Read The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon Online


BRENT RUNYON WAS 14 years old when he set himself on fire. This is a true story.In The Burn Journals, Runyon describes that devastating suicide attempt and his recovery over the following year. He takes us into the Burn Unit in a children’s hospital and through painful burn care and skin-grafting procedures. Then to a rehabilitation hospital, for intensive physical, occupaBRENT RUNYON WAS 14 years old when he set himself on fire. This is a true story.In The Burn Journals, Runyon describes that devastating suicide attempt and his recovery over the following year. He takes us into the Burn Unit in a children’s hospital and through painful burn care and skin-grafting procedures. Then to a rehabilitation hospital, for intensive physical, occupational, and psychological therapy. And then finally back home, to the frightening prospect of entering high school.But more importantly, Runyon takes us into his own mind. He shares his thoughts and hopes and fears with such unflinching honesty that we understand—with a terrible clarity—what it means to want to kill yourself and how it feels to struggle back toward normality.Intense, exposed, insightful, The Burn Journals is a deeply personal story with universal reach. It is impossible to look away. Impossible to remain unmoved.This truly riveting memoir is a spectacular debut for a talented new writer.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : The Burn Journals
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375926211
Format Type : Library Binding
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Burn Journals Reviews

  • M
    2019-04-20 17:06

    I had heard nothing but good reviews of this book. It's a memoir about a young boy who attempted suicide by burning and his recovery. While an interesting and honest read by turns, I felt only half of the story was being told. Perhaps that's all the author was dealing with at the time - or at the time of the writing. In either case, I felt that the emotional and psychological aspects of this journey were missing. That really left me flat. Not that I expected the answer to life's big questions, but there didn't seem to be much progress in this area from the opening line to the last page. There was a bit glossed over in the afterward on this topic, but I still had hoped for more. Then again, I've been told I have high expectations.

  • Iamshadow
    2019-04-13 16:02

    I have to admit, I read this as soon as I got home (took me about and hour and a bit, I think). I liked it a lot. It was gritty, genuine and thought provoking.I read some reviews on and some people were bitching about the writing style, and the fact that Brent post-burns was still OMG! a real person who got pissed off, disliked people and actually thought about sex and girls. To me, this is stupid. I mean, think of the situation. You're a fourteen and a half year old male who has been in almost total isolation for months, who hasn't had any stimulation besides TV, and you're naked on a massage table. A buxom 20-something year old woman is massaging you everywhere except your gentitals to stop the scar tissue hardening. What straight male in that situation wouldn't be desperately trying not to get a hard-on?Much of Brent's frustration comes from dealing with the irritating-as-shit psychologists (all "why do you say that?", "how do you feel about that?" and making him look at inkblots) he encounters, and the lack of programs for kids in his situation. At the rehabilitation hospital he was grouped with brain injury and spinal injury patients, and saw only one other burns kid. At the outpatient centre once he moved back home, all the others had eating disorders or drug issues.His descriptions of contact with celebrities Magic Johnson, Dennis Miller and Jay Leno paint an interesting view of what it's like to be a beacon for passing 'charity' visits. He doesn't glorify the experience out of proportion, rather, puts it in perspective. Magic spent only a few minutes with Brent, Dennis took him for a spin in a limo, towards the end complaining to the driver that he'd better not be lost because he had a plane to catch. Both offered tickets for shows, then are gone. Brent doesn't hold back discribing the awkward silences, and unreality of the situations. It portrays these encounters as what they really are. Rather than glorious turning points, they are blips on a radar. Anomalies that change little in Brent's life.I liked this book. It wasn't syrupy and saccharine, with a 'Brent's now a lovely person who's achieved so much' ending. You feel Brent's frustration with life, both prior to his suicide attempt and during his recovery. His family isn't perfect, he isn't sweet, courageous and lovable like some people seem to think people with 'special needs', 'obstacles' and 'struggles' should be. He's someone who touched bottom, lived through it, and is trying to get on with his life.

  • Karen
    2019-03-29 19:47

    At age fourteen Brent Runyon came home from a bad day at school, doused himself with gasoline, and lit a match. Immediately, he regretted his painful suicide attempt. By the time help came he had already suffered second and third degree burns to 85% of his body. The stuff of dark fiction? No, the memoir of a young man whose story is as compelling as it is horrifying. Though Brent survived, the following months were undoutbedly the most painful of his life. He went through skin grafts, burn treatment, physical therapy and psychoanalysis, luckily all with his family by his side. The question that everyone kept asking, and the one Brent couldn't answer was, why? Why did you do this? Slowly it becomes clear, that he was suffering from a terrible depression, one he could not explain to anyone, not even to himself. In the afterword, the author points out that his story of depression and the slow road to recovery is one that millions of teens could also tell--"the only thing unique about my story is the rather unfortunate and dramatic way in which it tried to kill myself." I'd beg to differ--his story is unique not only because of the method of attempted suicide but in the way he is able to recreate the thought processes of the teenage boy he was. For example there are the words Brent says, and the words Brent thinks. A world of difference lies between the two. There is the Brent who wants everyone to like him, and the Brent who wants no one to look at him. There is the self-concious kid and the angry, confused kid who is capable of odd glimmers of deep self-knowledge. This memoir read like a novel, and the adult Brent never intrudes on the thought processes he recreates of his young self. It was both harrowing and enlightening and definitely worth the read.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-27 13:41

