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 believes that God is communicating to him through his bowel movements after having a particularly interesting one which results in a stool with a coil pointing upwards. He then has Hope remove the stool from the toilet and place it outside to dry. He begins doing this with all of his stools, interpreting varied bowel movements to mean numerous things (diarrhea means the IRS will mess up their records and not seize the house, the presence of corn means that Hope will marry a farmer). A bout of constipation marks the end of this communication with the divine.

Augusten continues to write passionately and frequently in his journal, and Natalie even suggests that he become a writer, or at least record some of the family’s odd episodes.

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