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.
The Finch household is feeling the pressure of a ten year old tax bill. They could all be evicted if the IRS seizes the house. This causes Hope to develop an incredible case of dandruff. She spends her time doing nothing but reading Emily Dickinson and scratching her head .
One day Natalie tells Hope that she is disgusting. Hope ignores her, but Natalie continues until she gets a rise out of Hope. Following a brief argument, Natalie and Augusten leave to go to McDonalds.
While out, they decide to apply for jobs. They start with McDonalds, then smoke a joint, and then fill out numerous applications before taking a walk around the Smith College campus. While on their walk they decide to venture behind a waterfall. Afterwards they are completely soaked. They relish in the attention their odd appearance gives them as they walk back through town, dripping wet, stopping to visit several of the places at which they filled out applications.
Once back home Hope informs them that she has made soup from the carcass of her dead cat. This turns out to be a joke, which is greatly appreciated by Natalie. The chapter ends with a group hug.