stunning new book from Burroughs: no punches were pulled


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Showing 1-21 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2008 10:46:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2008 10:48:46 PM PDT
reader says:
there are no jokes in this new book by Burroughs, but it manages to be fresh, heartstopping and oddly hopeful nonetheless. absorbing account of his father who suffered from alcoholism and some other perversity of the mind, a blackness of his soul. a man who should not have been left alone with a child. a dad that could not embrace a brilliant and vulnerable young boy. unforgettable.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2008 8:26:54 PM PDT
how much of this memoir will be true?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2008 10:51:50 AM PDT
reader says:
well, i dont know. but look at his website @ www.augusten.com. there are photographs from every major event of that period of the author's life, right in there. it's SHOCKING.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2008 10:40:30 PM PDT
L. Murphy says:
I cannot wait to get my copy. Yay for ordering online and Amazon Prime!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2008 10:43:42 PM PDT
L. Murphy says:
I'm expecting all of it.

Not everyone's a James Frey. Get over it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2008 11:30:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2008 11:40:20 PM PDT
reader says:
I feel the same way about the current tendency to take a Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent approach to literature. It seems this attack on all non fiction is the direct result of two books: the James Frey hoax - in which he, like a very convincing character out of the Sopranos, manipulatingly describes violent, self-aggrandizing events that never happened; in fact large portions of the book were deliberate and shameless lies. Another recent book about a woman who claimed to be abused, street gang homeless and "saved" was recalled by the publisher for being a complete sociopathic lie. So I would humbly suggest that it's ignorant and unfair and ugly (jealousy?) to attack every single author of this genre and cry foul.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2008 7:54:55 AM PDT
membruto says:
Even before he admitted as much, I accepted Augusten Burroughs' books with a "grain of salt," i.e. 50% "true," 50% "gilding the elephant." I'm not expecting much more from this new work.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2008 11:05:40 AM PDT
G. Robertson says:
If his veracity is so unimpeachable, he wouldn't have settled, as he did last year for an undisclosed amount, the lawsuit brought by the family from "Running with Scissors."

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2008 7:34:19 PM PDT
He didn't settle, Sony Motion Pictures did, to be able to proceed with their version of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2008 9:41:54 PM PDT
reader says:
that's true. not only did he not settle or have to give any money to the plaintiffs, he also did not have to change one word of the book. it was proven in a court of law and he was vindicated.. totally different than the frey thing, which was proven to be full of falsehoods,sadly. i mean,l i think frey is a good writer as well. they just have different situations as far as their memoirs were concerned. that's all. and in the end, frey still has a loyal readership as well as burroughs havinga loyal readership. in general, i think people care more about what affects them,what moves them, and the quality of the writing itself than anything else.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2008 7:58:05 AM PDT
membruto says:
According to a recent article in the NYTimes:
Such sharply contrasting views are sure to renew questions about the truthfulness of memoirs in general and Mr. Burroughs's in particular. Children of the psychiatrist with whom Mr. Burroughs was left in "Running" filed a lawsuit over inaccuracies. It was settled in August 2007 by changing some language on the acknowledgments page.

Full article--worth reading--
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/books/24burr.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=augusten+burroughs&st=nyt&oref=slogin

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2008 12:14:11 PM PDT
L. Murphy says:
I read that article yesterday. Thanks for the recommendation.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2008 7:09:50 PM PDT
reader says:
check out NEW YORK magazine on stands now...it's an in=depth interview wherein the reporter admits that although he was skeptical, he is no longer so.
sigh

ever since Frey, every word in every bio or memoir will be scrutinized. i thought the point of reading was the books themselves! the public, by their reading choices, will ultimately decide what is true for them. everyone else is just speulating and gossiping.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2008 7:12:07 PM PDT
reader says:
Children of the psychiatrist with whom Mr. Burroughs was left in "Running" filed a lawsuit over inaccuracies. It was settled in August 2007 by changing some language on the acknowledgments page.

