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The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
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The Burn Journals

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The Burn Journals Cover

ISBN13: 9781400096428
ISBN10: 1400096421
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

When seventh period is finally over, I run to my locker and put all my books inside. I wont 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 dont really want to say anything, I dont want to tell them what Im going to do. I hand him the Ace of Spades and say, “Good-bye,” and I walk away. I hope theyll 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?”

“Im 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 Ive done, all the bad things Ive done, and all the pain Ive caused everyone.

My brother is playing basketball outside the house when I get home. Hes shooting free throws.

I rebound the ball for him and throw it back. I dont want to take any shots. I tell him the whole story, about what I did and what theyre going to do to me. I dont tell him what Im going to do to myself.

When Im done talking, he says, “That sucks,” and I go inside the house. I dont 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 thats 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. Its wet and heavy, but theres 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 doesnt 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 cant breathe. Im screaming, “Craig! Craig!”

I fall down. Im going to die. Im going to find out what death is like. Im going to know. But nothings happening.

This hurts too much. I need to stop it. I need to get up. I stand. I dont know how I stand, but I do, and I turn on the shower. Im breathing water and smoke. I unlock the door and open it. My hand is all black. I walk out. Theres Craig with Rusty, our dog, next to him. They have the same expression on their faces.

Craig yells something and runs downstairs. I think hes calling 911. Im following him. He hands me the phone and runs off. Theres a woman on the phone asking me questions. I try to tell her whats happened, but my voice sounds choked and brittle. Theres something wrong with my voice.

The woman on the phone says the fire trucks and ambulances are on their way. Somehow she knows my address. Craig is gone now, gone to get Mom, and Rusty is hiding somewhere. Smoke is coming from the bathroom upstairs and I can see that the whole room has turned black. I look down and see my flesh is charred and flaking and the glow-in-the-dark boxer shorts are burnt into my skin.

The woman on the phone says everything is going to be all right, and I believe her. She has a nice voice. She keeps asking me if Im still on fire and I say, “I dont think so.”

Im walking around the kitchen, waiting for the ambulance to come. I can see my reflection in the microwave. Wheres my hair? Where did my hair go? Is that my face?

We used to put marshmallows in the microwave. We used to watch them get bigger and bigger and then shrink down.

“Oh God, just tell them to get here, just tell them to get here, okay?”

She says, “Its okay. Theyre coming. Theyre almost there.”

“Im so sorry. Im so sorry.”

“Its okay, thats okay.”

I can hear the sirens in the distance now.

I say, “I want to lie down. Im going to lie down.” It hurts to talk. I think theres something wrong in my throat.

“You cant lie down.”

“But I have to.”

“Okay, you can lie down.”

The men are here. The firemen are here. Theyre putting me on a plastic sheet. They say Im going to be okay. One of them puts something over my face. That feels good. That feels so good. The cold air feels so good going into my lungs.

What are they talking about? What are they saying? Theyre giving me a shot. They say its going to make the pain go away. Make the pain go away.

Im looking at the faces of all the men who are gathered around me. Their eyes are so blue and so clear.

I turn my head and see Craig in the front hall. Hes yelling and punching the walls. Hes angry.

And my mom is here, and shes smiling and saying she loves me, and her eyes, which are green like my eyes, are the most beautiful things Ive ever seen.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

theteenmommy, May 12, 2012 (view all comments by theteenmommy)
After reading Running with Scissors by Runyon, I knew I needed more of his words in my brain. Although the book moves slowly and makes me wonder how Runyon remembered conversations so precisely, it was still incredible to read and made me want more. As a former suicide-risk, this book really spoke to me in a way that I know could only happen because I went through that experience. Despite this, there was a complete lack of hope in Runyon's mind, which made me finish it wondering what happened afterwards. Still a great read, nonetheless.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
shadow_moon, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by shadow_moon)
This book was incredible. As a woman with depression, this book spoke to me. While graphic, the book is moving. It does not feel fake or forced as some non-fiction and fictional stories about suicide and depression do. Anyone who is curious about how people who are suicidal feel, or for people who want to better know themselves should read this book. It gives you better insight into your life, and to other people's lives. Everyone needs to make this book apart of their lives.
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nataliegudermuth, November 7, 2010 (view all comments by nataliegudermuth)
I read this book when I was about 12 I am now 15 and it has been 3 years since i read it yet i still remember the name and only till now have I actualy decided to look up the auther that i fell in love with his younger self at only 12 which is crazy the book didnt mean anything to me till much later on when i realized the vibes it put out it a wonderful book and i hope to read it again soon. >^-^<
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400096428
Author:
Runyon, Brent
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Author:
Various
Subject:
General
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography - General
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Biography / Autobiography
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
Suicidal behavior
Subject:
Social Situations - Suicide
Subject:
Social Issues - Suicide
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : General
Subject:
Runyon, Brent
Subject:
Teenage boys - Virginia
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Biography
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20051031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.00x5.30x.72 in. .55 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Children's » Nonfiction » Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Suicide
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Featured Titles
Young Adult » General
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Biographies
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Teen Issues

The Burn Journals Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9781400096428 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Despite its dark subject matter, this powerful chronicle of Brent's journey to heal expresses hope, celebrates life and provides an opportunity to slip inside the skin of a survivor with a unique perspective." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "[The Burn Journals] describes a particular kind of youthful male desolation better than it has ever been described before, by anyone."
"Review" by , "An excruciating, brilliant book...WOW."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Runyon has, perhaps, written the defining book of a new genre, one that gazes...unflinchingly at boys on the emotional edge."
"Review" by , "A taut, chilling account of the author's attempt to commit suicide...a must-read for teenagers struggling with self-doubt."
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