A Wolf at the Table

Augusten Burroughs is the only person in the entire world who can make me feel like I had a normal childhood.

Perhaps it's the order we're reading them in but slowly we're starting to think perhaps, just maybe Augusten has some problems. In Magical Thinking, we think what an interesting guy. In Running with Scissors what an F'ed up childhood. It's a good lesson for the spawn, any time they think I'm a rough mom I just hand them a passage. They drop to their knees thanking the Flying Spaghetti monster, they have it so easy. However we still think- it's amazing he's escaped with so few scars and can still function like a normal person. In Dry, we learn about his drinking problem and all he went through to quit. We start to think- OK maybe his childhood affected him a little more than we thought. By the time we got to A Wolf at the Table- we know, he didn't escape. His childhood still festers inside like a wound that never heals.

I don' t know what on earth he is going to do when he runs out of childhood trauma. Man-child's favorite book of all time is still Sellevision. He often tells me he wishes Augusten will go back to fiction one day.

Every time a serial killer is discovered, you always hear on the nightly news.... "But he was such a nice boy- so helpful. He kept to himself, didn't say much." Deep inside, I always wonder- didn't the family have a clue. Didn't they wonder at least to themselves if something wasn't right? How can a person hide their true selves 24/7 from those closest?

Augusten answers that question. In his newest installment of childhood horror and abuse, he shares what it's like to live with someone who's missing that essential spark of humanity. That little piece of empathy that keeps us all sane and functioning. Honest, heartbreaking, Augusten can describe a scene in such a way your teeth hurt because your heart breaks for the child he was. 

Reading this story makes me want to gather the children in my arms and tell them with everything I have, how much I love them. It reminds me to listen, really listen when they talk. Even when they are talking over each other.

We were listening to the end of this tale of woe in the car the other day. Man-child turned to me and says "Can you even imagine the fan mail and people that come up to him at book signings and in the street. He has got to hear from some of the biggest freak shows ever. He's probably heard some of the worst stories." I agree- he probably has.




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