Spoiled Children of Divorce

Successful Children of Divorce – Augusten Burroughs

Augusten Burroughs wrote about the very popular story about his life after his parents’ divorce in Running with Scissors. His Mother was mentally ill and with the aid of her psychiatrist went completely over the edge. Burroughs went to live with the psychiatrist and his family and then bounced back and forth between the Psychiatrist’s house and his Mother’s. Haven’t read the book but saw the movie which I didn’t like very much. Crazy families are really difficult to portray “realistically.” Especially considering how much was going on in Burrough’s life at the same time. The absent Father, the crazy Mother, the crazy Family, the obnoxious authoritarian psychiatry, the molestation, and the Coming Out. It should have been filmed in the format of a perpetually exploding bomb.

Here’s a Burroughs quote from a Washington Post article about the book and talking about his childhood:

“I thought people would be bored by it, honestly,” Burroughs says. “Bored or just . . . so put off. You can’t even really describe the book without it seeming X-rated. I spent a lot of years not telling people about my childhood, because I was embarrassed or ashamed. People who grew up in nice families and went to Ivy League schools — to me that’s what’s shocking. I’m riveted by stories like that: ‘Really? You still talk to people you knew in high school? You’re on speaking terms with both your parents? Tell me more.’ “


Burroughs’ Mother is a poet and his Father was head of the Philosophy Department at University of Massachusetts (now passed). Burroughs has one older brother. Age 13 Burroughs was sodomized by the 33 year old guy who lived behind the psychiatrist’s house. At some point soon after, Burroughs dropped out of High School. Eventually he started working for an advertising company and worked his way up into Copy Writing. He developed serious addictions problems and wrote about his alcoholism in Dry.

At Age 19, changed name from Chris Robinson to Augusten Burroughs. Around Age 36, publishes memoir. Has written a number of best-sellers since.

The Psychiatrist’s family sued for mis-representation in 2007.

1 Comment so far
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Wrong. It was Robison, not Robinson.

Comment by D Mann

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