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.

Kate is the most normal member of the Finch family. Augusten admires her because of her spotlessly clean apartment and for the fact that she is a cosmetologist. Augusten dreams of going to cosmetology school and studies Kate’s old text book constantly. The only thing he does more than this is write in his journal, which he does for nearly four hours a day.

One night while writing in his journal about cosmetology school, Neil Bookman pays Augusten a visit. Augusten is verbally abusive to Neil, but still the two have sex, using Queen Helene Cholesterol, a hair product, as lubricant. After both Neil and Augusten are finished having sex, Augusten becomes abusive again, referring to Neil as a dog, among other things. When Neil, who usually just sulks when insulted by Augusten, becomes angry, Augusten threatens to go the police with a statutory rape charge. This sends Neil away without further comment.

This chapter ends with a journal entry from Augusten describing the sexual encounter and the following fight with Neil.

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