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.

Dr. Finch organizes a fake suicide attempt for Augusten so that he can legally stop going to school. So, after taking several pills and washing them down with whisky (all provided by Dr. Finch) he goes to a mental ward for two weeks.

While in the hospital he reflects on his relationship with Neil Bookman. Following their rather violent first sexual encounter, Neil apologizes and the two become genuine lovers. Augusten confesses this fact to both his mother and to Dr. Finch. His mother shows support for the relationship and doesn’t seem phased by the fact that her 13 year old son has a 33 year old boyfriend. Dr. Finch is unconcerned about the age difference but wonders if Neil’s mental health makes him a good choice for Augusten.

Once out of the hospital, Deirdre informs Augusten that Dr. Finch will become his legal guardian. She explains that her journey to find herself, the relationship with Fern, and her poetry (insisting that she will be a very famous woman some day) make it hard for her to be his parent.

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