Remember when he was such a big deal? So do I, only barely. Was he just a flash in the pan?
Yes. I'm actually a little embarrassed that I paid for one of his books and actually wasted my time reading it. It was a poor man's David Sedaris.
I read "Dry" and it was just the worst. It was clear most of it was just made up so as to make the sort of shallow emotional arc he wanted a recovery story to take in order to sell lots of copies.
I didn't care for Running with Scissors but I love some of his short stories. His arrogance shines through but if he's funny I don't mind. Usually.
Just another turd riding the creative nonfiction wave.
One of the worst authors of "literature" in the past 50 years. Stephenie Meyer (sp) never pretended that her shit was art but Burroughs was getting award nominations there for a second? I truly loathe his work, and to echo R2, I think he lied on every page, but his writing was so terrible that it could make the truth sound like a lie.
I don't know anything about this writer's work but know somebody who likes him. So how atrocious is this author? I need some insights, here!
I tried to read Running with Scissors, but it was so bad I stopped around page 20. It seemed like it was written by a twelve-year-old.
I liked his books.
Why the hate?
oh yeah, he's out and successful so DL must despise him.
His original name was Christopher Robison. His older brother John Elder Robison, has also written a memoir of their childhood, Look Me In The Eye.
Perhaps the fact that he fictionalized his "biographical" account, and in doing so vilified the kind family that took him in and treated him with love and respect?
Pathological liar. For money.
[quote]vilified the kind family that took him in and treated him with love and respect?
Are you a member of that family, by any chance? Sure sounds like it, for you to have such a strong vested interest.
I'm sure some stuff was embellished, but his mom did pawn him off on her therapist, and she was clearly a narcissistic artiste who put her 'art' before the well-being of her kid. Not an unusual story, but you can't blame the kid for selling his side of it.
R13, are you functionally retarded? You clearly have no idea what the real story is, so why are you opening your ignorant mouth?
I'm not talking about his biological mother, the person who was nuts that he later reconciled with. I'm talking about the family that took him in and treated them as one of their own children. Everything he wrote about them was bullshit. It's all been revealed to be a bunch of malarkey.
You are too stupid to live. Honestly.
The family sued and won damages. The book went from being called a "memoir" to a "book" and he had to change the acknowledgement...
""Additionally, I would like to thank the real-life members of the family portrayed in this book for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own. I recognize that their memories of the events described in this book are different than my own. They are each fine, decent, and hard-working people. The book was not intended to hurt the family. Both my publisher and I regret any unintentional harm resulting from the publishing and marketing of Running with Scissors."
[quote]Everything he wrote about them was bullshit. It's all been revealed to be a bunch of malarkey.
No it hasn't. The family sued for invasion of privacy, emotional distress, and defamation. The suit was settled but the family never actually said what was or wasn't true in the book.
[quote]The family sued and won damages. The book went from being called a "memoir" to a "book" and he had to change the acknowledgement...
The family settled the case never went to trial. Nothing in the book was actually changed and the only on the author's page was the word memoir replaced with book.
Who the HELL is defending this POS? I must say, I'm surprised. I thought that Burroughs had been completely--and justly--rejected.
Many friends raved about his books, so I finally read a few. They were terrible. Really, really terrible. My friends compared him to Sedaris. Say what?!? Sedaris is FUNNY. Burroughs didn't come off as arrogant so much as narcissistic. His stories didn't illuminate anything, other than himself.
I like Burroughs, but his is a very uneven talent. Parts of DRY and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS were beautifully written, but the other books don't come close.
And I am a big Sedaris fan, but I don't find him less narcissistic than Burroughs. He's a far more refined and more tightly edited storyteller, though.
Yes, I heard someone else say he was "like Sedaris," but this person was not gay, so I assumed the equation was gay = they are the same.
Even though Sedaris is witty and can write, and this guy is dumb and can't write.
R16/17...shut the fuck up. Yes, the family settled and got a nice big cash settlement. The book WAS altered, as I noted. He changed the acknowledgement to reflect the settlement.