    FIRST - this book should not be placed in the Young Adult section. I know that it's based on when he was a teen but it's got so much talk about sex, drugs and every other word seems like a cuss word. Just doesn't seem teen appropriate for me. Plus I don't think a teenager would be able to understand or connect with the book and it's subject matters.This book was very helpful on giving insight on what it's like for people who have had something happened to them or feel out of the ordinary. I had a friend in high school who was in a car accident and was paralyzed from it and I thought that this had to be something similar as to how he felt when it came to seeing old friends again and starting a new life as a new person.Brent seemed a little off to me throughout the whole book. Like something just wasn't right. Even before the incident. He just had a crappy attitude but then everyone would call that typical teenage attitude. But even after the incident his attitude didn't seem to change much. He seemed like a good kid in his thoughts but to others he just seemed bratty.He wrote this book so well that I could sometimes empathize with him. It's so sad to be so young and make such a careless mistake and have to live with that for the rest of your life. For being such a young kid I thought that he dealt with it well.

  • danielle.rock
    2019-03-31 16:54

    I enjoyed this book a lot, it was written as though you were inside the mind of Brent, battling these dark thoughts and trying to figure himself out. The book is raw and honest, not leaving anything out. It started tragically but ended beautifully. I really enjoyed this book.

  • Faith
    2019-04-10 12:49

    This was raw and filled with truth. I was in tears and I laughed out loud and I related this young man. Please read this book.

  • Karrie
    2019-03-30 16:41

    I'm not a child psychologist so I don't always understand why teens gravitate towards books that are depressing, full of angst, always about incredible situations that most people don't find themselves in. Perhaps they need to read a story that is worse than their own perceived drama. I've worked with teenagers long enough to know that they feel their problems are the biggest and worst of anyone they know. They all worry about being popular and being picked on. They all worry that their best friends -- the one safe person in the world -- doesn't like them anymore. Even the most popular kids worry about not being popular anymore because they know what's down on the pecking order. There have been many books about teens growing up -- both fiction and non-fiction. As long as there are teenagers rewriting the story of growing up, these books will endure. As adults, most of us are probably really grateful to leave that time in our lives behind. Over and over again my friends say, "You couldn't pay me to be that age again," and I always agree. It would be easy for me to say to the teens I know, "Don't worry about this. In the scheme of life this isn't important," "It will pass," or You'll grow up and become an adult and you'll laugh at this." But the reality is that when teens are in that moment they can't even begin to hear those words. They are living the situation, they BECOME the situation whether they want to or not. In the book, The Burn Journals, anything anyone had said to Brent Runyon was met on deaf ears. He suffered from depression as an 8th grader, and he saw no point to life. That's why he came home from school one day, doused his housecoat with gasoline and lit himself on fire in his parent's bathroom. He sustained burns on 90% of his body and was in a burn unit for a year, undergoing surgeries to repair his body.As he was in the hospital he had nothing but time to reflect on why he had chosen that course, what made him do it, and how he was going to survive it. As the title states, this is a book in journal form so we hear Brent's voice, anguish and sorrow. Remarkably, we begin to hear his voice of optimism and hope as he fights for his life.While this is a book about an 8th grader, I'm torn whether someone only 14-years-old should read this. It's horrific. Yet it's written in a way that is accessible and really sends a message to the reader that your pain becomes your parents, siblings, friends, and teachers' pain when you decide to kill yourself. There is also a very strong message about what if you don't succeed, and are you prepared to do whatever you have to do to heal? The good news is that Brent Runyon does heal and grow up. He lives in Massachusetts and is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio's This American Life. This is a very accessible book that will take your emotions and wrap them up into knots. After I finished this book I was completely exhausted. I recommend this book for high school students. Awards:Winner - New York Public Library Books for the Teen AgeNominee 2007 - Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book AwardNominee 2007 - Missouri Gateway Readers AwardWinner 2006 - Pennyslvania Young Readers Choice Master ListWinner 2007 - Rhode Island Teen Book Master ListWinner 2006 - Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List

