ISBN13:978-1400096428 ISBN10: 1400096421 This edition has also been released as: ISBN13: 978-0375826214 ISBN10: 0375826211
Summary: I don't want to get out of bed. I'm so stupid. I did so many things wrong. I don't know what to do. I'm going to be in so much trouble. What am I going to do? I'm completely screwed. In 1991, fourteen-year-old Brent Runyon came home from school, doused his bathrobe in gasoline, put it on, and lit a match. He suffered third-degree burns over 85% of his body and spent the next year recovering in hospitals and rehab facilities. During that year of physical recovery, Runyon began to ques
tion what he'd done, undertaking the complicated journey from near-death back to high school, and from suicide back to the emotional mainstream of life. In the tradition of Running with Scissors and Girl, Interrupted, The Burn Journals is a truly remarkable book about teenage despair and recovery.
Summary: I don't want to get out of bed. I'm so stupid. I did so many things wrong. I don't know what to do. I'm going to be in so much trouble. What am I going to do? I'm completely screwed. In 1991, fourteen-year-old Brent Runyon came home from school, doused his bathrobe in gasoline, put it on, and lit a match. He suffered third-degree burns over 85% of his body and spent the next year recovering in hospitals and rehab facilities. During that year of physical recovery, Runyon began to question what he'd done, undertaking the complicated journey from near-death back to high school, and from suicide back to the emotional mainstream of life. In the tradition of Running with Scissors and Girl, Interrupted, The Burn Journals is a truly remarkable book about teenage despair and recovery. ...show less
Edition/Copyright:04 Cover: Paperback Publisher:Vintage Books Year Published: 2004 International: No
View Author Bio
Brent Runyon is a regular contributor to public radio's This American Life, where portions of this story first appeared. The author lives on Cape Cod, MA. From the Hardcover edition.
View Sample Chapter
When seventh period is finally over, I run to my locker and put all my books inside. I won't need them anymore. I grab my lock-picking set and a spare Ace of Spades that I have lying around. At the end of the hallway, I can see Stephen talking to Megan, the girl we both have a crush on. I walk up to them and say hi. She smiles at me and I try to smile back. He looks a little suspicious. I don't really want to say anything, I don't want to tell them what I'm going to do. I hand him the Ace of Spades and say, ''Good-bye,'' and I walk away. I hope they'll be happy together. I see my friend Jake at his locker and give him the lock-picking set. ''Use them wisely,'' I say, and head toward the bus. Laura walks with me down D hall. She says, ''Hey, I heard you set that fire in gym class.'' ''Yeah.'' ''What are you going to do?'' ''I'm going to set myself on fire.'' She stops at her locker, and I keep walking. On the bus ride home, I sit by myself. I lean my head against the cold glass window and try not to think about all the stupid things I've done, all the bad things I've done, and all the pain I've caused everyone. My brother is playing basketball outside the house when I get home. He's shooting free throws. I rebound the ball for him and throw it back. I don't want to take any shots. I tell him the whole story, about what I did and what they're going to do to me. I don't tell him what I'm going to do to myself. When I'm done talking, he says, ''That sucks,'' and I go inside the house. I don't have to write a note anymore. Craig knows everything. I walk out to the shed to get the gas can. I bring it inside to the bathroom at the top of the stairs because that's the room with the most locks. I go back downstairs and get the matches from the kitchen. I take off all my clothes and put on the pair of red boxers with glow-in-the-dark lips that my mom bought for me at the mall last weekend. I bring my bathrobe into the shower and I pour the gasoline all over it. The gas can is only about a quarter full, but it seems like enough. I step into the bathtub and I put the bathrobe over my shoulders. It's wet and heavy, but there's something kind of comforting about the smell, like going on a long car trip. I hold the box of matches out in front of me in my left hand. I take out a strike-anywhere match and hold it against the box. Should I do it? Yes. Do it. I strike the match, but it doesn't light. Try again. I light the match. Nothing happens. I bring it closer to my wrist and then it goes up, all over me, eating through me everywhere. I can't breathe. I'm screaming, ''Craig! Craig!'' I fall down. I'm going to die. I'm going to find out what death is like. I'm going to know. But nothing's happening. This hurts too much. I need to stop it. I need to get up. I stand. I don't know how I stand, but I do, and I turn on the shower. I'm breathing water and smoke. I unlock the door and open it. My hand is all black. I walk out. There's Craig with Rusty, our dog, next to him. They have the same expression on their faces. Craig yells something and runs downstairs. I think he's calling 911. I'm following him. He hands me the phone and runs off. There's a woman on the phone asking me questions. I try to tell her what's happened, but my voice sounds choked and brittle. There's something wrong with my voice. The woman on the phone says the fire trucks and ambulances are on their way. Somehow she
''[The Burn Journals] describes a particular kind of youthful male desolation better than it has ever been described before, by anyone.'' -Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon ''A fascinating account of the mending of a body and mind, told with the simple and honest sensibility of someone too young to have endured so much.'' Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha ''Runyon has, perhaps, written the defining book of a new genre, one that gazes...unflinchingly at boys on the emotional edge .'' -Booklist (starred review) ''A taut, chilling account of the author's attempt to commit suicide...a must-read for teenagers struggling with self-doubt.''-The Denver Post ''An excruciating, brilliant book...WOW.'' A.M. Homes, author of Things You Should Know From the Trade Paperback edition.
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