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A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father Kindle Edition

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Length: 278 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Significant Seven, April 2008: When I started reading A Wolf at the Table, I thought I knew what to expect. Augusten Burroughs captures intense experience with an inexplicably cool remove, imparting a stillness and purity to emotions that would likely run amok in anyone else's hands. I love this quality of his writing, and it's present in full force in this memoir of a childhood spent in thrall to a predatory and deeply unpredictable father. What I wasn't prepared for was the suspense--the dread-filled, nearly sonorous waiting for the worst to happen. An artful sort of bait-and-switch happens in the telling: Burroughs brings you to the brink of a terrible catharsis more than once, but the break in tension never comes. It is profoundly sad, remarkably tender, and fueled by a sense of love and reverence that only a child knows. --Anne Bartholomew

From Publishers Weekly

Superb production values transform an ordinary audio into a special experience. Original songs by Patti Smith, Sea Wolf, Ingrid Michaelson and Tegan Quin (from Tegan and Sara), said to be inspired by this work, are a welcome accompaniment to Burroughs's dark relationship with his father. So, too, are the wonderful sound effects, including the cacophony of a Mexican outdoor market and frightening forest noises. The narration itself doesn't live up to the carefully orchestrated acoustical touches nor is it as good as the author's delightful audio renditions of his previous works. Burroughs reads extremely slowly, as if he is savoring every word he has written; however, the average listener will eventually cringe at the plodding pace and emphasis on every syllable. In contrast, the quick rhythms of his own younger self as well as those of his Southern parents are welcome diversions. This audio would best serve adult speakers of English as a second language brushing up on their listening skills. Native speakers will need hefty doses of caffeine to get through it. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 24).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 693 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Publication Date: April 29, 2008
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0011UGLH4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,835 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Augusten Burroughs is the author of the autobiographical works "Running with Scissors," "Dry," "Magical Thinking," "Possible Side Effects" and "A Wolf at the Table," all of which were New York Times bestsellers. "Running with Scissors" remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two consecutive years and was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film starring Annette Bening. His only novel, "Sellevision," is currently in development as a series for NBC. "Dry," Augusten's memoir of his alcoholism and recovery, is being developed by Showtime. In addition, Burroughs is currently creating an original prime-time series for CBS. Augusten's latest book is called "You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas."

Twice named to Entertainment Weekly's list of the funniest people in America, Augusten has also been the subject of a Vanity Fair cover story and a Jeopardy! answer. His books have made guest appearances in two James Patterson novels, one Linkin Park music video, numerous television shows and a porn movie.

Augusten has been a photographer since childhood and many of his images can be seen on his website, www.augusten.com. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

183 of 194 people found the following review helpful By KBM on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Augusten Burroughs' books. Because he is so brutally honest, it's easy to feel as if you know him when you read him. I've felt that way-- as he shares so much and obviously grows emotionally with each book. He had one of the most horrible childhoods imaginable, yet recounts those incidents with an acerbic sense of humor. As readers, we laugh-- but we laugh at the absurdity of the situation. The situation itself was often not quite as funny. It's almost amazing Burroughs survived many of the events he lived through. Another reviewer stated that he survived 'unscathed'. I wouldn't really agree-- I think he survived with some deep emotional scars. Yet, these scars haven't prevented him from managing to work through these issues to lead a worthwhile and loving life. Most people would be permanently damaged-- Augusten Burroughs is truly an incredible and insightful and lucky human being.

It seems as if only the other day I read Burroughs' last book, Possible Side Effects. Yet, I just discovered this book was published and immediately ordered it. I received it this afternoon and finished it this evening.