  • Carrie Solinger
    2019-04-09 16:53

    This is a poignant memoir by a man who relates his tale of his decision to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. I had high expectations for this book. Prior to reading, I had the impression that this would be a seminal work for others - as well as family and friends who know someone - suffering from depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal tendencies. I thought this narrative would provide 1) personal insights as to the thoughts and motivations for the author’s actions, and 2) that while actions have consequences, there are always alternatives.Unfortunately, this book falls severely short on so many levels. The stream-of-consciousness narrative style sets an effective tempo for the memoir. This format works well from the beginning of the book through the pivotal act and initial stages of his recovery. The moody mind of the unstable teenage boy set a portentous tone. The immediate thoughts, fears, and impressions that run like an out of control train through the author’s mind during this first part of the book are heart-rending. As the horror of his actions set in with the author, so do they with the reader. However, a stylistic shift would have served the author and the reader better in gaining insight into the latter stages of recovery and reflection. The author’s chosen stream-of-consciousness style, obviously does not allow for such "20/20-hindsight” perceptions to share with the reader. Instead, by continuing in the same manner, the rest of the book’s only major insights gleaned are the coarseness of a teenage boy’s mind.The author’s reticence to communicate with his therapists and family is disconcerting. The author may have been able to emotionally and mentally “recover” on his own. However, this does not mean that everyone can do the same. This is not made clear, and I think this is important to other, vulnerable readers, who may get the impression that a similarly tragic event is easy to navigate, once done. The therapists he describes are pitiable. Now, I know this is the author’s impression, but if it is anywhere near accurate, I am appalled. Equally, discontenting is the lack of explanations and insights in this narrative. Again, I blame this on the style as it leaves little to no latitude for the author to provide perceptions based on years of reflection. Similarly, many questions are raised, but are left dangling in the air, like a cliff-hanger for next season’s TV series premiere. Overall, I am left dissatisfied with the book. Maybe I set my expectations too high. Then, I find videos online of teenagers mimicking the “burn” scene for school projects. These productions are good at capturing the desolation felt by the author, but they lack the true horror of the aftermath, not just for the author but his family, friends, and community.

  • Hanna Noonan
    2019-04-03 12:45

    I think the authors purpose of writing this story is to help explain what stressed teens go through or how suicide can be a big deal towards teens. to inform the readers about suicide awareness, or even persuade them into knowing that maybe we can do things to stop suicidal thoughts towards themselves. Everyone has their own purpose of doing things. And this Author chose to express is in his book.The theme I got from the book when reading it was that accepting who you are is part of growing up. There is always trouble in your adolescence such as liking the same person as your friend. And getting in trouble at school. But accepting who you are as a person falls into the decision of killing yourself. Brent hated himself. he didn't appreciate what he had. That was why he decided to take his life. Another theme I got from the book was that the body has a innate will to survive. Brent made this fact about himself when he states that he had tried to take his life before as well as when he talks about turning on the shower and not knowing how it happened. Through his recovery he finds this inner strength that allows him to live. Strength will find you in times of weakness and show the world who you really are. Brent may have tried to kill himself but he proved that he is a strong character and will fight.The style of this novel is very quite and dark. It's first person narrator. The author tried to make it sound as real as he could, like you were right next to him while everything was happening. But more importantly, Runyon takes us into his own mind. He shares his thoughts and hopes and fears with such bright honesty that we understand. What it means to want to kill yourself and how it feels to struggle back toward normality. Intense, exposed, insightful, "The Burn Journals" is a deeply personal story. It is impossible to look away. Impossible to remain unmoved.The writer has to have an opinion too! The writers opinion on this story is simple and uncluttered. He tried to make this story dark and lonely. He knew if he used a good vocabulary and kept the readers in suspense, then they wouldn't want to put this book down. its hard to take your eyes off because you're so focused on what is going to happen next.

  • Marie Hockley
    2019-04-19 19:56

    A good book which shows insight into the mind of a teenage male who is battling depression and anxiety. It was very sad to see how helpless and lonely he felt at the time of his suicide attempt. His journey through recovery was interesting and informative. The author's notes at the end of the book put the magnitude of this disease in perspective. This book will stay with me for awhile as it reminds me that we never really know how someone is doing and even the "jokers" have very dark days.

