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 and Natalie watch Brenda, Natalie’s 11 year old niece dance. Natalie comments on what a free spirit Brenda is. This starts Augusten contemplating about how he feels trapped despite the fact that no one tells him what to do. He decides that a new boyfriend can provide him his needed structure.

In Amherst he meets a handsome clerk at a convenience store and is immediately smitten. He goes to his mother’s apartment and writes a note to the clerk stating that he would like to see him again, but that he isn’t looking for casual sex.

When he returns to the store, the boy has some friends with him. Augusten gives him the note and watches in horror from across the street as it is passed from one to another as they laugh at the note’s contents.

Augusten then feels further trapped as he can no longer visit the convenience store. He regrets taking the note to the store, and reflects on how not having someone who tells you what to do also means that you have no one to tell you what not to do.

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