Running with Scissors Study Guide

Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running With Scissors is a memoir in which Augusten Burroughs recounts his unusual childhood after his mother sends him to live with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, at age twelve. There are few rules in the Finch household, and both Augusten and Dr. Finch's other children do mostly as they please, including smoking pot and having sex. At age thirteen, Augusten begins a sexual relationship with Finch's thirty-three-year-old son. Despite this unorthodox, and at times damaging, parenting method, Augusten comes to think of the Finches as his family.

After the divorce, Deirdre (Augusten’s mother) begins having frequent and lengthy visits to Dr. Finch-some of which involve Augusten who inquires about a small room in the rear of the office. Dr. Finch then reveals that this is his "Masturbatorium" in which he relieves himself sexually between sessions, and sometimes during (excusing himself if the session is "particularly tedious").

Augusten and Deirdre are invited to see the room. Upon entering, they find Hope (Dr. Finch’s daughter/receptionist) napping on the couch. Dr. Finch is seemingly furious with his daughter but asks Deirdre to confront her about the invasion of his privacy.

Hope and Augusten talk in the lobby afterwards, about the Masturbatorium. Augusten says that it is disgusting, Hope has the opinion that it is a perfectly natural thing for her father to do/have. Augusten then asks her why she isn’t married, to which she replies that she has not yet found anyone as wonderful as her father.

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