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Sick Puppy That Barks Really Mean at the Table

October 26, 2009

A%20Wolf%20at%20the%20Table

Contrary to Augusten Burroughs’ personal belief, old man Burroughs isn’t such a terrible man. He’s just not the type of father you’d want to hug after coming home from school. He’s also not the type  you’d give an affectionate, spontaneous son to father kiss on any given day. But daddy Buroughs is not completely deserving of the supposedly symbolic Wolf in Augusten’s A Wolf at the Door. To be honest, Augusten’s father simply wasn’t much of a father figure and that is it. But for little Augusten maybe that’s enough to earn him the title Worst Father of America. But he’s not my father so it’s probably best not to judge.

The people in Augusten’s life, his family and those very close to him, do they perhaps daydream about murdering him? If his allegedly psychotic mother were alive and read his memoirs, would she disown him? And his father, if it were physically possible, would he roll in his grave and maybe choke Augusten to death or scare him to insanity? To be fair, Augusten doesn’t quite paint a very ugly picture of his mother as much as he did in previous books where she was described as crazy, aggressive and unstable while his father was mostly a mere apparition. In here, her mother grows a heart and his father takes center stage. If you’ve read any of his previous books, you’d wonder just how he could get away with all the things he said about them and manage to make it appear like he truly cares about them more than his vain, writery self who maybe needs to fulfill contractual publishing obligations. The difference probably lies in the fact that Augusten Burroughs is a New York Times Bestselling author, a distinction that the average father/family disser would want to achieve first before he gets away with saying shit about anyone. And also, that Mr Burroughs is probably telling  truth.

To up the creepy father ante, Augusten shows only brief flashes of wit and focuses instead on the minute details of daddy’s meanness such as willing the household pet to bark at him and his mom and drive said mom insane and him to a strange psychotherapist’s house which he would later on write about and get rich off of. If you think about it, he actually ought to write his father a check for all the books he’s sold (Running With Scissors) because he made his life equal parts interesting/school-free and independent/unbearably loony. I would never understand how it feels to be sent to your psychiatrist’s home and live with nearly insane women-children so again, I shouldn’t judge. But by book’s third quarter, I sort of get the feeling that his dad just isn’t very deserving of this.

One also has to consider the fact that fathers and gay sons, NOT the best of friends. In some cases, not even civil to each other. But mostly, never. In Augusten’s special case, a philosopher/Karl Marx-quoting university professor father and Vidal Sassoon-worshiping and would be NY Times Bestselling memoirist son = foes forever.

I suppose that if one wishes to badmouth one’s family member or anyone, it would have to be in a strictly literary way, which Augusten does effortlessly. It would have to be in such a movie screeplay-in-the-making kind of way so that one could get away with it with impunity. That if one wishes or itches to say ‘My brother is a worthless piece of shit’ or ‘My sister is a slut who conceives 2 sons and leaves the other at home while she skanks around with her sorry excuse of a husband’, one would have to be ambitious enough to stretch such ugly sentiments to about at least 300-400 pages and not just through one lousy tweet or corny blog post, although sometimes either of the two works too. And if disser is skilled enough to really go at it, pronounce his family as Shit to the world and manage to amuse people at his impressively written but ill-conceived memoir, by all means write it. Otherwise, it would be greatly economical to just pollute the web with your ugly, fake identity and even uglier and sometimes fake blues.

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3 Responses to “Sick Puppy That Barks Really Mean at the Table”


  1. […] or nerve to write about the folks, as to let the world know about daddy’s drinking (Hello, Augusten Burroughs), with which to eventually get rich off of. I’m sure that someone out there is having a […]


  2. […] his dad sort of got upset on one of his Christmases is what I thought I should set myself up for. A Wolf at the Table really scarred me, if you must know. It scarred me deeply. But no. Augusten shocked me with genuine […]


  3. […] his dad sort of got upset on one of his Christmases is what I thought I should set myself up for. A Wolf at the Table really scarred me, if you must know. It scarred me deeply. But no. Augusten shocked me with genuine […]


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