Click here to read reviewer Heather Darcy's take on A Wolf at the Table.
A Wolf at the Table is the esteemed author's first
full-length memoir, and it was going to be received with a lot of anticipation attached to it.
Burroughs has established himself as an insightful and painfully clever writer in previous books -
Dry and Running With Scissors - and he has set a terribly bar for himself. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite reach it here.
One of the main reasons why
is because this is twice-trodden territory. He's revealed his life with father in earlier works, and though there's obviously a lot more detail here, we kind of already know how this one ends.
Another review mentions that "absent is the wry humor of
Running With Scissors" as if this is a good thing. It is not. One of Burroughs' most remarkable qualities is turning the horror of a situation into something to smile about. David Sedaris has that wicked talent of being able to entertain us even when confronting terrible events.
Additionally, and this is a small thing, but there are several misspells here. And these are not typos; these are not editorial overlooks. One would guess these are Augusten's choices. On page 215, he writes, "It was beginning to curl up and whither; soon it would evaporate away entirely. The author spells
wither (the correct word) as whither; that is simply strange.
The honesty of his recollections is touching; the writing is not. He's best when he makes us laugh at the unlaughable. And he's not at his best with this one. Still, you need to read this one if you've read his others.