Augusten Burroughs was born in 1965. Burroughs never completed any formal education after the third grade. He's held jobs as an advertising copywriter, dog trainer, and a candy-store clerk (fired for stealing), and failed as a male model. He is the author of The New York Times bestselling RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, DRY and SELLEVISION. He lives in New York City and Massachusetts. www.augusten.com
"Nobody ever told me what to do, so why did I always feel so trapped?" questions Burroughs (Sellevision), in this flawless audio adaptation of his alternately riotous and heartbreaking memoir. At age 11, when the mood of his family home changed from one of "mere hatred to potential double homicide," Burroughs found himself abandoned by his unemotional, professor father and chain-smoking, wannabe-poet mother. Dumped at his parents' psychiatrist's roach-infested Victorian home, which contained enough confusion to keep his mind off the fact that his parents didn't want him, the author recalls in a voice as mutable and unique as his unconventional childhood the bizarre details of daily life in a home where bowel movements were seen as messages from God, staged suicides were a means of quitting school and sexual relationships between boys and middle-aged men were deemed acceptable. Infusing each character with personality, Burroughs most brilliantly captures his mother's distinctive Southern inflection with a voice that sounds like its been through a curling iron and the booming, deep voice of the shrink who adopted him. Despite the often heavy content, Burroughs alleviates this gravity with his unwavering sarcasm and humor, further enhanced by his knack for employing kitschy cultural references to the 1970s and '80s. Based on the St. Martin's hardcover. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
This memoir by Burroughs is certainly unique; among other adventures, he recounts how his mother's psychiatrist took her to a motel for therapy, while at home the kids chopped a hole in the roof to make the kitchen brighter. Not all craziness, though, this account reveals the feelings of sadness and dislocation this unusual upbringing brought upon Burroughs and his friends. His early family life was characterized by his parents' break-and-destroy fights, and after his parents separated, his mother practically abandoned Burroughs in hopes of achieving fame as a poet. At 12, he went to live with the family (and a few patients) of his mother's psychiatrist. At the doctor's home, children did as they wished: they skipped school, ate whatever they wanted, engaged in whatever sexual adventures came along, and trashed the house and everything in it, while the mother watched TV and occasionally dusted. Burroughs has written an entertaining yet horrifying account that isn't for the squeamish: the scatological content and explicit homosexual episodes may limit its appeal. Recommended for the adventurous seeking an unsettling experience among the grotesque. Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.