Adventures with Augusten
Memoirist Burroughs appears at SMG on Friday
In his memoirs, Augusten Burroughs reveals his adolescent relationship with a decades-older psychiatric patient, his stint in rehab for alcohol abuse, and the doctor-endorsed fake suicide attempt that released him from the rigors of middle school. His work has been called “hilarious,” “freakish,” “blacker than a thousand midnights,” and “mordantly funny.”
He’s also been called a liar — the family allegedly portrayed in his childhood memoir Running with Scissors sued him last year for fraud and defamation and demanded that the publisher reclassify the book as a work of fiction. That hasn’t yet happened, but when the author’s latest work, Possible Side Effects, was released earlier this year, it came with this disclaimer: “Some of the events described happened as related, others were expanded and changed.”
Burroughs will speak about some of these events — and is likely to face questions about their veracity — when he appears at the School of Management on Friday evening, May 5, for a reading, book signing, and a Q&A with audience members.
His first published work was 2000’s Sellevision, a novel about home-shopping television, but Burroughs gained national attention with Running with Scissors, which chronicled his adolescence living with his mother’s psychiatrist. Dry, an account of his struggle with alcoholism and his time in rehab, followed in 2003, and Magical Thinking, a collection of essays, was published in 2004. A film version of Running with Scissors, starring Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, and Gwyneth Paltrow, is scheduled for release this year.
Burroughs has responded to charges that he invented — or at least exaggerated — the details of his memoirs with claims that he kept journals throughout his bizarre childhood. “It was so profoundly isolating and uncomfortable that I had to write,” he told the Hartford Courant earlier this year. “I … had to talk to somebody about it, and I didn’t have anyone to talk to.”
Part of the Barnes and Noble at Boston University author series, the Burroughs event is at the School of Management Auditorium, 595 Commonwealth Ave., at 7 p.m. Free tickets are available at SMG beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday.