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 describes his first sexual encounter, in which at age 13 he is coerced into performing oral sex on Neil, who is 33. Neil acts violently during the episode, while Augusten struggles for breath as his head is repeatedly forced against the headboard of the bed.

Afterwards, Neil tells Augusten that he performed the act in order to show Augusten what he can expect as a gay man. Augusten is resentful and confused. He feels that everything in his life has somehow changed, and experiences a spinning sensation while riding home in Neil’s car. Once home, he has an opportunity to confide in Hope, but chooses not to.

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