Marco's Blog

All content personal opinions or work.
en eo

Running with Scissors (A. Burroughs)

2006-05-27 2 min read Books marco

Renowned because of the shocking content, this book was an excellent follow up on Frey’s {moscontentlink:A Million Little Pieces}. Another crazy autobiography, this time of the kid of a psychotic mother who is brought up by the crazy family of the mother’s shrink.

Now, the premise sounds interesting, and there are lots of sound bites and stories that are captivating and novel. The mother will formally hand over guardianship over her only son to the psychologist; the psychologist’s family is as crazy as any of the patients; and the little kid discovers at 13 that gay sex is not all what he thought it to be.

But, all in all, this is a story of people that have the freedom to curb their own freedom, and who in the end are caged by their own lack of structure. As the main character discusses with one of the Psychologist’s daughters, they can never do anything fun because there is always a catastrophe at home that needs their attention.

If Frey’s autobiography was so over the top that several articles pointed out discrepancies, exaggerations, and flat out lies, Burrough’s sounds too crazy to be made up. I mean, who would put a homosexual relationship with a 30-something year old man at age 13 into a novel? Would you really come up with that? See, I didn’t think so.

And yet, the sequences reveal clearly how much this is the true story of a kid. There is self-judgement involved, a lot of harsh statements about a little child, and the losses (there are few wins) are all chalked up to real failures. That Neal, the love interest, disappears in the book is clearly a failure on the part of the boy – who shows little interest and will end up missing his lover dearly.

The writing is oddly flat for a story of upheaval, but it might be just the right thing to anchor us back. A little like the most dramatic music benefits from strictly applying the intended rhythm. At the same time, the chapters are strangely disjointed, presenting a sequence of events and not a coherent vita.

Running with Scissors reads like a collection of short stories that, together, string the formative years of an unusal child. Amazing read, shocking for some, amusing for other, this is the kind of book you have a hard time getting passionate about, and at the same time that gives you a lot of material that you will use to get upset about.

It’s the perfect book for the post-Bush era.