  • Arminzerella
    2019-04-03 19:42

    This is the true story of Brent Runyon’s suicide attempt and recovery from the same. Brent is in 8th grade when he decides that he’s going to kill himself. This isn’t the first time he’s decided this either, but all of his other suicide attempts have failed. He’s tried slitting his wrists several times, but in each case didn’t make the cuts deep enough. He’s also tried overdosing on Advil, but 20 pills only made him sleepy. If you ask him why he wanted to die, he can’t even really explain it. He was just…depressed, or sad, or saw no other way out. He’d made some bad choices and felt overwhelmed by what the consequences would probably be, and he didn’t want his parents to be mad at him or disappointed. As he saw it, suicide would just eliminate the problems, all of them. But he isn’t a whole lot more successful when he decides to set himself on fire. For one thing, he hasn’t completely committed to the idea…but he’s already soaked his bathrobe in gasoline, and when he lights the match, suddenly there’s no more time to think about whether he’s really ready to die, because suddenly he’s on fire and everything hurts, and his skin is turning black. Most of this story is about Brent’s recovery process – what it takes to restore someone to health after they’ve intentionally set themselves on fire and burned off 85% of their skin. He’s got grafts to deal with, multiple surgeries, scarring (both mental and physical), and physical therapy to endure. He’s also hospitalized for months. And then there’s the physical disfigurement to consider and lots of time for him to wonder “Why the hell did I do this to myself?” I’m not sure there’s ever a satisfactory answer, because Brent doesn’t totally understand it himself. But it’s through this attempt to end his life that Brent comes to value it. This intriguing and detailed story will attract readers who like to take a walk on the darker side of life.

  • aoi aka
    2019-04-08 17:03

    I'm not sure what I was expecting out of this book. I certainly didn't expect an adult author to write this memoir of his suicide attempt as if he were still a teenager.And by that I don't mean his thoughts and feelings at the time of the attempt and the recovery through the burn unit and therapy. The mind of a teenager is a frightening thing with their selfishness and contempt for others, including family. It's more about how every phase of his recovery felt incomplete. Even the book's ending felt rushed and incomplete. The blurb mentioned his struggles to go back to high school and how he would handle going back to a school with new classmates and some old ones who would know what he had done. Some of it is mentioned, but that's as far as the book went. No word on how he actually handled that first year of school with his scars and the things he had to wear to minimize the scars.Overall, a disappointing read. This was a story that told a story, but didn't make me feel sorry for him and at times I wanted to chuck the book out a window.

  • Sencia
    2019-04-06 13:56

    I finished the book!!!! It tells Brent's experience after his "accident" and I find it very fascinating to know what he went through and how strong of a person he became. At the end I wish it would have told a little bit more about his first day back at school but I was glad it ended in a good note and also with an event that was the goal throughout the book. After reading this book I realized a lot about the world and how sometimes people that seem happy, may not be. While reading I wondered why nobody took him seriously when he said the things he was going to do to himself and why nobody seemed to care until he actually did something. I think that this book really proved that people don't always care until something bad happens to you.

  • Laura
    2019-04-01 14:52

    So hard to review.....This is a true story so I tried so very hard to feel for brent. Brent set himself on fire at 14 and suffered 85% burns. I dont know what I was hoping to get from this, but anger wasnt it.Brent set himself on fire at 14 as a suicide attempt (his 3rd attempt). I was expecting emotional torment followed by something like inspirational ending. What I got was a boy who had no idea why he set himself on fire but feels as though he was owed something for it.He showed NO regret nor much compassion for how much it effected his family.Throughout the book he tries to win the reader over to his way of thinking such as... I set myself on fire... why do I need to see psychologists? I wonder...I wanted something from this book... not sure what but anger WAS not it ...

  • Tara
    2019-04-10 15:06

    3.5 stars rounded down.The subject matter is sad and I feel that it's not right to criticize the "plot", as it is Runyon's life.Some stylistic devices could have been used better though. I had trouble with the choppy one-line dialogue. Often lost track of who was speaking, and had to reread much of the conversational material. Also, I didn't like the way Runyon talked about women. It was often vulgar and unnecessary, and I just wasn't comfortable with it.Other than those flaws, Runyon gives readers an honest look into the life of someone who, in his words, "made a mistake". If you read this book for anything, read it for the non-sugarcoated description of depression.

  • Mkittysamom
    2019-04-03 13:43

    What a storyI don't know what to say really. This is the story of a 7th grader ( I think, I know it was middle school) who sets himself on fire. As always the question is why? ..did he really get better? I felt cheated at the end of the story. I think that this book has promise, and I could relate to a lot of the feelings and emotions.

  • Madalena Elshoff
    2019-03-22 18:55

    I appreciate Brent Runyon's honesty in this piece that takes us through his journey of depression and his horrific suicide attempt. There are not enough books out there that deal with teenage depression. And usually not male teenagers either. Brent's resilience and his family's is incredible. The reason why I gave this a 3 was only because of the writing style which uses a lot of dialogue and at times gets a little mundane retelling some of the day-by-day events. But I guess that's why he titles it the Journals. I definitely appreciate his humor and how he brings us into the mind of a 14-year-old boy just trying to be normal and not understanding why he was so sad. As he takes you through his journey he tries to puzzle together the reason why he did what he did but realizes there is no why. This is an important realization for him and the reader because depression is not want anyone chooses to go through. This is an important book that gives us deeper insight into teenage depression.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-22 19:53

