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Submitted Literature

The Burn Journals

By Brent Runyon


Brent Runyon’s “The Burn Journals” explores his horrific act of deliberate self harm – setting himself on fire at the age of 14 and receiving 85% burns – and the agonising recovery process he undergoes as a result.

Key Themes:

  • Autobiography
  • Carer Issues
  • Revealing Reads
  • Self-Injury
  • Suicidality

Significant Quotes / Pages

15 – "I wonder why all the ways I’ve tried to kill myself haven’t worked.  I mean, I’ve tried hanging.  I used to have a noose tied to my closet pole.  I’d go in there and slip the thing over my head and let my weight go.  But every time I started to lose consciousness, I’d just stand up”

233 – “I wonder where the light goes when it’s not here.  I mean, I know that darkness is the absence of light, but where does the light go when it’s not here?  And how do you know if it’ll ever come back?”

Reference: Brent, Runyon. 2004. The Burn Journals. London: Penguin, 2006


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Monday 23rd March 2009