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.

Augusten and his Mother, Deirdre, visit the home of Doctor Finch. Augusten, is very excited to visit the home of a doctor and looks forward to a glamorous, upscale house. Unfortunately the Finch residence is a pink, rundown affair that sticks out sorrowfully from its pristine white neighbors.

While Deirdre is in her session with Dr. Finch, Augusten, who is now 12, spends his time with Vickie and Natalie, Dr. Finch’s teenage daughters. The two girls are the unkempt opposite of Augusten, who tries desperately to keep his clothes free of the animal hair which is quite prevalent in the house.

The three decide to play with an old electroshock therapy machine. Fortunately, they do not plug the machine in. As their game begins, they are joined by Poo Bear, the 6 year old grandson of Dr. Finch who roams the house in the nude. The false shock treatment scares the child who then runs away. The three go after him only to find him defecating beneath a grand piano onto wall to wall carpeting. Natalie and Vickie cheer for the child, while Augusten is disgusted and goes to seek his mother.

When he finds her in the kitchen she tells him that his father may intend to kill them and that Dr. Finch is the only one who can save them. He is then informed that his mother is going to live in a motel while he, Augusten, will stay at the Finch residence. He is mortified.

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