It’s officially Christmas month. So here’s a book report I whipped up after marching myself through the following book like a bit of cannon fodder facing grimly toward cannon fire. The following will be spoiler-free and will contain adult language and adult themes. I wrote this over on Goodreads. So. If I can write book reviews, dearies, you should, too. Hint– that’s about writing one for one of my bits and pieces. Hint hint hint.
Ann Wuehler’s Reviews > Running with Scissors
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors
by Augusten Burroughs
Ann Wuehler’s review Dec 03, 2017
did not like it
Note– this stupid site says I read it twice. No, I didn’t. Ugh! How do you fix that? Why does this stupid site need dates of what was read???? Fie upon you, bald-faced dog!
I’d heard the movie was crap, but the book was great. Nope. I felt a real antipathy to everything about this tome. I wanted to quietly euthanize everyone in this memoir or whatever it actually is. I normally don’t want to take an entire cast of characters to the vet to put them down but Augusten and company proved the exception to my euthanasia rule for fictionalized characters.
Now!! I do realize there are actual families and individuals who are ‘like this’. I do. I’ve read accounts, I’ve seen the grim, dark films, I’ve even worked in areas that overlap into areas of mental illness, physical problems, etc, etc. Been there, seen that sorta gal here. However…I just could not work up any sympathy or anything much but a determination to GET THROUGH THIS BOOK to win some bet no one made with me.
The mad poet of a mother. Oh I just wanted her to kill herself already. Just kill yourself and stop torturing the world with your shit poetry, lady. I also wondered if this mad lady poet mama figure had a trust fund. How is she paying her rent and all those doc bills? Her divorce settlement must have been gigantic. Last I checked, being a barely published poet didn’t pay the rent. Even back in the early eighties/late seventies or whenever this thing all took, allegedly, place.
The Finches. Where to start. I just can’t. I wasn’t charmed, I wasn’t repulsed, I was just– how many pages until the end so I can win that bet no one made with me? I found myself wondering how the neighbors ignored everything there…on a nice street full of nice houses. Having lived on the East Coast, nobody ignores anything, because you’re cheek and jowl; there’s a ton of people. And if you live in one of those neighborhoods where it matters what things look like…mmm. Probably a nitpicky niggling sort of notion here, but nothing about that house rang true. Yes, I know people actually do live, willfully and otherwise, in truly filthy shitholes. Hoarders exist, I know several myself. I don’t know…something about how piled on the Finch household seemed…I don’t know. Something about it didn’t quite ring those golden bells of truth, truth, truth.
Oh and the underage stuff. Ugh. I and you and that person over there know it exists, that it’s rampant. I wasn’t bothered by it so much as bored by it. Was it meant to be titillating? Was it meant to shock? Was it meant to be background noise to Augusten’s journey to BECOMING A WRITER? Fuck. [I find myself swearing. Not a good sign when trying to write a hasty, shallow book review]
I’ve read Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which has some truly stomach-turning stuff in there. But. Forgive me, it rang like a big golden bell as a whole. It was honest, frothing, savage, truly funny and actually self-revealing. Running with Scissors seemed like someone trying too hard. Ah. Mm!! Thompson’s take on Vegas was just Thompson being Thompson. Here’s what happened, with some hair-raising, funkalicious details.
Running with Scissors seems, to me, like a writer TRYING TO BE A WRITER instead of…telling the story that needs to be told. [Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a REAL LIFE ADVENTURE.] Perhaps my store of empathy for others has become sorely depleted lately. But I had actual trouble giving a poop in a bucket about the fate of any of these charmless bit players.
Speaking of poop– the scene where Dr. Finch had his daughter lift his bowel movement from the toilet bowl and carry it outside to dry on the picnic table. Does ‘jump the shark’ apply to literature, too? I actually heard Fonzie, in my muzzy-fuzzy head, revving up his bike to jump a shark on that episode of Happy Days. I heard it as I read about…yeah. You can read that yourself if you so wish and make your own hasty or long, involved, Rhodes Scholar sort of judgment.
Oh, the main character/author. I have no idea how to sort out my reaction here. So let me try! He was…yeah. He got lost in his own tale. That’s as best as I can fathom. Which was maybe the whole point? That this child grew hi-larry-lously of age in a cray cray household while being an underage sex toy to an older man that garnered nothing more than a shrug from everyone about? How New Age, baby! I find my own knee-jerk reaction to hearing or reading about abuse kicks in like a mustang on meth here. It’s a kid being molested, folks. And Natalie being sold– that is how her going to live with that man was described as–and…ugh. And then people wonder why no one talks about this or talks up or speaks out or…ugh a…cuss words.
I think it’s the willful looking away of what’s going on that made me check how many pages were left so I could tick this one off my Read That list. I know it happens, that people really are this cartoony awful. I just happen to not wish to spend any time with them more than I have to.