said children were disinterested and did not voice their doubts until a multi million dollar studio got involved. they were after cash, but they received none from the author. that is vindication, whether anyone recognizes it or not.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2008 2:19:46 PM PDT
Prettypoodle says:
yeah, that article and the NYMag one were both interesting. I came across a video interview he did with LOGO online where he talks about the state of memoirs and his childhood as well...it's worth taking a look at. http://www.logoonline.com/partners/audible

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2008 8:29:09 AM PDT
S. Bents says:
Wow, thanks for mentioning the photos. The picture of his dad was so scary! If Augusten's story is 100% true, I feel so sorry for him! That sweet little boy in those pictures endured such hardship and sorrow! However, his stories could contain embellishments and half-truths so that his books will sell. I don't know what to think, but I wish Mr. Burroughs would try his hand at writing fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2008 6:02:56 AM PDT
Katrina says:
He has done fiction, check out Sellevision. I'll read anything he writes. I finished A Wolfe at the Table last weekend. this book was painful to read, a bit boring, and seemed to lack the brutal honesty I'm accustomed to when reading his books. Was I only reading an account of a childs' memories? I kept wondering if there was another side to the story, seen through adult eyes, that might fill in the many blanks. Why would a child look forward to his father's return from work with such zeal if the father had always been cold and cruel? What made this boy attempt to hug his father day after day if there had never been a time when his father hugged him? Since the story didn't ring true to me, but I believe the author to be an honest man I suspect that, from his perspective, every word is true. I did not enjoy the book nor would I recommend it others, but I'm still looking forward to Burrough's next book.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2008 6:03:48 AM PDT
Katrina says:
He has done fiction, check out Sellevision. I'll read anything he writes. I finished A Wolfe at the Table last weekend. this book was painful to read, a bit boring, and seemed to lack the brutal honesty I'm accustomed to when reading his books. Was I only reading an account of a childs' memories? I kept wondering if there was another side to the story, seen through adult eyes, that might fill in the many blanks. Why would a child look forward to his father's return from work with such zeal if the father had always been cold and cruel? What made this boy attempt to hug his father day after day if there had never been a time when his father hugged him? Since the story didn't ring true to me, but I believe the author to be an honest man I suspect that, from his perspective, every word is true. I did not enjoy the book nor would I recommend it others, but I'm still looking forward to Burrough's next book.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2008 6:04:45 AM PDT
Katrina says:
He has done fiction, check out Sellevision. I'll read anything he writes. I finished A Wolfe at the Table last weekend. this book was painful to read, a bit boring, and seemed to lack the brutal honesty I'm accustomed to when reading his books. Was I only reading an account of a childs' memories? I kept wondering if there was another side to the story, seen through adult eyes, that might fill in the many blanks. Why would a child look forward to his father's return from work with such zeal if the father had always been cold and cruel? What made this boy attempt to hug his father day after day if there had never been a time when his father hugged him? Since the story didn't ring true to me, but I believe the author to be an honest man I suspect that, from his perspective, every word is true. I did not enjoy the book nor would I recommend it others, but I'm still looking forward to Burrough's next book.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2008 8:40:06 AM PDT
C. Solomon says:
"Why would a child look forward to his father's return from work with such zeal if the father had always been cold and cruel? What made this boy attempt to hug his father day after day if there had never been a time when his father hugged him? Since the story didn't ring true to me, but I believe the author to be an honest man I suspect that, from his perspective, every word is true."

It rang true to me because, like Burroughs, I experienced that. Many abused children do the same things.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 1:18:06 PM PST
I didn't like it. It felt self-indulgent and whiny. Although Burroughs claims to have never wanted anything but his father's love, the book simply throbs with resentment and even outright hatred. Burroughs implies that his father was psychotic, probably a murderer, and unbelievably cruel, yet by his own account it is his mother who suffers from mental illness, and who planted the seeds of fear and hatred in her son's mind.

It's possible that the book is true in essence. It seems equally possible that the book is an unpleasant rant against an inadequate parent by a child who never quite grew up and who never gained any perspective on his own childhood.
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Participants:  11
Total posts:  21
Initial post:  Mar 24, 2008
Latest post:  Mar 2, 2009

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A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs (Hardcover - April 29, 2008)
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