The Burn Journals

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Fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, Running with Scissors and  Girl, Interrupted will be entranced by this remarkable true story of teenage despair and recovery

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.

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About the author

Brent Runyon is a writer and regular contributor to public radio programs, including This American Life, where portions of his award-winning memoir, The Burn Journals, first aired. Booklist praised The Burn Journals as “the defining book of a new genre, one that gazes unflinchingly at boys on the emotional edge.” In his novels Maybe and Surface Tension, he retains that raw honesty. Mr. Runyon lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Oct 11, 2005
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780307276957
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Psychology / Developmental / Adolescent
Psychology / Suicide
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“A harrowing, beautiful, searching, and deeply literary memoir. In these pages, we watch Cree LeFavour evolve from a wounded (and wounding) lost girl to a woman who can at last regard her existence with a modicum of mercy and forgiveness...a story of true self-salvation and transformation.”—Elizabeth Gilbert

As a young college graduate a year into treatment with a psychiatrist, Cree LeFavour's began to organize her days around the cruel, compulsive logic of self-harm: with each newly lit cigarette, the world would drop away as her focus narrowed to an unblemished patch of skin calling out for attention and the fierce, blooming release of pleasure-pain as the burning tip was applied to the skin. Her body was a canvas of cruelty; each scar a mark of pride and shame.

In sharp and shocking language, Lights On, Rats Out brings us closely into these years, allowing us to feel the pull of a stark compulsion taking over a mind. We see the world as Cree did—turned upside down, the richness of life muted and dulled, its pleasures perverted. The heady, vertiginous thrill of meeting with her psychiatrist, Dr. X—whose relationship with Cree is at once sustaining and paralyzing—comes to be the only bright spot in her mental solitude.

Her extraordinary access to and inclusion of the notes kept by Dr. X during treatment offer concrete evidence of Cree’s transformation over 3 years of therapy. But it is her own evocative and razor-sharp prose that traces a path from a lonely and often sad childhood to her reluctant commitment to and emergence from a psychiatric hospital, to the saving refuge of literature and eventual acceptance of love. Moving deftly between the dialogue and observations from psychiatric records and elegant, incisive reflection on youth and early adulthood, Lights On, Rats Out illuminates a fiercely bright and independent woman’s charged attachment to a mental health professional and the dangerous compulsion to keep him in her life at all costs.
“A funny, seasoned take on dashed illusions.”—O Magazine 

“I love everything Meredith Maran writes. She is insightful, funny, and human, and the things she writes about matter to me deeply. Her memoir, The New Old Me, is a book I don’t just want to read—I need to read it. So does everyone else who’s getting older and wants to live fully, with immediacy and enjoyment, which is to say, everyone.”—Anne Lamott, author of Hallelujah Anyway

For readers of Anne Lamott, Abigail Thomas, and Ayelet Waldman comes one woman's lusty, kickass, post-divorce memoir of starting over at 60 in youth-obsessed, beauty-obsessed Hollywood.

After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life’s savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran leaves her San Francisco freelance writer’s life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but also herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes “a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time” (Christina Baker Kline, number-one New York Times–bestselling author of Orphan Train).

Praise for The New Old Me:

“High time we had a book that celebrates becoming an elder! Meredith Maran writes of the difficulties of loss and change and aging, but makes it clear that getting on can be more interesting, more fun, and a lot more exciting than youth.”—Abigail Thomas, author of the New York Times bestseller What Comes Next and How to Like It
 
“By turns poignant and funny, the book not only shows how one feisty woman coped with a ‘Plan B life’ she didn't want or expect with a little help from her friends. It also celebrates how she transformed uncertainty into a glorious opportunity for continued late-life personal growth. A spirited and moving memoir about how ‘it's never too late to try something new.’”—Kirkus
A New York Times Bestseller

Renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen offers a revolutionary look at the brains of teenagers, dispelling myths and offering practical advice for teens, parents and teachers.

Dr. Frances E. Jensen is chair of the department of neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. As a mother, teacher, researcher, clinician, and frequent lecturer to parents and teens, she is in a unique position to explain to readers the workings of the teen brain. In The Teenage Brain, Dr. Jensen brings to readers the astonishing findings that previously remained buried in academic journals.

The root myth scientists believed for years was that the adolescent brain was essentially an adult one, only with fewer miles on it. Over the last decade, however, the scientific community has learned that the teen years encompass vitally important stages of brain development.  Samples of some of the most recent findings include:

Teens are better learners than adults because their brain cells more readily "build" memories. But this heightened adaptability can be hijacked by addiction, and the adolescent brain can become addicted more strongly and for a longer duration than the adult brain.Studies show that girls' brains are a full two years more mature than boys' brains in the mid-teens, possibly explaining differences seen in the classroom and in social behavior.Adolescents may not be as resilient to the effects of drugs as we thought. Recent experimental and human studies show that the occasional use of marijuana, for instance, can cause lingering memory problems even days after smoking, and that long-term use of pot impacts later adulthood IQ.Multi-tasking causes divided attention and has been shown to reduce learning ability in the teenage brain. Multi-tasking also has some addictive qualities, which may result in habitual short attention in teenagers.Emotionally stressful situations may impact the adolescent more than it would affect the adult: stress can have permanent effects on mental health and can to lead to higher risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression.

Dr. Jensen gathers what we’ve discovered about adolescent brain function, wiring, and capacity and explains the science in the contexts of everyday learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making.  In this groundbreaking yet accessible book, these findings also yield practical suggestions that will help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent development.

The heartbreaking story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose life and death by suicide reveal the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today in this #1 New York Times Sports and Fitness bestseller

*Instant New York Times Bestseller*

#1 New York Times Monthly Sports and Fitness bestseller

If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started.

But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter.

WHAT MADE MADDY RUN began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.
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