Not having read any of the reviews at all, I wasn't sure what to expect but I immediately noticed that this book was entirely different from all his previous books. This isn't humor-- this is an incredible memoir of living with a sociopathic parent. In his past books, he talks about his mother's mental illness, but glosses over his father's. If you read this, you can understand why. He had to be ready to write this. I imagine that writing this book must have been unimaginably painful. Some people would have NEVER been ready to write this.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Connor Diaz on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Having read all of Augusten Burroughs' books, I was hesitant to read this one after I saw some of the negative reviews. But I stand corrected. I think readers who didn't like this book were expecting the hilarity of Running With Scissors and Dry. Wolf at the Table doesn't have the funny-disturbing stories you're used to with Burroughs. Rather, the book is simply disturbing (and heartfelt at the same time). I loved this book. He is stunningly honest, and his detailing of events through the lens of a child is poignant and gripping. It really makes you realize the importance of being a good parent and how much influence, good and bad, you can have on your child.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Melissa N. VINE VOICE on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After I read the first several chapters of "A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father," I was a little disappointed...but only for a short while. I'm a big fan of Augusten Burroughs and have read all of his books. As a result, I was expecting another deeply disturbing yet hilariously funny memoir along the lines of "Running with Scissors" and "Dry." However, Augusten's latest book is unlike anything he's ever written. There is nothing funny about this story, which chronicles the author's relationship with his alcoholic, psychologically disturbed father. In spite of its serious tone, however, I think "A Wolf at the Table" is the best thing Augusten has ever written.

Most of the events described in this book took place early in Augusten's life, before he turned 12 years old. If you've read any of the author's previous books, you know that his family life gives a whole new meaning to the word "dysfunctional." Augusten has written in detail about his mentally disturbed mother and her crazy therapist (who ended up being Augusten's legal guardian for a while). Until now, Augusten never went into much detail about his father, except to say that he was an alcoholic who would often engage in violent fights with his wife. In "A Wolf at the Table," Augusten describes his lifelong desire to connect with his father, who always seemed to wear a mask of complete indifference when it came to his son. Not only was Augusten emotionally neglected by his father, but he was also abused...just not usually in the physical sense. Yes, there were times when Augusten's father hit his son so hard that little boy could barely walk for days, but those incidents don't even begin to compare to the twisted emotional games Augusten's dad (or "Dead," which is how Augusten pronounced "Dad") would play.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Kessinger VINE VOICE on May 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While I had no such childhood (or parents) as Augusten's, I can relate to and understand his desperate need for attention, affection, and approval when he was a child. As a young child, his innocent ideas of how to gain all of these things from his father are really heart-rending. When his father shoves him away when Augusten tries to hug him, the 7-year-old makes a game of it and tries to get around the interferring arms (almost as though the arms are separate from his father and it's not really his father who is pushing him away).

Another memory from the book that stands out for me after I've finished the book is when Augusten, maybe he was 7 or 8 or somewhere around there, took some old clothes from his father's closet and added some of his father's cologne and other scents familiar to his father, then stuffed the clothes into a semblance of a person. Then the child Augusten climbed into the forbidden lap of his created father and would fight not to fall asleep for fear of the consequences.

All of the questions Augusten asks his dad (which are very rarely answered), the child's hunger for not just food, but for knowledge and understanding and his place in the world (and dealing with the fear, even as a child, that he will grow up to be like his father) just made me ache.

I found nothing whiny about the details of the memories/stories told: They just felt brutally honest and told from the memory of a child: I don't know too many children who wouldn't cry or be scared when threatened, or faced with constant loss of well-loved pets or the myriad other experiences he was forced to face. The writing grabbed me and held me firm from beginning to end. I've not read a Burroughs book yet that has disappointed me.
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stunning new book from Burroughs: no punches were pulled
I cannot wait to get my copy. Yay for ordering online and Amazon Prime!
Apr 3, 2008 by L. Murphy |  See all 21 posts
Would this be a good read for a pre-teen?
I wouldn't encourage my 12-year-old to read it, but that's probably just me. Even though I loved this book, I think it would actually be a little boring for younger readers.
Apr 8, 2011 by Donna Cravey |  See all 2 posts
Definitely Get Your Hands On Nappi's Mickey Tussler
Yes, good call. I read "Wolf" last week, and I am half way through "Mickey Tussler" right now. Similarities are certainly there. Let's hear it for the St. Martin's authors! Thanks.
May 8, 2008 by Mike Lansing |  See all 5 posts
Condition of book?
Hiya, my book came the same way - and I ordered it from here and i'm in the UK! I mentioned it to Augusten when I met him today - he said it was meant to be like this way!!????? I'm not sure if he meant it or not!

The UK versions are all normal and neat so i'm confused!
May 25, 2008 by Ms. C. Burman |  See all 4 posts
Looking to Read About Terrible Fathers?
Yes. You said it. So many of us grew up with men like this. I think it is therapeutic on some level to read this stuff. And with this book, you also get somegreat baseball!!
May 8, 2008 by William T. Harely |  See all 2 posts
breaththrough book Be the first to reply
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