your attention, when really it wasn't.


message 24: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I agree, Bobby, dark humor done well - for example War of the Roses (movie version with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner).



message 25: by Mollie (new)

Mollie | 1 comments Anyone who enjoys this book severely sick and twisted.


message 26: by Summer (last edited Jul 10, 2008 05:00AM) (new)

Summer | 28 comments I recently saw a family member had borrowed this out from the library, and I warned her. She hadn't read it yet and I felt much satisfaction from rescuing her.


message 27: by Judy (last edited Jul 14, 2008 08:41AM) (new)

Judy (judy5cents) | 26 comments I just finished the book and I was impressed by Burroughs's detailed description of life in the seventies and eighties, like the Vidal Sassoon tag line "If you don't look good, we don't look good." But it's not funny, it's sad and disturbing.

I kept thinking "Where are the grown-ups? Why aren't there neighbors or teachers or even a passing stranger out there who reports these people?" The sexual relationship he had with Bookman can't be considered anything but child molesting (Augsten is 13, Bookman is 33) and he just passes it off as life with the Finches. It's still a serious crime and I would expect that it still could be prosecuted.

I'd be interested to find out what the Turcotte family's version of these events was. I wonder if they've been asked to write their own counter memoir. I'd read it.


message 28: by Autumn (new)

Autumn (audibella) | 1 comments I found the book enjoyable and I have read it several times. I enjoyed the dark humor. Anyone who can take such a twisted childhood and make someone else laugh has a great talent.


message 29: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 4 comments Dang...this book has been on my "to-do" list for quite some time. I am surprised so many people didn't like it, and not just like it-but HATE it! Thanks all-wont waste my time now. Don't need to read that kind of crap...


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 2 comments We have a bookshare at my work and this was on the shelf. I have always been intrigued by the humorous title and a reviewer's comparison to David Sedaris. It started out funny and disingenuous but, for me, descended into some of the most depressing stuff I've read, and I have read some of Oprah's recommended books. I did make it thru to the end because I was really intrigued, but it just left me feel uncomfortable and unclean. Not even *close* to Sedaris, whose writing is some of the most enjoyable I have read.


message 31: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) hi everyone - i haven't checked in on this for a long time (obviously) and was so happy to read the posts by Mollie and Summer(loved Summer's reference to "rescuing" someone from reading it). I quite agree with Judy's second paragraph posting. I'm glad that we "rescued" Sheri from reading the book too.


message 32: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments Srea: Have you read "The Glass Castle?"


message 33: by Chandani (new)

Chandani  (milkduds920) oo i wanna read that book


message 34: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments It was really fun. Also, if you google Jeanette Walls, you can read her post mocking the very secretive yet incredibly strict dress code at Victoria's Secret. Apparently they were rather irritated with her for letting it out.


message 35: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Unlike Running with Scissors, I thought Glass Castle was a wonderful book; I'd strongly recommend it. A tastefully written memoir of a less than perfect childhood. A real page turner, too, I might add.


message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (yardbyrdster) I totally agree with Diane. I like both books but I think the Glass Castle is a much better book. I was scared reading Scissors for fear of what I would encounter. I did enjoy that Scissors was set in Northampton, MA because I went to college there. I think that is the major reason I picked it up.


message 37: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments Well, some time has elapsed since I read RWS, but I have retained a really squeamish response. It's dry/shell-shocked tone is humorous, but the squalor and lack of responsibility are very oppressive. I think the best part of reading this book is then reading Jason Pettus' review (posted with his books; it should be transported here!), which is hilarious and apt. I printed it out and tucked it in the book, but I don't think I'll read the book again.

I also think I might check out Look Me In The Eye, perhaps searching for evidence that A. Burroughs made a bunch of it up. See message 12: I too thought of the whole James Frey drama.


message 38: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 16 comments I'd like to add a metaphorically orgasmic "YES!" to my represent my agreement regarding this book's inclusion in the "Loathed Titles" series.


message 39: by Tara (new)

Tara (emerging) | 5 comments Loved this book. Thought it was real, raw, unapologetic. Of course, I have a lot of mentally ill people in my family, so I can relate.

Also, the movie is a big hot mess. Just horrible.


message 40: by Terry (new)

Terry | 10 comments This is the ONLY book I have had to jump to the end to see if certain things happened....before I allowed myself to finish it....I am still sorry I finished it....if I didn't love reading so much I would poke my eyes out....wait....there's always books on tape!!! I fell for the promotion of this as a 'wacky story of a kid growing up in a dysfunctional household'..... I don't find child molestation to be 'whimisical'....I find it almost MORE horrifying that the victim wrote about it in the way he did. If it had been a revelatory, cathartic memoir, it might have had some redeeming value. As it is, I was repulsed....repulsed, I say! ....and I'm a licensed clinical social worker....perhaps psychologists have a different, more informed view of life!


message 41: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hey Terry, If I had to use one word to sum up my thoughts on RWS, I think repulsed is the perfect word.


message 42: by Terry (new)

Terry | 10 comments Diane D. wrote: "Hey Terry, If I had to use one word to sum up my thoughts on RWS, I think repulsed is the perfect word."

Thanks, Diane, it STILL haunts me! Needless to say, I couldn't/wouldn't go see the movie. Just thinking about the book makes me feel traumatized. I'm a great believer in the power of the written word and the ability of an author to evoke an emotion...good, bad, or...I suppose, neutral. Clockwork Orange was such a story. There are other books and some movies which similarly pushed and pulled me to extreme emotions....but I have my limits...my boundaries, my tastes and preferences....'repulsion' is a bit beyond my 'tastes'....thanks for the vindication!


message 43: by Diane (last edited Nov 21, 2009 12:36PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Terry, the only good thing about it was that someone loaned me the book and I hadn't spent money on buying it!! (notice I did not say a 'friend' loaned it to me :) ... this person then told me to pass it on to a co-worker and I told her I would not pass this book on to anyone!


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