So. I haven’t written in a while. I feel kinda bad. No quotes for two weeks (to come later today), no updates on the books I’ve been reading or what I’ve been up to, if that’s vaguely interesting at all. So I have been busy. And I haven’t written. And now I’m going to make up for it.
Here we are. In the gap, I tried reading more of Emma and then got caught up with another book. Because we’d taken a trip to one of my favorite book stores, and I always do that when we make our trips there. That book this time? Augusten Burrough’s memoir Running With Scissors.
I had originally heard of this book while reading a New York Times article about writing personal essays for college admissions. The quote was, “What do they expect, Running With Scissors?”. So I was a little curious. But I am not any more. Not at ALL. I would say this book falls into the category of “Very Strange Books I’ve Read.” That category also includes I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, Tallullah Falls by Christine Fletcher, and the infamous (in my mind) Notes from the Underground by Fydor Dostoevsky. They are very, very strange. Hence the title of the category.
The premise of the memoir is this: Imagine a nine- or ten-year-old boy with fighting parents. Imagine that the mother is kind of crazy and mentally ill. The parents split, the kid is living with the crazy mom. The mom is seeing this psychiatrist, and he, along with the premises of his work and family, are pretty insane as well. And then, when the kid reaches about age twelve, his mother decides to make her psychiatrist the guardian of the boy, Augusten. So he grows up with this psychiatrist.
This makes it sound moderately mundane. However, the book is bonkers. It is bonkers. It just has this bubble floating above it for me, one reading “HUH???”. It scares me a little bit. I don’t like what happened, and I don’t like reading about it especially. Sure, it’s really funny at parts, but sometimes it’s so vulgar and disgusting.
So I’m giving it two and a half stars. Out of five, that is.
Read this book to look for the humor in certain spots, considering that it was real. The best funny part for me was the conversation with Natalie where she said that Augusten should write about what was going on, and he said that even if he did, no one would believe it. And it’s true. So read this book for the moments like that. Read it to connect with other books. Read it to experience Burroughs’ awesome use of the senses- including emotion; which, while confusing at parts, is extremely honest . But I wouldn’t encourage reading it for life lessons, except for that you shouldn’t give your kid away to your psychiatrist.