Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. At the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor, living with... read more
Running with Scissors covers the period of Augusten's adolescent years, beginning at age twelve (after a brief overview of his life as a child). Augusten spends his early childhood in a clean and orderly home, obsessing over his clothes, hair, accessories, and having great potential, with his... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Running with Scissors covers the period of Augusten's adolescent years, beginning at age twelve (after a brief overview of his life as a child). Augusten spends his early childhood in a clean and orderly home, obsessing over his clothes, hair, accessories, and having great potential, with his parents constantly fighting in the background.
When his parents separate and his mother begins to second guess her sexuality, Augusten is sent to live with his mother's psychiatrist, Dr. Finch. The doctor lives in a rundown Victorian house located in Northampton, Massachusetts. He lives with his wife as well as his biological and adopted children and some of his own patients, where rules are practically non-existent and children of all ages do whatever they please (such as having sex, smoking cigarettes and cannabis, and rebelling against authority figures). For example, Dr. Finch feels that at age 13, children should be in charge of their own lives. The children, especially Natalie (Dr. Finch's youngest daughter, and Augusten.) Augusten begins to have a sexual relationship with a 33-year-old man when he was just 13. However, the dysfunctional issues that occur in the Finch family are outdone by the psychotic episodes frequently experienced by Augusten's mother.
The Finch house is a parallel universe to the home he came from. It is filthy, with roaches roaming around the uncleaned dishes, christmas trees left up until March, stairs that Augusten is afraid to walk up because he thinks that they will collapse under him, and absolutely nothing off limits. The home is a madhouse. Eventually the Doctor Finch believes that God is communicating to him through his fecal matter. Moments like this are regular at the Finch house. Another occasion of something abnormal would be when Hope, Dr. Finch's oldest daughter, thought her cat was dying, and so, she kept the cat in a laundry box for four days until it did die.
Burrough's mother is shown as emotionally drained, excessive, self centered, and ultimately it seems as if she is incapable of being a parent. She has a lesbian relationship with a local minister's life, which is revealed to a young Augusten when he accidentally walks in on them while he skips school. When this relationship ends, Augusten's mother starts another one with a young and affluent African-American woman. This relationship is tumultuous and mentally unstable, where at one point they have a mental patient named Cesar live at their house. He attempts to rape Augusten while he's sleeping, but is unsuccessful. (When this patient goes to live with the Finches later in the book he pays one of the Finches daughter's for a blow job and then is forced from the home). His mother's ultimate psychotic episode happens when she and Dorothy (her partner) move everything out of their house, and attack Augusten when he tries to intervene. This later ends with a 'road trip' and events leading to Augusten's mother being restrained to a bed.
Augusten tells Dr. Finch's adopted 33-year-old son, Neil Bookman, that he is gay. From the age of thirteen to fifteen, Augusten has an intense and open sexual relationship with Bookman, which starts when Bookman forces the young boy to perform oral sex on him. Neither his mother nor any member of the Finch family is bothered by their relationship. Augusten begins to enjoy exacting power over Bookman by threatening to charge him with statutory rape. Bookman is besotted with the young boy, even though Augusten has problems with their relationship (going in phases of needing the affection of Bookman to wanting to humiliate or get away from him) which only infatuates Bookman more. Bookman eventually leaves Northampton and is never heard from again by Augusten or the Finches, even after they try everything in their power to find them.
Augusten forms a close relationship with Dr. Finch's daughter Natalie, who is one year his senior, although, in the begining of this book, he dislikes. They do everything from finding jobs to running under a waterfall. They leave the Finch household together.
At the end of the book, when Augusten is living in his own apartment with Natalie, he is asked to choose sides between his mother and Dr. Finch when she accuses him of raping her. The relationship between his mother and the doctor had been turbulent ever since a scene at a motel, where Dr. Finch's abnormal methods of therapy reached a point at which they could possibly be interpreted as sexual assault. He still considers Dr. Finch's family and his mother to be his family, and he cannot bring himself to choose sides, although, he is fairly certain that Dr. Finch did rape his mother. The book ends with Augusten leaving Massachusetts and moving to New York City.
“As time went on, my parents' relationship became worse, not better. My father grew more hostile and remote, taking a particular liking to metallic objects with serrated edges. And my mother began to go crazy. Not crazy in a 'let's paint the kitchen bright red!' sort of way. But crazy in a 'gas oven, toothpaste sandwich, I am God' sort of way.”Augusten Burroughs
“"We were young. We were bored. And the old electroshock therapy machine was just under the stairs in a box next to the Hoover."”Augusten Burroughs
“"Now I can add prostitute to my list of life's accomplishments."”Augusten Burroughs
Chapter 1: Something Isn’t Right
Chapter 2: Little Boy Blue Navy Blazer
Chapter 3: The Masturbatorium
Chapter 4 : Imagine My Shock
Chapter 5: The Cleaning Lady
Chapter 6: Just Add Water
Chapter 7: The Burning Bush
Chapter 8: Pure Projection
Chapter 9: He Was Raised Without a Proper Diagnosis
Chapter 10: The Joy of Sex (Preteen Edition)
Chapter 11: School Daze
Chapter 12: The Seven and a Half Inch Disaster
Chapter 13: Queen Helene Cholesterol
Chapter 14: Toilet Bowl Readings
Chapter 15: Phlegmed Before A Live Audience
Chapter 16: Here Kitty Kitty
Chapter 17: I Would Dye For You
Chapter 18: A Family Affair
Chapter 19: Inquire Within
Chapter 20: Life in the Great Outdoors
Chapter 21: You Are Nothing But A Sex Object.
Chapter 22: Thin Air
Chapter 23: All Star Running Back
Chapter 24: Pennies From Heaven
Chapter 25: Oh, Christmas Tree
Chapter 26: Running with Scissors
Chapter 27: You’re Gonna Make It After All
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