Running with Scissors: A Memoir

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9781843541516: Running with Scissors: A Memoir

'This is the Brady Bunch on Viagra...it is impossible not to laugh at all the jokes; to admire the sardonic, fetid tone; to wonder, slack-jawed and agog, at the sheer looniness of the vista he conjures up' Rachel Cooke, Observer This is the true story of a boy who wanted to grow up with the Brady Bunch, but ended up living with the Addams Family. Augusten Burroughs's mother gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead ringer for Santa Claus and a certifiable lunatic into the bargain. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients and a sinister man living in the garden shed completed the tableau. The perfect squalor of their dilapidated Victorian house, there were no rules and there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer and Valium was chomped down like sweets. And when things got a bit slow, there was always the ancient electroshock therapy machine under the stairs...'This true story is a match for the strangest...Running with Scissors reads like an extremely well crafted and crazed sitcom, a mix of Jerry Springer and Seinfeld...Funny, moving and extraordinary' Christina Patterson, Independent 'Twisted, hilarious and relentlessly bizarre...It single-handedly redefines the term "fucked up childhood"' Sleazenation 'Bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious. ..so flippant and so insanely funny' New York Times 'A story so strange, it could never be fiction...deftly written, smart and funny' GQ 'Burroughs will be hard pressed ever to better this, his debut effort...It's one you'll never forget' Alice Fisher, Time Out 'Dave Pelzer with a whoopee cushion attached...Genuinely memorable' Observer Top 50 Cultural Events of the Season

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Review:

There is a passage early in Augusten Burroughs's harrowing and highly entertaining memoir, Running with Scissors, that speaks volumes about the author. While going to the garbage dump with his father, young Augusten spots a chipped, glass-top coffee table that he longs to bring home. "I knew I could hide the chip by fanning a display of magazines on the surface, like in a doctor's office," he writes, "And it certainly wouldn't be dirty after I polished it with Windex for three hours." There were certainly numerous chips in the childhood Burroughs describes: an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who gives him up for adoption to her therapist, and an adolescence spent as part of the therapist's eccentric extended family, gobbling prescription meds and fooling around with both an old electroshock machine and a pedophile who lives in a shed out back. But just as he dreamed of doing with that old table, Burroughs employs a vigorous program of decoration and fervent polishing to a life that many would have simply thrown in a landfill. Despite her abandonment, he never gives up on his increasingly unbalanced mother. And rather than despair about his lot, he glamorizes it: planning a "beauty empire" and performing an a capella version of "You Light Up My Life" at a local mental ward. Burroughs's perspective achieves a crucial balance for a memoir: emotional but not self-involved, observant but not clinical, funny but not deliberately comic. And it's ultimately a feel-good story: as he steers through a challenging childhood, there's always a sense that Burroughs's survivor mentality will guide him through and that the coffee table will be salvaged after all. --John Moe

From the Back Cover:

"OUTRAGEOUSLY AMUSING."
--Entertainment Weekly
"COMPELLING."
--USA Today
"BREATHTAKING."
--Tampa Tribune

THINK YOUR CHILDHOOD WAS WEIRD?
ENTER THIS TWELVE-YEAR-OLD'S WACKY WORLD...

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year-round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull, an electroshock therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing, and bestselling account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances...

"Promotes visceral responses (of laughter, wincing, retching) on nearly every page...funny and rich with child's-eye details of adults who have gone off the rails."
--The New York Times Book Review

Visit: www.augusten.com

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