This is an autobiography about Burroughs’ life between the ages of 12-17. His mother is psychotic and gives him away when he is about 12 yrs old to her even crazier psychiatrist. The psychiatrist has a slew of crazy kids and patients living in his filth ridden house where both the dog and the toddler shit anywhere they want in the house. Some of the highlights of the books are when Augusten discovers he’s gay and has a vividly described relationship with a creepy thirty-something patient that is also living in the house or when he decides he doesn’t want to go to school anymore so the psychiatrist/pseudo-father figure has him overdose on drugs and alcohol so that he ends up in the mental ward of a hospital.
Burroughs’ has often been compared to Sedaris, and while his writing is extremely witty, Sedaris is very believable, while this book was just too over the top. I have to believe that Burroughs didn’t embellish, but you can’t honestly believe that the psychiatrist was able to practice for so many years and that his crazy house went unnoticed by social services. Assuming that the story is true, then it is pretty amazing that Augusten turned out to be a NY Times bestselling author.
This story certainly made me feel like mother of the year and made by Jewish guilt about not spending enough quality time with my kids seem ridiculous.