Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroughs Review

Progress on Alternate: 60,207 words

Current Review:

Running With Scissors is probably the most famous book Augusten Burroughs has written. It’s about his teenage years, in which his mother sent him to live with her psychiatrist. In amongst this mess there are crazy descriptions of the unusual Dr. Finch, bizarre moments with Augusten’s mother, but a real, genuine hope.

A lot of people read stuff like this to be able to look and say ‘look, isn’t this WILD?’. I’d advise, for anyone reading, don’t do that with this. Step back, look at yourself, and see some of the smaller things, things that are really being sad with arch humour that masks a lot of suffering. It takes a lot of guts to talk about these things, let alone let the world see them. This is something beyond saying ‘I grew up in this place’ or ‘I had a weird childhood’ or even ‘I experienced abuse’. It’s opening up the minutiae of awful experiences, the odd thoughts, the things that happened actually as they felt for you.

It’s not clinical, or detached, though parts of it are undoubtedly sensationalised. But there’s a reality there.

Despite common opinion, although I like this book I DON’T think it’s Augusten Burroughs’ best work. But that doesn’t stop it from being good, or being interesting. It just means he’s written things that spoke to me, touched me more than this did. And perhaps that’s me. Perhaps that’s because I as a person am so distant from the experiences he had that I COULDN’T feel the same way as I did reading things I’m more familiar with.

-K Hart


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