We do know many of the lies. You're completely full of shit.
The Sedaris comparisons are crazy. DS is a good writer. AB should never have been let into a literary agent's office let alone got a contract.
Ahem, you can still win at settlement. That's how most suits are won - not by trial. The family got what they wanted which mainly seems to have been that his book about them be acknowledged as fiction. That was made abundantly clear when he had to cease claiming the book was a memoir.
[quote]are you functionally retarded? You clearly have no idea what the real story is, so why are you opening your ignorant mouth?
Charming poster at r14, you have no idea what the real story is either. Only Augusten knows. That is my point. For you to take a side so vehemently proves you have some kind of vested interest.
thought Dry was his best.
Scissors is ok.
but everything else... sucks.
I hear he is moving away from writing and wants to be a photographer. I always see him trolling around with his camera at events around NYC.
His timelines in "Running With Scissors" and "Dry" of when and how he hooked up with the older man who was his lover in his teens was so different in each book, I knew right away that something was fictionalized somewhere.
^^ Editing error at R28; I meant "His account... was so different in each book,..."
I also meant to add that his third book "Possible Side Effects" is the worst book I've read in the past ten years.
R24, reaching a settlement is not a win for either side. It's a resolution. I was sued fairly recently for $9,000,000. It was a ridiculous suit, After I'd spent over $250,000 on my attorneys, and depositions hadn't even begun, I agreed to settle for $75,000, of which the plaintiff got $50,000 (his attorney got the rest). Pragmatically, it was certainly the right decision for me. I'd have spent more than that in additional attorneys fees, and it's conceivable that there would have been an insane result out of sympathy for the plaintiff's plight (which had nothing to do with me, and he'd actually brought upon himself). And I'd have had to deal with enormous stress for the duration of the suit, and beyond. But did I win? Hardly. Did the plaintiff? He got less than 1% of what he'd demanded. But he was entitled to nothing, and he got $50,000 more than that. Still, though, I don't think he won.
You're quite right, however; most lawsuits are resolved by settlement (or by abandonment on the part of the plaintiff).
Yea, I remember Enya too. Makes me want to say "in theis new millenium". Tired, girl
R8/R13 - The family indeed sued Mr. Burroughs but I believe he settled quietly just before the trial.. Or, perhaps they won, I forget. But whatever the outcome I think it was pretty much exposed that he took extreme fictional liberty in his story telling... i.e. lied to the point of destroying them.
It seemed to me odd while I was reading his books how this one guy would have so many fantastical stories to tell both about his childhood and as an adult. It was all much too polished and fake, even as I read it.
DL's own "Josh" attempted to work this shtick and even had Burroughs write a little review of his book, but by then people had caught on.
He's part of that early recovery jandra along with James Frey and the Salon woman Anne laMott.
They all bleed together for a pantsless, dread-locked hippie fingering his no-no hole in print.
Anybody else remember is "AIDS Cake" from his blog?
He posted a photo of his idea of an AIDS Cake that a friend had made which he would insanely hysterically funny.. A white cake with "karposi's sarcoma" all over it.
That's the point I gave up on him and never went back.
[quote] reaching a settlement is not a win for either side
R30, I understand your belief based on your personal experience but it doesn't mean that holds for the general experience.
Of course there are winners and losers in settlements. Usually one party comes out ahead or at least gets soemthign they wanted. For instance, those who think they are going to lose big time usually work out a better end result for themselves but that doesn't mean they didn't lose. If you get sued and you settle for anything just to make it go away then in reality you lost and the other party won.
Without knowing the details or the merits of the plaintiff's case and taking your word for it that they had no case, they still managed to extract $75,000 from you and the plaintiff was $50,000 richer. Not bad. Surely you were advised that the plaintiff never really expected the $9 million monetary demand.
Burroughs was forced to acknowledge that his story was fiction. I have no idea whether he had to give up money or royalties. The important win is that he was exposed as a liar and a defamed family felt vindicated.
Since R32 brings it up... read Josh KP's book, and you'll appreciate Burroughs' brilliance by comparison.
