Running With Scissors

Running With Scissors

A Memoir

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain. Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules, there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer,and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock therapy machine under the stairs....

Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it chronicles an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Running with Scissors Acknowledgments
Gratitude doesn't begin to describe it: Jennifer Enderlin, Christopher Schelling, John Murphy, Gregg Sullivan, Kim Cardascia, Michael Storrings, and everyone at St. Martin's Press. Thank you: Lawrence David, Suzanne Finnamore, Robert Rodi, Bret Easton Ellis, Jon Pepoon, Lee Lodes, Jeff Soares, Kevin Weidenbacher, Lynda Pearson, Lona Walburn, Lori Greenburg, John DePretis, and Sheila Cobb. I would also like to express my appreciation to my mother and father for, no matter how inadvertently, giving me such a memorable childhood. Additionally, I would like to thank the real-life members of the family portrayed in this book for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own. I recognize that their memories of the events described in this book are different than my own. They are each fine, decent, and hard-working people. The book was not intended to hurt the family. Both my publisher and I regret any unintentional harm resulting from the publishing and marketing of Running with Scissors. Most of all, I would like to thank my brother for demonstrating, by example, the importance of being wholly unique.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2002.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312283704
Branch Call Number: 813.6 Bur
Characteristics: 304 p. ; 22 cm.


Featured Blogs and Events

May Your Memoirs Be Memorable

Memoirs are an invaluable way to connect with other humans on the subject of their lives and yours. It is a way to see into another person's life and also connect with another person who may be going through what you are or have gone through. It can also be the window into how they made something happen that you may want to make happen in your own life. Want to pick that writer's or artist's… (more)

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 20, 2018

One of my favorite movies

Aug 01, 2016

extremely disturbing but couldn't put it down.

Oct 20, 2015

I liked the writing but the topic is difficult. It is a memoir.

May 07, 2014

Another life story of a dysfunctional family life, interesting, but not edifying, I thought the popularity of the book would have made it worth my time. If this is on your “to read list” it can be moved to a lower priority.

Feb 01, 2014

I agree with what others have said: not everyone will find this as enthralling and hilarious as I did. If the events as they are told really happened there should be many pending lawsuits! I'm shocked that Augusten was able to become a well established writer in spite of his troubled upbringing. A memoir like no other - you have to read it and decide for yourself.

Dec 19, 2013

I don't know if I can recommend this book because I'm not sure if I liked it. It's not for everyone. It's a weird and sad subject (a completely messed up childhood) but the author has a really dark sense of humor about it so I found parts of it to be hilarious. Approach with caution.

Sep 22, 2013

The story sounds compelling
but he never gets to it

In the style of “best sellers “ it digs deeper and deeper holes
of minutiae until there is no story.

The first 12 pages went into excruciating excessive detail
of his mother preparing for an evening out
to a reading of her poetry
and how much he needed to be in her presence

It is difficult to understand the author or to believe in the credibility of the book being a memoir.

For example
"Unfortunately , my parents loathed each other and the life they built together .
Because I was the product of their genetic fusion, well, it is not surprising I liked to boil
my change on the stove and then shine it with metal polish."
HuH? I don’t get it

One of the EPL commentaries said it did not seem like a memoir and I would have to agree
because the mechanics do not work out
His mother supposedly sees this psychiatrist once a week then daily then hours per day
few people could afford to pay for such one on one attention
and there is nothing to indicate that his mother could either.

So if she is not able to afford the fees of seeing a psychiatrist for hours every day
then neither can or would a psychiatrist be able to afford to be unpaid for the greater part of the day.

If that were the only non credible part, you could overlook it,
but there are so many stacked one on top of the other,
you begin to doubt that anything in his “ Memoirs” are based on actual happenings.

Jul 09, 2013

Good writing, but (apparently) one is to consider it as more of a work of fiction than a true memoir. Burroughs mentions his brother, but not by name - I strongly recommend reading John Elder Robison's books.

Mar 21, 2013

Listened to 1 1/2 cd's and couldn't get into it. Odd, sad, weird.

solange123 Mar 15, 2013

This is one of the best books Ive read in a long time. It is funny, heartbreaking, and full of hope. Augusten is an amazing person and this book gives hope to abuse survivors too, Awesome read.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Sep 27, 2015

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 19, 2013

Octillion thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

linalex9671 Jul 11, 2012

linalex9671 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at STPL

To Top