A Wolf at the Table
by Augusten Burroughs
I was hooked on this new-to-me author after reading Running with Scissors. That memoir described his screwed up life and specifically his relationship with his mother, whereas The Wolf at the Table focused on Burroughs' relationship with his father.
Although I didn't love this book quite as much as Running with Scissors, it was still fascinating, gripping and sad. Burroughs' childhood was dysfunctional to say the least. In my Running with Scissors review I mentioned that his upbringing was almost unbelievable, but apparently it really was as awful as he described.
In this book he tells how he often dreamt of killing his father. If you read the book, you'll understand why. Just a tiny glimpse: His father would not touch him. Ever. If the author tried to hold his father's hand or sit in his lap, he pushed him away. He never felt his father's loving gaze upon him or loving arms around him. Burroughs finally resorted to stealing a pair of his father's pants, shirt and belt, and stuffing them with pillows. He then sprayed the "body" with cologne and snuggled with it, pretending it was his father because he was so starved of affection. Also - and I don't want to dissuade anyone from reading this book - but his father did unspeakable things to the family pets.
I found it interesting that in this memoir he describes his mother as sort of his protector and "normal" parent when according to Running with Scissors she was anything but.
It's sad enough when a child is raised by one parent with a mental illness, but when both are afflicted, it most certainly is a tragedy.
For more info on this author go to http://augusten.com