I thought Josh's book was shockingly awful.
I like him all right, but all the stuff of his I've read could have used a better line editor/copyeditor.
For the uninitiated: jandra = genre on DL (cf. r33).
Loved Joseph Cross playing him in Running With Scissors. When I finally read the book I imagined Joseph's voice. It made for better reading.
Jesus. I haven't heard or seen that name in literally years.
I actually believe him. The Turcotte's sued, they settled but he's probably right about everything that happened. Read this
I didn't like anything except "Wolf At The Table", a Stephen King-ish autobio about life with his father. Would make a great creepy movie.
As a young adult, he tells about how he lived for years in an apartment that was a pigsty, in which he peed to bed and rarely showered, junk all over the floor. But went off to work every day and nobody knew.
I agree with R1. Clearly, a lot of Sedaris' work is embellished, but based on incidents and personalities that did happen. Their fantastical nature and his affection for those close to him (and the oddballs he observes) makes them winning. I've never found him malicious when he managed to reduce people and his interactions with them to their essence, somehow. His characters always retained some humanity and he clearly loves his family (with the exception of the evil YaYa).
Burroughs was nothing more than self-serving, malicious, and deceitful. People didn't have quirks or struggles or weaknesses, they were all assholes. He did mention how he was helped and liked at least one of the daughters, but you never really got that feeling. It was pretty obvious that he was confabulating an awful lot.
Interesting that both achieved fame in sobriety and one really isn't "sober," at least in recovery terms.
His "comedy" book 'Sellovision' was inexplicably at the top of Amazon.com's gay fiction titles for years. I finally got a free copy and while it was amusing, I don't understand how it was a bestseller.
Then a book industry pal told me that a lot of "bestsellers" are only listed as such because the publishers have excess copies, shipped so many (in the old analog days), so sellers were pushing it to get all the extra copies out of their warehouses.
Scissors was hilarious!
Augusten Burroughs...I don't know what that is and I won't dignify it with a response.
I agree with R26.
Overrated as all get out.
Burroughs sucks and tries to rip off Sedaris all the time. The only reason people get them confused is the gay addict connection. i love DS and my sister got his autograph in November. She is a high school teacher and one of her kids went to his show and told DS he would be in trouble for being late, DS wrote a note to my sister saying "Dear Miss ___ Please excuse Hal today, he was late because he was changing my colostomy bag, sincerely, David Sedaris. My sister texted me a picture of the note and I put it on facebook but nobody seems to care. I do, DS is a cool guy.
[quote]Then a book industry pal told me that a lot of "bestsellers" are only listed as such because the publishers have excess copies, shipped so many (in the old analog days), so sellers were pushing it to get all the extra copies out of their warehouses.
You and your pal don't know what you are talking about.
I fucked him once
I believe he made it all up. I had a chance to talk to him once. I was surprised that the first thing he said to me was that he had taken "creative license" with his work. I didn't ask him about that, he simply volunteered that information. And he insisted that readers were aware that memoir writers make up a lot of stuff for dramatic purposes and to advance the story. I think the fact that he openly talked to me about this showed just where his mind was. He's a liar.
The messed up family he was sent to live with probably just smelled money and wanted a cut. They got it, but they're still sick and creepy. Just watch the movie.
Any non-fiction author who is male and white should steer clear of Oprah. She'll eat them alive for the embellishments, composite characters and changes for the sake of clarity that turns personal experiences into readable stories.
While Oprah is doing her condescending, "voice of God" condemnation and expressing her utter shock that a writer might make his life story readable-something she can't seem to bear, even though it's necessary for a book-she'll count on her millions of worshippers to pretend she's in love with Steadman and only best friends with Gayle.
Oprah's hiding the true nature of her relationship with Gayle may not have driven her to ruin, as a similiar arrangement did for Whitney Houston, but it may be because Oprah takes her rage out on men in general, male writers in particular, and of course she clearly turns to food to deal with her feelings.
R57 is in the middle of a stroke.
someone call 911
R57 = Augusten, still incapable of writing a readable sentence.