Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cannonball Read #31: Running With Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

The Boyfriend and I watched the film made from Running With Scissors a while ago, and both of us were very disappointed. Much like the movie we were tricked into watching which described itself as a gangster film but turned out to be full of unnecessary ass-raping, this movie was sold as a comedy, and it totally wasn't. Apparently, they took all the really funny bits and put them in the trailer so the film would appear to be a hilarious when really it was just extremely depressing.

The story is of young Augusten Burroughs, who has a crazy mother and distant, alcoholic father. When his parents divorce, his mother has a nervous breakdown and leaves Augusten at the home of her therapist and his wacky family. Augusten is forced to navigate through the maze of dealing with the Finch family (who are all a bit nutty themselves) while trying to decide how he relates to the world and how much he is going allow his life experiences to effect him.

Luckily, the book actually IS funny. Perhaps the difference is that the Augusten in the book is kind of a pompous douchebag and I don't feel nearly as badly for him as I do when he's played by Joseph Cross (who looks fragile, vulnerable, and slightly heartbroken no matter what he's doing.) The Augusten in the book is more cynical than one would suspect, and even the most tragic moments are related with a certain humor. Mind you, the circumstances the kid grew up in (IF you believe his story--which has resulted in several lawsuits and he has admitted was generously exaggerated) are disturbing at best, but he manages to find the dry humor in them.

Frankly, I can't say I exactly ENJOYED Running With Scissors. However, I don't necessarily regret reading it.

The movie, on the other hand, I would not recommend to anyone, despite excellent performances from Cross and from Annette Bening as Augusten's mother.


Anonymous said...

That's not Anton Yelchin.

The Caustic Critic said...

Thanks for the correction! It has been a while since we watched the movie, and clearly I remembered wrong. I'll fix it!