There is a fine cutting line between tragedy and comedy. Running
with Scissors straddles the edge so delicately that one does
not know when to laugh or when to cry with Augusten’s
abysmal childhood experiences.
pedophile and rape, an alcoholic father, a crazy mom and various
episodes of nervous breakdowns, a coming-out to two families,
a quack and his family – these are some of the things
that Augsuten Burroughs had to deal with before he turned
16. In his dry narrative voice, Augusten managed to turn a
story of betrayal and loath into something vaguely funny,
if only the humour in the story can withstand the odious weight
of its own wretched trajectory.
chapter titles aside, Running with Scissors is a disturbing
read. Laughing with the book is akin to smirking at a vivisection.
You have to perceive it as some sort of inspirational story
to stomach its contents: If Augusten can survive a childhood
like this, impossible is nothing. Yeah, just do it.
the way, it happens to be one of the most unforgettable memoirs
you will ever read.
Horrors of horrors, the book is actually coming to life in
a theatre near you. Helmed by Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy,
imagine Annette Bening as Deirdre the crazy mom, Alec Baldwin
as the alcoholic father, Brian Cox as the shrink Dr Finch,
Gwyneth Paltrow as the frigidly eerie Hope, Evan Rachel Woods
as Augusten’s “Princess Diana” soulmate
Natalie and Joseph Fiennes as the 33-year-old boyfriend of
Augusten’s. Erm, truly a fascinating proposition for
“I can't stop staring at her feet, which she has slipped
into treacherously tall red patent-leather pumps. Because
she normally lives in sandals, it's like she's borrowed some
other lady's feet. Maybe her friend Lydia's feet. Lydia has
teased black hair, boyfriends and an above-ground pool. She
wears high heels all the time, even when she's just sitting
out back by the pool in her white bikini, smoking menthol
cigarettes and talking on her olive-green Princess telephone.
My mother only wears fancy shoes when she's going out, so
I've come to associate them with a feeling of abandonment
I don't want her to go. My umbilical cord is still attached
and she's pulling at it. I feel panicky.”
book is not for the faint-hearted. But you will read it and
enjoy it. Just don’t be too openly happy about it. There
is a sequel of sorts by the way, a memoir of Augusten’s
adult alcoholic life called “Dry”. Stop grinning
at the prospect of reading that one, you freak.
by Lim Mun Pong