    Hey presto! A novel that actually made me feel something for a situation described through text for the first time in months!Often my choices in subject matter tend to be a bit morbid and depressing and long-ago the shock-value of anything even highly grotesque or gruesome or heart-wrenching seemed to have worn off on me. But 'The Burn Journals' finally broke that streak. When Runyon describes the way in which (view spoiler)[he dresses in his bathrobe and douses himself in gasoline before lighting a match and putting it to his sleeve (hide spoiler)] I felt a knot develop in my stomach and as I imagined the way he must've felt to have chosen such a horrific way to (view spoiler)[intentionally kill himself (hide spoiler)] I actually I caught myself feeling genuinely disturbed. I attribute this great impact to the fact that this is a true story. Brent Runyon attempted (view spoiler)[suicide (hide spoiler)] by fire. Brent Runyon wrote this novel. Not only is it one of the most genuine things I've ever read, I also enjoyed it because it seemed as if Runyon wasn't trying to make this novel something it wasn't. It is his interpretation of his life at the time of his (view spoiler)[attempted suicide (hide spoiler)] and thus comes across as raw and purely honest. Even though this novel is classified as a YA read, it's not a book I'll be giving to my thirteen year old cousin in a hurry. Give it a read if you've ever battled with crippling sadness, understand thoughts of suicide or if you just generally want to climb into the mind of a clinically depressed thirteen year old.

  • Charlotte
    2019-04-09 11:49

    I'm going to start by saying two things:1. I was pleasantly surprised with this book, and also didn't realize it was a true story2. People struggling with depression, self harm or suicidal thoughts should be cautious about reading this because it may be triggering.Alright, so as I said about, this is a book I had never heard of, but after reading it I discovered that Runyon has written two other books, both of which have found a place on my to-read list. I like the simplistic but eye-catching cover, and that's what drew me in as I scrolled through our local e-library listings. It was not until I finished the book that I discovered this story was true, and it made it even more powerful. I had wondered throughout the book how the author became so knowledgeable about burn care and all the other medical terminology, but this wasn't research - the author lived through it! And of course, after reading it I had to do some digging and found his website, where he explains his story and shows some of the pictures from his recovery.This memoir is written, as the title suggests, like a journal. He breaks it into larger sections based on where he was (the hospital, rehab, etc.). While there are occasional flashbacks, the vast majority of the book follows the timeline from the days leading up to his attempt, all the way through his recovery and to the point where he is back at high school. It cuts off very abruptly and I found myself wishing for more and wanting to see what happened when he started school again.Another important feature was the choppy and raw writing style, which I think is appropriate for this kind of memoir. You can't expect long and carefully crafted sentences when you are living through the hell of attempted suicide by fire. The story carries you through the authors immense pain, both physically and mentally.Brent as the author made Brent as the character a very relatable one. There is a lot of emotion and he is working through both physical and mental conflict and we see a progression of his character and the story goes on. Though it isn't always obvious, Brent works through the seven stages of grief for his actions and their consequences. That being said, he spends a long time in the anger stage, and most of this anger is directed at himself or to the psychologists. I can't say I disagree with him in that regard - some psychologists can be real assholes. I liked that Brent was uncensored, because living through that kind of pain is overwhelming and frustrating and it takes over your mind and body. I think that's part of the reason why I felt so connected with Brent - I have a rare genetic disease and have spent a lot of time in the hospital, and when you are in that much pain, nothing else in the world matters and it can consume you if you let it. As much as Brent himself developed over the course of this story, so did his relationships with others. He was very distant from his parents at the beginning, but we see a turn-around, especially at the moment where he breaks down with his mother. Serious illness and injury can be incredibly taxing on relationships, but it also reveals who your true friends and family are.The biggest conflict in this memoir is Brent versus himself. In spite of his physical pain, he is trying to work out why he did what he did, and what brought him there in the first place. When he is in the hospital he was asked many times about this, and he reveals that he doesn't know why he did it, nor does he still want to kill himself. I have never struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts, but I have close friends who have, and I know how difficult it is to live with. It can be hard to put a name to why an individual is depressed, which can make it even harder to recover.I have never read a story quite like this, and I am looking forward to reading more from Runyon. He did an excellent job, with the help of his friends and family, of cataloging this incredibly journey toward mental and physical healing, and he did so in a way that allows you to connect with Brent as a character. It was wonderful to see that Runyon is now an advocate for preventing suicide, particularly with people in their vulnerable teenage years. My favorite quote from this book would have to be:"You're all trying to figure out what went wrong inside my head. Fucking idiots. You'll never crack the code that's inside my head. You'll never get into my castle. You'll never even get past the gate.”.I like this quote because I can kind of relate to it. When you are struggling with health, there are moments where you just shut down, and you don't want anyone to know what's going on because you're just too tired to do anything about it. Overall I really enjoyed this book and finished it in a day because I just couldn't put it down. It was a fast read, but a very good one. I think it was powerful to me because I could connect on a personal level, and because I didn't realize it was a true story until the end. The book was good, though I found myself wanting more because the end cut off very abruptly and because of that I am giving this book four stars.

