Books »Running With Scissors

by Augusten Burroughs (2002)

So, I am about a decade late in reading the hippest book to have on the train, Running With Scissors, but being behind the times doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of this twisted memoir. Augusten Burroughs‘ story is right up my ally, as I could listen to people gossip about their crazy families all day. I even had a friend who, though I am on bad terms with, I am sometimes tempted to contact just so I can hear the latest on his aunt and uncle hi-jinx.

Very few people, though, can claim a childhood quite as wildly messed up as this one (though I know a few that are at least tied). “Raised” to a very limited degree by an insane poetess mother, given over to en equally nuts Doctor and his unhinged family, having an affair as a preteen with a pedophile, this is a sad tale of adolescence without boundaries, which is no where near as fun as it might sound to an adolescent.

Still, Burroughs manages to make what could be almost unbearable to read pretty hilarious. Looking back with wise and sarcastic wit of an adult, he reminds us that he did, in fact, survive all the madness and has, to the joy of all his readers, lived to tell the tale.

The book was adapted into a movie recently by Glee creator, Ryan Murphy, but was considered to be one of the worst of the year. I can kind of see how the subject matter, always verging on or full on disturbing could be tough to bring to the screen without a really gentle touch (which, from watching Glee is unlikely Murphy’s m.o.).

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Posted on December 7, 2010

Books »Liar’s Club

Autobiographies can be difficult – certainly, I imagine, to write – but no matter how interesting or profound the life of the author, reading one can quickly become a bore (or worse) if the tone is off or if the voice is unlikable. Mary Karr, a poet as well as a charming spit-fire of a lady, possesses a most inviting but sharp voice and has transformed her fairly gritty childhood into an intriguing yarn with colorful language and a powerful attitude.

In the company of her dramatic and profoundly unstable mother and whiskey-toting father, Karr traveled from the bleakest corners of Texas to the mountains of Colorado – from the joys of her father's storytelling to looking down a barrel of her mother's gun. It's a roller-coaster ride of an adolescence that makes you wonder how children can endure so much sometimes.

Karr endured (thankfully) and she went on to create this engrossing account of it all.

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Posted on July 20, 2009

Movies »Radio Days

Directed by Woody Allen (1987) The best movie to watch during the new year. This is a funny, nostalgic memoir of the New York of Woody Allen's childhood. A world without adopted daughters and possible comebacks (is Match Point really going to be good?), but Mia's still there – and Dianne Wiest. The music is amazing – my song of the week comes from this soundtrack.

If you haven't seen this movie you should.

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Posted on December 26, 2005