the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle

Running Amuck (with Scissors): Book Review

Running with Scissors, the book I whimsically bought the other day, is turning out to be a hoot, a worthwhile read. Finally! For so many others have utterly disappointed me of late.

The story is quite like that of Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, the memoirs of an orphan and his misadventures, which ultimately I did not finish, slightly out of spite for how bad it was. I gave up around page 222 or so and then threw it away, chagrined for being taking for a fool by its enticing title, one which had set sky-high expectations and intrigued me because I have long been enamored by the subject of “genius.”

Augusten Burroughs’ Running, as the quotes on the back cover tout, reads much like Sedaris. And thus, although it may not end up being all that insightful or profound, so far it has kept me pleasantly entertained.


Having now finished Running my sentiments remain much the same. Burroughs’s book is essentially an amusing set of short episodes about his radically-free ranging days as an adolescent whose stoic father and manic-depressive mother have abandoned him to a psychiatrist’s household which is no less strange than that of the Adam’s Family.

Burroughs’s writing style is laudably simple and thrives on a lack of pretension. His blatant manner of presenting “how it was” for him as a budding gay boy who had no idea he was to become a writer can be a bit too earnest at times though, and could easily disturb anyone with its raw recollection of his painful sexual experiences.

There’s a lot of gagging, swallowing, and other experiences of forced submission that immediately dispels any notion that this is supposed to be nothing more than a funny memoir. While reading such passages I could not help but think that this must be akin to the horror which some unwilling women go through.

Burroughs’s life as a teenager is amusing but equally alarming, because through a haphazard hodge-podge of grating experience, he ultimately must learn to grow up on his own. Little guidance is offered from his elders who include his clinically insane mother, an occasionally psychotic pseudo-older sister, and the unorthodox father–figure who also has long been his mother’s shrink and who ultimately is accused of over-medicating her for manipulative and sexual purposes.

Nonetheless, despite the tales of filthy living, serious bouts of insanity he faces from all those around him, and a tortured existence as a gay boy with grand aspirations of being the next Vidal Sassoon, Augusten pulls through and ultimately transforms his meticulous journal entries into a collection of reflective and risible stories that chronicle his wayward coming of age.

in the beginning .00 previous chronicle the beginning next chronicle daily archives

legal l.m