  • Emily Just Emily*~*
    2019-04-16 20:00

    Not for the faint of heart.

  • Ashley Swiggum
    2019-04-13 12:56

    This book is by far one of the best books I have ever read. This book is about Brent, a young boy who is in the 8th grade. He tried to commit suicide by soaking his bathrobe in gasoline and setting it on fire with a match. His brother is the one who found him on fire and called 911. Brent had 2nd and 3rd degree over 85% of his body and was in a lot of pain. Over a span of time he had so many surgery to fix his skin that had been burned really badly, but he also went through physical therapy for his joints and muscles. Throughout most of the book Brent is really depressed and he explains really well how he is feeling throughout all of this. I would really recommend this book to people who understand how depression can affect someone or even suicide, I think it is really worth the read.

  • Christian
    2019-04-09 14:58

    The Burn Journals is about Brent Runyon, who is 14 years old. He's popular, funny, and smart. But all of that is about to quickly change for him. During gym class, Brent thought it would be funny to light a shirt on fire. He does so, but soon the flame becomes to large to control. Out of impulse, Brent throws the shirt into a gym locker and he joins the rest of the gym class. The school gets the police into the business, and in fear Brent knows he's going to be in trouble, so he decides he's going to light himself on fire. After he gets home, he briefly tells his brother his intentions, then heads straight for the bathroom. He soaks his entire robe in gasoline, and lights a match. Before he can think, he's on fire. Thought's race through his mind, the main one being how he regretted his decision and no longer wanted to die. He's then airlifted out to the hospital, and days later he finally wakes up from a coma. Then his treatment begins, the hospital begins skin grafts, which is taking skin from various parts of the body and covering up the burnt skin. His story reaches out across the country to famous figures such as Magic Johnson. He receives gifts and get wells from everyone back home, but he doesn't care. He's too upset to care, upset with his decision and upset with the way he looks. After he is fairly well, his psychological treatment begins. Since it was a suicide attempt, Brent has to see a psychiatrist, whom he has a great disliking for. During his stay he refuses to talk to her, and calls her stupid through out the entire book. Besides his psychiatrist, Brent has a good relationship with the nurses, who basically become his best friends. On his very last day at the hospital, his favorite nurse takes him out to the movies and for ice-cream. He is absolutely thrilled by this, but that is quickly erased. This is Brent's first time in public, people are staring and this makes him uncomfortable. He realizes this is going to be a very hard struggle for him. Now its time for him to leave to a new hospital for his psychological problems. At this new hospital, the nurses aren't very nice. They abuse the patients and don't have the slightest bit of sympathy for them. Although not making any relationships with the nurses, Brent finds himself actually talking his new psychiatrist. But just like all other times, that relationship is broken when Brent finds that he will have not only one, but two new psychiatrists since his is moving away. Lucky for him, he is leaving, returning home for the first time in months. He has a tutor for a while, but then begins school at an alternative high school. He is there the longest out of everyone and doesn't gain any new friendships where most of them are in there for drugs and drinking issues. But on the plus side, Brent finally has a psychiatrist he trusts 100%. Brent finally see's his old friends, but this isn't as happy as you would think it'd be. All of his friends have grown up and matured, and he's still little Brent. He is no longer able to relate to any of his friends, but they try to be kind and friendly towards him. Brent is finally ready to go to public high school again. But, we only know how he feels getting ready to go into the high school, and then the book ends. I didn't really like this book, he was very upset, angry, and stubborn through out the ENTIRE book. So, I would not recommend it to anyone. He was very immature and had the worst attitude about everything and acted like he was better than everyone else in the book.

