Why, Augusten, How Serious Your Latest Tome Is!

1 06 2008

A Wolf At The Table I first learned of Augusten Burroughs in the Barnes and Noble on Grand River in East Lansing. I was procrastinating from writing up lesson plans for the coming week and living across the street from a book store was ridiculously advantageous. I saw his book Running With Scissors on one of those tables they put in the middle of the aisles for schmucks like me who they know can’t pass a table of books without manhandling and reading the backs of two or nine. I purchased it quickly and spent the rest of the weekend reading; lesson plans were done Sunday night after my weekly meeting with my RAs.

Sarah had recommended that I pick up Dry and it was even better than Running with Scissors, which I wasn’t sure was possible at the time. Later, Susan sent me Magical Thinking: True Stories, which I didn’t enjoy as much. The writing lacked the tightness of his previous works and led me to skip his second collection of essays altogether.

I was excited to learn that he would be releasing a new book and greedily waiting while my request made its way through the library queue. It arrived in my hands right before I went to Michigan for the weekend, so I was able to spend many hours reading it on the dock, in the shade of the porch, in the lounge chair on the beach. Yeah, ideal reading spaces. I was blown away by his story. Gone was the carefully crafted cleverness of his two memoirs and in its place was an intensity as he wrote about his relationship with his father, the head of the philosophy department at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was beautifully written and I kept finding myself wanting to underline passages but I am not one to do that in library books. While a departure from the books that made him famous and spawned a movie (apparently there is a movie in the works for this work as well), it is an enjoyable, disturbing, tight read.

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2 responses

2 06 2008
beth

I loved Running With Sissors. I will have to pick this one up too.

Have you ever read any Richard Russo? I love his writing. He also writes about upstate New York (which I can totally relate to). Love him.

2 06 2008
Becky

I actually have RWS in my “to read” pile right now. I’ll have to check this one out, too.

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