So I just finished reading Running with Scissors and it was, in one word, FASCINATING.
Not in the “ooh, it’s magical” or “oh, it spoke to my soul” fascinating. It’s more tragic, wild, crazy, nauseatingly funny and, most important of all, it’s real.
Running with Scissors is a memoir written by Augusten Burroughs regarding his childhood to early adolescence as he struggles to figure out how the world works, figure out what he really wants in life – you know, typical quarter-life (or 1/16-life crisis) – all the while trying to adjust to a household that boasts of being the antithesis of The Brady Bunch, dealing with a mother with frequent psychotic episodes, bible dips, psychiatric patients, and a pedophile friend
So, before I go on a fangirling rage of “Oohs”, “Aahs”, and spazzing over how wonderful of a read it was, here are the top 5 reasons why you should read Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors:
1. It’s a sad story but a story so sad it has to be a joke (right?), only it’s not
What makes the book truly fascinating is the understanding that despite the crazy, shallow, psychotic and tragically humane episodes of each character in Burroughs’s story, they are painted so realistically that it’s easy to think, “yeah, this could very well happen in real life”.
2. The characters are brilliant!
I love each and every one of them. I don’t care that they’re eccentric and people would think badly over their behavior. I just love each and every one of them. They’re all so crazy and spontaneous and noisy, but it sounds pretty much like any other family. There’s a squabble here and there, there’s definitely a whole dose of crazy, but there’s definitely a whole lot of love. I would even go right ahead and say Augusten Burroughs probably wrote this memoir with utmost affection for each of these people he has written about. After all, they all shaped his life…no matter how unconventional it could be.
3. Augusten’s narration is hilarious
I knew this book was embedded with a dose (or more) of dark humor, but I didn’t realize up to what extent.
Augusten’s narration is hilarious in that he could essentially complain about one thing, one relevant thing that could spell a possible psychotic episode, then he goes right ahead and prioritizes something different.
An example would be how he complains about going to a psychiatric ward then decides that it would be so much better than going to school anyway.
4. The book isn’t pretentious.
What you read is what you get. Either you love it or you hate it. You could believe it or you don’t. Either way, the book simply wants to relate a story – a story truly believed to be true by the author himself – and it doesn’t matter whether you like it or you don’t because in the end, you still read it and the goal of relating that story has been accomplished.
5. Just read it for the total craziness of it all
Because if it wasn’t about feelings, emotional maturity, Freudian psychoanalysis, adoption, adolescence, love, family, or relationships, then it’s only half the fun and…
if it’s half the fun, then there’s no point. it’s either you go big or yoy go home and for this memoir, Augusten Burroughs definitely went for the big field.