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 prefers going to the movies, shopping at Chess King, and writing in his journal to school. He has figured out how to more or less get away with skipping, and agrees with Dr. Finch’s assertion that at age 13 one should be able to make their own choices about life. While skipping school one day, Augusten walks in on his mother and another woman having sex. The other woman is Fern Stewart, a minister’s wife with a seemingly perfect all American family.
Following his intrusion, Augusten listens to his mother more or less ramble about the oppression she has suffered in her life. At his mother’s request, Augusten says that he supports his mother’s choice of lifestyle, and opportunistically borrows five dollars.