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Truth is stranger than fiction...?,
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This review is from: Running With Scissors (Kindle Edition)
If this were fiction, you might be forgiven for thinking this book was too far-fetched. Augusten is twleve years old when his story begins, and he endures the most extraordinary childhood. His mother is apparently deranged for much of the time, and is being treated by an equally mad psychiatrist, Dr. Fiinch. When his mother can no longer cope, Augusten is taken in by Dr. Finch and his chaotic family; a household where anything goes, chaos reigns, and it is fine (for example) to knock down the kitchen ceiling if you want a bit more air. Augusten is in turn befriended by Natalie, (Dr. Finch's daughter and one of the more sane people in the book), abused by Natalie's elder adopted brother, and when he decides he doesn't like school, Dr. Finch orchestrates his removal on (fictitious) health grounds. These are mere examples of the kind of thing that happened to him; there are many more.
At times, this book can be very funny (although at others, it feels as though the writer is trying too hard to amuse). Some of the characters are sympathetic (especially Natalie) although I never really empathised with Augusten himself (perhaps partly because he remains so extraordinarily unaffected by his experiences) . And there can be no doubt that the author is a consummate writer. But.... some of this book is very distasteful (espcially Dr. Finch's "masturbatorium", and the somewhat gratuitous detail of the paedophilia to which Augusten is subjected). Also, although I suppose it must be true, I do find it hard to believe that Dr. Finch would collect and lay out the family turds on the garden table, and use them to foretelll the future. Does the fact that this is apparently true make it any better? I'm not sure. It was certainly a rather disjointed read, reading more like a series of episodes rather than a straight narrative. There were parts that I enjoyed; other parts that I didn't. At times, I was entertained, and at others, a little bored.
Altogether, this was a mixed bag of a book. Almost four stars, but as I cannot really recommend it, it has to be three.