Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Disclaimer: It’s quite possible that six years of reading submissions has left me fed up with Outrageous Antics as plot devices. Yes, I know, this is a memoir.
This was another book I expected to like more than I did. I mean, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Maybe there was too much build-up (I read somewhere that this & Dry were Anderson Cooper’s favorite books). I don’t know. It wasn’t as funny as I expected. It was more like, enough already, pull yourselves together, people. I mean, I went through one year (I was 11) when I was kind of messy—I think it was more of an experiment than anything—letting the clothes pile up on the second bed and stuff like that. But it always felt so good to clean it up. I mean, maybe that’s why I’d let things slide a bit, because putting them back in order was so satisfying.
Anyhow, point: I’m pretty sure if I’d been stuck living with this incredibly annoying family (OMG, soooo annoying! Not wacky at all. Just irritating. Trying way too hard to Be Eccentric, IMO. I wanted to give them all a good smack.), I’d have come to the end of my rope with the unhygienic living conditions damn quick and would have been doing dishes, laundry, and home repairs in order to maintain my own sanity. I certainly couldn’t have just rolled with it. I’d have lived in a tent in the backyard if necessary.
So essentially I read this twitching with frustration at the inertia.
Anyhow. Props to Burroughs for not taking the “woe is me” road (which he certainly could have just with his insane mother and ass of a father). His take is matter-of-fact, even lighthearted (probably the reason the book has been called funny, but it’s not really the same thing). Burroughs seems to be saying (to use the cliche du jour): it is what it is. No after-school special syrupy life lessons here. That was refreshing.