Just wrapped up reading Running With Scissors, written by Augusten Burroughs, and I have to say… WHAT A WILD RIDE. Seriously, the entire book (an autobiography, mind you) is heart-breakingly tragic. I knew, from the synopsis and from reading Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison- his biological brother, that this book was messed up… but honestly, I didn’t think I would be so sad for Burroughs.
Here is the break down of why this book was sad… From the beginning you realize that Burroughs truly is just a kid that is starved for attention. He was so starved, he desperately tried to be as identical to his mother as possible, just so she would pay attention to him. Otherwise, she was too focused on herself to care for her own child… not only that, but his father wasn’t there at all for him. His parents prevented him from ever having a normal upbringing when all they did was fight and insult each other. To me, that is the saddest act a parent can unknowingly commit.
Eventually, we are introduced to his mother’s psychiatrist (& his family), Dr. Finch. As his mother falls further and further down a rabbit hole, Burroughs is left on his own (I should mention, he is under the age of 14) at the Finchs’ disgusting, putrid home. The house was written to sound uninhabitable. It should have been condemned. The rest of his book are the occurrences from within the house… & really, talk about nutty….
I’m so astonished that Dr. Finch was able to get his license. Literally, a man that thinks God speaks with him through his own SHIT got a medical degree. What in the actual hell. I find it so incredibly sad that there are people that are out there currently like Dr. Finch who abuse their positions and take advantage of others. This dude was pimping out his kids, for goodness sake… How there was NOT any issues with CPS back then, I have no idea… but for Burroughs, it was tragic miss. Him coming in contact with Bookman and not having someone around to teach him what real love was made me so sad. It’s appalling that the good Dr. knew what Bookman was and never stood up for Burroughs, or any of his own kids. It’s just not right… and it’s just not fair.
The numbness that Burroughs felt throughout the book was alarming. I’m so interested to see what he is like in person, as an adult. I’m sure that the years spent enduring that weirdness had an effect, but Burroughs writes about it with such nonchalance. I can’t help but wonder if he has grasped all that happened and what true wrongness and injustice was done to him. If he has, his coping skills are spectacular. I suppose, any way you bend it, his coping skills are spectacular.
Alright- Here is a bitch I have that has nothing to do with the book. I Google the books I read to make sure I spell the titles correctly before I post. When I did that for this book, I saw a movie release from 2006. I am SO pissed that they cast Evan Rachel Wood as Natalie. Can we take a minute and be mad that HOLLYWOOD CAN’T JUST LET A CHARACTER BE FAT??? How many times during the book did Burroughs talk about Natalie’s size?? Even she talks about her fat ass… EVEN AGNES TALKS ABOUT IT. And yet, the movie has a tall, skinny ass/pretty face model-looking actress. I’m so beyond mad about it.
Also, I’m super uncomfortable that they made this book a movie…. since there are multiple rape happenings in the book (with Burroughs and his adult lover… with Burroughs’ mother, Deirdre.. with one of the Finch girls being given to another man for “marriage”). The whole book was a madhouse and gross, and full of perverted happenings.. How someone read it and thought big screen is beyond me.
Originally, this book reminded me of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, since both books feature mentally unstable parents.. Walls did a better job at the end of the book getting out of the crazy and separating her life from that of her out of control parents. I can tell, by the way Burroughs left the end of this novel, that he isn’t quiet done with his crazy shenanigans. (I should add that The Glass Castle made me feel like a bad human because, during multiple parts of that story, I wanted something crazy to happen- forgetting that it was an autobiography about a young girls *actual* life…. Burroughs definitely did not leave the effect with any of his readers – this I am sure….). Walls also did a better job at humanizing the mental instabilities. Burroughs just retells the tales, noting the craziness of the situations, but never really empathizing (in my opinion, anyway…)
Yes, I know comparing these two novels, written by two completely different people at different points in their lives, who experienced different traumas, is not necessarily fair or right. It’s just where my mind went to when I read it.
Anyway- so you ask me “Lorann, should I purchase this book for my home collection?”… I would suggest that you rent it first. Get a feel for the book and decide for yourself if you want it to sit on your selves. To me, the book was interesting, but not enough so that I will purchase my own copy.. you may be different though! Did you love this book??