  • Evan Bautch
    2019-04-05 19:52

    Burn journals by Brent Runyon auto biographyThe burn journals was a great book, it showed me that reading is actually nice. Before this book I hated reading and got put into a reading class at school. My English teacher and my reading teacher were talking about this and it caught my attention. This book is about a young boy who is extremely sad and tries to attempt many suicides but he would either stand up before he would pass out or he wouldn’t cut himself deep enough. One day his friends had matches in the boy locker room and Brent thought it would be funny to light is, well it was dumb on his part because the hole match pack caught on fire. He panicked and threw them into a locker and put a lock on it, come to find out that there was a gym shirt in there, the whole locker was smoking and flaming so he opened the locker room windows to air it out. After class when they went in there he noticed it smelt like some kids were smoking cigarettes in there so the gym teacher didn’t pay that much attention to it. The next day when they had gym class the teacher came out with the burnt shirt and asked who did this, Brent didn’t say anything and neither did anyone ells but the teacher kept looking at him. A couple says after he got called down to the office and were asking him questions on who it was and if he saw anything but he just kept saying no. Brent kept thinking on how disappointed his parents would be in him if he got expelled, so after school that day he went home and got gasoline and his bathrobe. He locked himself in the bathroom and socked the robe in gas. He took a match and lights it and he caught on fire. The pain was too much for him to bear so he turned on the shower and put the fire out, at the same time he was yelling for his brother to come up. When he got up to the bathroom in bents room he was all black the whole house was black smoke and Brent was burned severely. His brother called 911 and his mother and Brent could hear the sirens all the way from his house, hi started to make his was down stares when he go to the front lawn the firemen were there and Brent collapsed when he woke up he was in the back of an alliance and some ladies was yelling at him to stay away but he fell asleep again, this time when he woke up he was in a helicopter they said they were taking him to a better hospital. By the time he woke up again he was already there and they were taking his burnt skin off. He stayed in that hospital for 4 months and had great relationships with the nurse Tina; he had many skin graphs and surgeries. Once he was released from there he went to a place called DuPont and he didn’t like it at first but he did eventually and he stayed there doing exercises to get his range of motion back, after there he went to another place but it was dumb for him because all the people there talked about their drug addictions, after that he carried on a normal life and started going to school and he tried to put this whole thing behind him

  • Hallei Morales
    2019-04-08 19:54

    This book talks about serious issues that goes through some teenagers minds daily. It starts with 14 year old Brent Runyon struggling to get out of bed to get ready for the day. Normal teenager tasks. But as the book progresses, into the next few pages he starts having suicidal thoughts. It seems like it's a normal occurrence for him. Brent was kind of like the class clown. He didn't really care about many things, and whether he knew it or not he was severely depressed. An incident happened at school one day and thought he was sure to be expelled. He felt bad enough to attempt suicide in an awful way. I chose this book because I was doing a research paper on teen suicide, and I thought this was a good book to get me started on having a general idea about it. The book was well written and pulled me in every time I picked it up. However, I would not recommend this book to anyone that has ever suffered from depression, or attempted suicide because this book could possibly be triggering in some type of way.

  • stephanie
    2019-04-07 16:01

    THANK YOU, MISS ABBY. i read this pretty quickly. it flows the way you would expect a YA book to, in this category, which is not supposed to demean the genre, but just saying it flows a little easier. there were a lot of things i wanted more of. i wanted more of dr. rubenstein. of the doctors after. of more time back in school. how it felt to graduate. if he still has scars. etc. etc. it was written though, in the first person, when he was 14. i think the best thing was how realistic the burn unit was. i have done some work on a burn unit, and god. i can't even imagine the pain of grafts and cleaning the new skin. i mean, really. i was very pleased that this was not glossed over, not at all. however, i was a little disturbed by the fact that brent never acknowledged why he did what he did. there were things at play that dr. rubenstein touched on. i don't think it's true that he didn't know why he did it. maybe he had this great wake-up moment upon setting the fire, but he does know why he did some things. even at 14. there's fear there, of failure, of disappointing people, etc. i was sad that he didn't take the time to acknowledge that, that he left the book on the end of "yay, happy ending! i'm all cured!" and boom. life doesn't work that way. i wish it. so, i love the realism of the burn injury, but i don't love the false-realism of the whole "i'm saved!" shock-attack. or, really, that the psychological repercussions were so weak. i mean, craig! his parents! etc! stephen leaving! megan! i want a follow up, personally. i want life at 20. i want more. but it was really quite good. life on a burn unit - not a place i think i could stay for a long time.

  • Sara Williams
    2019-03-27 16:51

    The fact it is a true story makes this book awfully hard to swallow. In 1991, and while 14, Brent Runyon decides to soak his robe in gasoline and set himself on fire. Brent obviously survives, but the consequences and the difficulty to survive is real, and the one is written, in diary style, in this book Runyon published.We follow Brent's journey while recuperating from his suicide attempt, along with his thoughts about his friends , past life and his family. I'll start off with the negative aspects, and it is clear that some people really complain about the writing style but what else are you really expecting a 14 year old to write? It is also very dull, and undoubtedly not captivating during the whole read but I also don't believe that was the book's intent. It bugged me Brent didn't mention his friends before the fire a lot. Didn't he miss them? Didn't he feel lonely? I wish these emotions had been better explored. I watched a video on Youtube about this book with pictures from the author and it literally did break my heart. How many times do we read fiction and don't bat an eye only because we know deep inside our characters don't have bodies and aren't suffering the pain we believe they were? In memoires that's not how it works, and after finishing the book I was left heartless and truly feeling for Brent. It is tragic to believe we live somewhere where mental issues and not feeling well in general by teenagers is glossed over by ''just a phase'' and ''teens get over it'' eventually. So very sad Brent had to go through this.I really enjoyed learning about Brent's life, but as I mentioned before, I wish feelings had been explored in greater depth.

