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106 Reviews
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cut Above
Ths book was recommended to me by a friend in America and I snapped it up as soon as it became available over here. My friend said I wouldn't be able to put it down. She was right. I read the entire thing in one sitting.
The story recounts five years in the life of Augusten Burroughs. His mother, being crazy, gives up her son into the care of her psychiatrist, and...
Published on 28 Feb. 2003 by Luanne

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting not hilarious
This is a very adult book about childhood, you have to keep reminding yourself that throughout this period of his life the writer was a young boy / teenager. I love quirky but did not laugh out loud at the events. I understand that it contains some gallows type humour but the subject matter is serious, I didn't get the feeling that the writer was laughing much through...
Published 17 months ago by CeeCeeBee


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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cut Above, 28 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Running with Scissors (Hardcover)
Ths book was recommended to me by a friend in America and I snapped it up as soon as it became available over here. My friend said I wouldn't be able to put it down. She was right. I read the entire thing in one sitting.
The story recounts five years in the life of Augusten Burroughs. His mother, being crazy, gives up her son into the care of her psychiatrist, and life for 12 year old Augusten just gets even crazier. The book reads as though it is a comedy and, trust me, you will find yourself laughing out loud on several occasions, but there is nothing comedic about the contents of the book. Some of the events are so shocking they seem slightly unbelievable and just when you think things couldn't get any worse, Burroughs throws something even more terrible at you, and you are left reeling from the impact.
You have to keep reminding yourself that this is a memoir, that these things did really happen to this little boy. Burroughs lived through this and the fact that he has produced such a stunning memoir, and indeed written it with such humour, is truly remarkable.
I would advise everyone who has ever read a book to read this one. It may never win literary acclaim, but Running With Scissors is an amazing read. I never thought it was possible to feel both repulsion and warmth at the same time, but Burroughs has shown me how it is done. Then again, through Running With Scissors, Burroughs has opened my eyes to a lot of things.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting not hilarious, 9 Aug. 2013
By 
CeeCeeBee - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Running With Scissors (Kindle Edition)
This is a very adult book about childhood, you have to keep reminding yourself that throughout this period of his life the writer was a young boy / teenager. I love quirky but did not laugh out loud at the events. I understand that it contains some gallows type humour but the subject matter is serious, I didn't get the feeling that the writer was laughing much through this period. It is an interesting, thought-provoking read, some great one liners and insights. If you are looking for a read about a very unusual family then this fits the bill.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A darkly, comic gem, 5 May 2006
By 
I read this book after reading an extract from it in a magazine and nothing could have prepared me for what I found. The book is a dark and disturbing memoir of a boy who is "raised" by the crazy family of his mother's psychiatrist. But don't be fooled, this is no navel-gazing, weighty tear-jerker; Burroughs writes candidly and with a dark humour and never encourages the reader to feel sorry for him or judge the bizarre parade of characters that pass through.

I'm sure this book won't appeal to everyone and if you're looking for a probing, 'hankies at the ready' story of a scarred childhood, then this isn't for you; however, if you want a fascinating, darkly comic book that explores the seedier side of growing up, then this is an excellent choice.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unfunnily disturbing, 14 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Running With Scissors (Kindle Edition)
I have read a number of memoirs - some funny, some sad, some unsettling but I had to kept reminding myself that this was an memoir more like a very badly written novel. After 4 chapters gave up particular with what I perceived gratuitous sex scenes. Not one for me
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why couldn't it be longer?!!, 7 April 2004
I read this whole book in about 5 days,it really got me hooked from the start. It's such a surreal story it's hard to believe it really happened but it's a pretty amazing read. The life that Burroughs describes shows his flaws as a human,the way he's missed out in some aspects of life. It's pretty inspirational and highly entertaining. There are harrowing parts but this is never too intense as he brings natural humour to his narrative. The balance of seriousness and humour is just right and never seems forced. My only complaint is that it's not long enough!! I seriously really enjoyed this book, it's a bit out of the ordinary but well worth picking up as it will certainly make you think and make you smile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All credit to Mr Burroughs for surviving childhood!, 13 Sept. 2009
By 
W-o-w. I must say, I am ashamed of myself for letting this one slide down my pile of 'books to read' for so long. I'm not sure quite how to review it, except to say that this is one of those books, those turbulent memoirs, that has to be read to be believed. If you can believe it in its entirety at all, that is.

