Read It First: Books to read before you see the movie.
Once in a while, I hear about a film production of a book I really enjoyed. Since it is usually the case that film adaptations don’t live up to the source material, I want to recommend that people read the book first.
Running with Scissors: A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
It's hard to imagine a childhood more disturbing and relentlessly surreal than the one the author describes in this memoir. When his violent, nearly homicidal parents divorce, young Augusten lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his mother, a confessional poet battling a mental illness that manifests itself in consuming self-absorption and psychotic episodes. Deciding she needs more space for personal exploration and art, Augusten's mother packs her 12-year-old son off to the home of psychiatrist Dr. Finch, a wildly eccentric egomaniac; most of this memoir centers on Augusten's teenage years spent in this uncontrolled, profoundly bizarre household. Luckily, Burroughs tempers the pathos with sharp, riotous humor in stories that are self-deprecating, raunchy, sexually explicit (14-year-old Augusten becomes lovers with Neil, a Finch family member 20 years his senior), scatological, grotesque, and deeply affecting. Edgier but reminiscent of Dave Eggers' Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), this is a survival story readers won't forget.--Gillian Engberg