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.

In further spending time with the Finches, Augusten trades in his blazers and preened hair for faded jeans and natural curls. He replaces a jewelry obsession with smoking. He confides in Hope that he is gay and so she introduces him to her 33 year old adopted brother, Neil Bookman, who is also gay. They go on a walk together and Neil assures Augusten that the two can discuss anything, and that he will never take advantage of Augusten.

Neil leaves before Hope has a chance to talk to him to see if he can fill in for her at the office while she visits a friend. In order to answer the question she would have asked him, Hope performs a "Bible Dip"

"Bible dips" involve asking a question, turning to a random page in the bible and dropping one’s finger. The answer to the question, after some interpretation, can be found in the word or words that the finger lands on. All of the Finches perform this ritual, but Hope is particularly fond of it, and determines that her absence from the office will not be necessary.

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