Augusten Burroughs was a strange child. He liked shiny things, making his hair lie flat, and generally being fabulous. His mother was a poet dangling over the precipice of insanity, and his father turned to alcohol to cope. Out of his life fell his father, and into his life wandered Dr Finch, his mother's psychiatrist, in more than a little need of therapy himself. While his mum hails Dr Finch as her saviour and his dubious methods as genius, Augusten is drawn slowly away from her into the madness of the Finch household. Hope worships her father and believes that her cat is talking to her in dreams. Agnes eats dog biscuits and has to put up with her husband's patients taking over her house. Neil, a patient of Dr Finch's, wastes no time in setting up a bizarre gay relationship with 13-year-old Augusten. A lady with OCD lives in a room upstairs and never comes out. And Natalie, cynical and driven to madness by her family, becomes his new best friend.

This world - and the book itself - is by turns repulsive and attractive, brilliant and insane, hopeful and hopeless, hilarious and deadly sober. It is incredible, it is bizarre, and the memorable childhood translates into a memorable autobiography. I liked it so much that I just ordered the movie version (starring Annette Bening and Brian Cox) and I'll be looking for 'Dry' - the follow up and by all accounts just as good - very soon!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, comedic account of a truly shocking childhood., 5 Oct. 2007
By 
H. Eaton "Helena Eaton" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Because this book is so funny you can easily forget to be horrified by the absolutely horrendous childhood being recounted. As this is an account of many and varied cruelties endured by the author, Augusten Burroughs, as a child it is difficult to imagine how the book could be anything but a self-involved traumatic read. But it's not!

Burroughs tells his tale in a humorous way, recounting the bizarre incidents of his childhood in almost a light fashion - but the innocence of the narrative is exceptionally poignant. Of course, children often can't yet tell what is normal, what's not and may even find it difficult to recognise cruelty when there's no reliable adult to guide them. The story is told through the eyes of the author when he was a boy and this is what makes it so engaging and captivating. As adults reading it, we can see he needs love and nurturing and we want to scream at the people in his life who are so messed up and self-absorbed that they cannot see what he needs.

In essence, the story centres around the boy's relationship with his mother - it's not good. She doesn't really have space in her life for a son - she's too busy with her own affairs and sorting out her own life. So she sends him to stay with her psychiatrist and his family. The psychiatrist and his family have their own problems - to put it mildly - but at least Augusten has a place to stay. Along comes a family friend - a man much older than Augusten - who proceeds to sexually abuse Augusten over a period of time. Clearly, Augusten is describing an insidious type of child abuse, where the abuser seems to delude himself into thinking they are boyfriends. This portion of the book makes for very uncomfortable reading.

You see? I said it would be difficult to imagine that this could be a comic memoir - but it is! It's very well written and a really great read. You won't want to put it down till you've finished!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible and disturbing read, 14 May 2009
By 
A. Sophie (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I just finished reading this book a few hours ago and the only thing I could think of was 'wow'. You think your family is weird or screwed up? Think again...This book recounts such a unique upbringing it borders on the verge of fiction. It is impossible not to feel empathy or at least a sense of awe towards the characters, however shocking they are. At times the book is so disturbing that you have to laugh with fascination and disbelief.
Having had a messy childhood myself, I felt that his' is by far the most abnormal. And having said that, I feel a deep admiration for the author. I truely cannot conceive anyone going through what he did and escaping unscathed. This book is incredible; a harsh reminder that there is no such thing as 'the norm' when it comes to life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED., 5 April 2008
I am surprised at some of the reviews on this book. I know we all have different tastes but i found it absolutely compelling, sadder than sad, yet at the same time, funny. An unusual book with so much going on...i couldn`t put it down. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed it too. One reviewer does not believe it all happened - i wonder why..?
A book worth buying in my opinion, and definately worth reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Work From Augusten Burroughs, 5 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
Not only does Mr. Burroughs detail a difficult life but he does so with honesty and clarity. This is the type of book that you will read again and share with friends. A few others in this category that stand out in my mind are Nightmares Echo and Behind Closed Doors, equally impressive.
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Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
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