  • Danielle
    2019-03-21 15:40

    The Burn Journals is a memoir written by Brent Runyon. When Brent was 14, he doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in an attempt to commit suicide. In this book, he recalls his life right before this life-changing event, and chronicles his physical and mental treatment over the next year.The book is written by Brent, and he tries to stay as true to what he thought, said and did during that period of his life. He does not ‘look back’; Brent writes as though this is his life right now. There is some, but not a lot, of insight into other people portrayed in this book. This is Brent’s story.The very disturbing question is “Why?”. Why would a funny, intelligent, good-looking teen with family and friendships do this to himself? I’m 300 pages in, and Brent has talked about his depression, his need for attention, and his previous suicide attempts, but he hasn’t answered that question. In fact, he says he doesn’t know why and cannot answer that question himself.Brent does write from a teen perspective about obviously very serious subject matter. He does talk very candidly about suicidal thoughts back to his childhood. The descriptions of his injury and treatment are somewhat graphic, but not overly so, considering. The book also contains descriptions of sexual experiencse as well as strong language (which seem pretty mild in contrast to the rest of the book). For mature teen readers.

  • Austin Dixon
    2019-03-31 16:40

    This book rocked me to my core. Seeing another human being, torn and shredded from the inside out, living the hell I had imagined myself in. I would like to give a brief message to anyone who has/contemplated attempting suicide - It's not worth it. You may feel like it'll end your pain,but the people you leave behind will live your pain everyday of the rest of their lives. In our school, we recently had a student commit suicide.. It was absolutely devastating to everyone in the student body. This book revolves around the drama of a boy recovering physically and emotionally from a "fiery" suicide attempt. On a morning in February,he self immolated. He survived, but with 85% of his body burned his state was less than ideal to say the least.Through the next months, he meets people who have fought their own battles and through those discovered what it means to be human. We are never exempt from suffering in life, but the way we choose to handle it is more important than what we suffer from. A nice romance sub plot evolves before your eyes,which is actually quite hilarious with his internaldialog contemplating his member ;) All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a raw and real story. If I were to gift this toanyone, it'd be the "at risk" teen. Like myself, it's very reassuring to hear from someone who lived through his Coupe De Grace and managed to grow from it. Long Live The Ace Of Spades !

  • SashaM
    2019-04-13 11:59

    I had finished state testing and was bored, so I picked up a book off of my teacher's library because of the compelling cover and title. "The Burn Journals," by Brent Runyon was hilariously honest, which was probably my favorite part of the book. Because Mr. Runyon was the burn survivor himself, he could really tell the story. When he was describing how the psychiatrist talked to him about his three suicide attempts and the depression that he still suffers from, I enjoyed reading (and laughing) about his thoughts of her and what he wished he had said. On the other hand, I disliked the fact that Mr. Runyon left the book on the cliffhanger, as I would have liked to have known how his first day back at school was. I would recommend this book to a friend if they weren't afraid of profanity, or thoughts of teenage boys. Overall, I really liked this book. I loved how it felt as if you were inside his mind, as you could see everything that was going on and what he was going to do next. The writing was definitely powerful, and it gave me new insight on how people with depression really feel. If this book was part of a series, I would keep reading the series, but this is probably not that kind of story. I would like to read any other books he has written. After reading this story, I learned that everyone goes through tough times, but we just have to keep going because life does get better.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-21 13:53

    When Brent gets in trouble at his middle school for setting a fire in the locker room, he decides that killing himself would be the easiest route to take. When he gets home from school he undresses, douses his robe in gasoline, puts it on, and lights himself on fire. He immediately realizes his mistake, but by the time paramedics come he has third-degree burns on over 85% of his body. This book tells the true story of his intensive recovery over the next year.Burn Journals is a very intense read. The descriptions of the events and recovery, of pain and fear made me cringe and brought me to tears all at the same time. Brent Runyon is able to capture his feelings of helplessness and thoughts that no one will ever love him again. I like that he does realize that life is worth living, no matter how bad it seems. He does, however, get a slight bit preachy in the end. That’s really just me nitpicking. I listened to this on audiobook, and I must say kudos to the reader. He was fantastic. I thought he captured the emotion or lack there of at times in different situations. I also appreciated that he actually sang when Brent was supposed to be singing. That is pretty rare. Overall, I thought this was an intimate and valuable look into the mind of someone who had little to no hope for life, that was able to learn and grow from their actions.