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Big Table 1. Spring 1959 Paperback

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001F7A3GI
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K-Pax on 22 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Augusten Burroughs' books are synonymous with laugh-out-loud humour, self-analysis and a life so off-the-wall, they're barely believable. Having read all of his books, I couldn't wait to read his latest offering. However, while I found the book absorbing, it makes for a rather discomfitting read. Without giving the plot away, Burroughs takes us back to his childhood, when he lived with both his mother and father. Here was a childhood bereft of paternal love but moreover the book portrays a malevolent father who clearly suffered worsening mental health. This unfortunately manifested itself in some awful behaviour displayed by Burroughs' father and we are witness to a chain of events through the author's childhood. The book is clearly a catharsis for Burroughs but still has some humour blended throughout as he tries to make sense of his upbringing. Brave, poignant and at times quite disturbing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rabbitrabbit on 12 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This could be dismissed as just another tragic life story. And if you expect it to be as light and self mocking as his previous books, all of which I've read, you will be disappointed. But it is the sheer magic of his writing that moves me. If writing is communicating then for me he does it in spades. Small birds have eyes "like little seeds" and when a young friend disappears from his group in a crowd, the three remaining hunt for him frantically like "ballerinas on their individual music boxes". It is the story of his relationship, or lack of, from his cold father living in his dysfunctional family. It's not much of a giggle. The final scene, when, in adulthood, he witnessed the love a father feels for his son first hand moved me so much I could not describe it to a friend without breakding down. I don't care whether this is true or not; that hardly matters. It's not what he says but how he says it. I've tried to read two books since and tossed them aside. He's a mighty hard act to follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. S. Biddulph on 22 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this book with "Magical Thinking" and "Running with Scissors" already under my belt. I liked the first but loved the second and was looking forward to more of the same in "A Wolf at the Table". But I've been left disappointed. Somehow Burroughs never get into his stride in this memoir. The book takes a while to warm-up and then it peters out with no pith in the middle. "Running with Scissors" is a gourmet feast. "A Wolf at the Table" leaves you hungry. Burroughs portrait of his father is disturbing, but it's barely believeable as he is too one-dimensional. He's painted as a baddie in every sense with no redeeming features or any humanity. It's just too obvious to be true, from his scaly, red-raw body to his ability to kill family pets. Normally Burroughs's characters are flawed and layered, lapsing from sanity to madness and you come along for the ride. This one merely plods. The book fills in a few gaps and answers a few questions left bare in "Running with Scissor", but overall it's not Burroughs at his best.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on 5 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Augusten Burroughs' books. Because he is so brutally honest, it's easy to feel as if you know him when you read him. I've felt that way-- as he shares so much and obviously grows emotionally with each book. He had one of the most horrible childhoods imaginable, yet recounts those incidents with an acerbic sense of humor. As readers, we laugh-- but we laugh at the absurdity of the situation. The situation itself was often not quite as funny. It's almost amazing Burroughs survived many of the events he lived through. Another reviewer stated that he survived 'unscathed'. I wouldn't really agree-- I think he survived with some deep emotional scars. Yet, these scars haven't prevented him from managing to work through these issues to lead a worthwhile and loving life. Most people would be permanently damaged-- Augusten Burroughs is truly an incredible and insightful and lucky human being.

It seems as if only the other day I read Burroughs' last book, Possible Side Effects. Yet, I just discovered this book was published and immediately ordered it. I received it this afternoon and finished it this evening.

Not having read any of the reviews at all, I wasn't sure what to expect but I immediately noticed that this book was entirely different from all his previous books. This is an incredible memoir of living with a sociopathic parent. In his past books, he talks about his mother's mental illness, but glosses over his father's. If you read this, you can understand why. He had to be ready to write this. I imagine that writing this book must have been unimaginably painful. Some people would have NEVER been ready to write this. Consequently, it would have been impossible to really mention these events in other books without then devoting the entire book to the father.
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By Happyface on 30 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first found Burroughs through Running with Scissors, which is laugh out loud funny. His early life is dysfunctional, and the subject matter is dark, but the characters are described in a way that makes it easy to swallow. So I felt like I knew boy Augusten a little bit, a smart mouthed kid who somehow rode the crest of the crazy people he lived with. And then I read Dry and some of his essays, and then I found this. And it is unutterably, beautifully, dreadfully, horribly sad. Augusten is a little boy prey to the Big Bad Wolf, who he loves, and who constantly rejects him and who, as the book progresses, becomes more malevolent and scary (without actually doing anything obviously, legally vile).

I have children, and I have to say I have been a little kinder since I read this book. It is told so well from the child's perspective, how being too tired, too old and too bored can seem to your kid. I wanted to fix it for Augusten in a way I didn't with the other books, and am only glad I read some of his essays to know that he seems to be OK now.

So to summarise, not a laugh a minute, but gripping and worth reading.
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