Sunday, June 01, 2008

Book review: Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs

Among the stranger books I've read, it still can't possibly as strange and surreal as living it must have been. It's actually a well-told story, a memoir of Burroughs' childhood with his manic-depressive, narcissistic mother, who eventually deposits him with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, a man with his own problems.

Although understandably displaying some obsessive tendencies of his own, Augusten quickly assimilates into the dangerously strange Finch family, learning to the ignore the filth, the "healthy displays of anger" and offers of kibble as snack food. At 13 the good doctor pronounced him an adult, and so no one objected to his affair with a 35-year-old man, another former patient of doctor's. Patients tend to be regular boarders in the Finch household, sometimes for years.

Burroughs has a good storytelling style, allowing us to see both the humor and the pathos of his situation without ever sounding bitter. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's definitely a good read.

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