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Running with Scissors

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  289,008 Ratings  ·  11,071 Reviews
Now including an excerpt from Lust & Wonder, a new memoir coming in March 2016.

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 Victori
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ebook, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published July 10th 2002)
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Maria Stevenson Yes, one, the other, both or some other disorder, but definitely something in the mental illness spectrum. I also notice that in that era (Augusten…moreYes, one, the other, both or some other disorder, but definitely something in the mental illness spectrum. I also notice that in that era (Augusten was born around the same time as me) back in the 50s, 60s and 70s and breaking through to the "Me" generation of the 80s, despite the hippy movement people were incredibly ego-driven and had not, perhaps, had as much exposure to what we might call "new age" ideas, and I don't mean in a totally navel-gazing way but more, "We are all connected, all molecules and the entire universe." (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oriana
Aug 19, 2013 Oriana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2007
I talk about this all the time, so here, definitively, is my explanation of the four categories of memoir.

1) People who have had seriously interesting / crazy lives, and who also happen to be terrific writers, able to render their stories in a compelling, original way (like David Small's brilliant Stitches , or what I consider the gold-standard memoir, Nick Flynn's breathtaking Another Bullshit Night in Suck City ).

2) People whose lives are interesting / crazy enough that it really doesn't ma
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Martin
Dec 31, 2007 Martin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone mentally healthy enough not to be tortured by it
I found this book profoundly disturbing and torturous to read. I understand that it is cleansing and theraputic for those that have been traumitized to write/talk aobut their problems to help with the healing process. There are very few things that my ironclad stomach can't suffer and my brain is developed enough to handle even the most shocking of situations. This book tested my patience from begining to end and in the end I was very dissapointed.

First off, from reviews and the book cover I was
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Scott
Jun 20, 2008 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She wasn't "Let's paint the kitchen red" crazy. She was full on head in the oven, toothpaste sandwich, I am God crazy..


paraphrased, but you get it..
Tina
Jun 30, 2008 Tina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone I don't like
Recommended to Tina by: book group
I learned, along with the rest of my reading group, that running with scissors is preferable to reading this book.
Timothy
Aug 29, 2007 Timothy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Family settles with "Running with Scissors" author, publisher
By Rodrique Ngowi, Associated Press Writer | August 29, 2007

BOSTON --A family that claimed author Augusten Burroughs defamed them in his best-selling book "Running with Scissors" has settled a lawsuit against the author and his publisher, their attorney said Wednesday.

Burroughs and his publisher, St. Martin's Press, agree to call the work a "book" instead of "memoirs," in the author's note and to change the acknowledgments page in futu
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Will N Van
Jul 06, 2008 Will N Van rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with absurd, dark sensibilities.

It has been said that Truman Capote's last book, "Answered Prayers," cost him the friendship of almost everyone he knew at that time in his life, and it has even been speculated that this contributed to his demise. He had mined the personal secrets and character flaws of those around him for literary gold, and most probably embellished as brilliant authors often do. The characters were apparently easily correlated to their real-life counterparts.

And so, things haven't changed all that much. Augu
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Jason Pettus
Aug 12, 2008 Jason Pettus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(Today's review is much longer than Goodreads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

I've mentioned here regularly the entire idea of there being an "underground-arts canon;" that is, that just like the academic community, what we call the modern cutting-edge arts has now been around long enough (arguably
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Will Byrnes
Burroughs offers a book that is supposedly a memoir. If so, then truth is definitely stranger than fiction. Let’s say I am skeptical. If you thought you had a tough adolescence a look at Burroughs’ tale will put your experience into a little perspective.

He grew up in western Massachusetts to a mother who was probably bi-polar, in what seems like ground zero for inappropriate behavior. She was seeing a peculiar psychiatrist who had a fondness for having patients come to live at his home, a chaot
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John
May 18, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My brother's account of our childhood and life with the Finches
eliza
Apr 25, 2007 eliza rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I read this book, I was really appalled that people would classify it as a comedy, and that the makers of the film would treat it as such. I thought it was one of the most tragic things I have ever read in my life. The fact that this kid had to deal with not only his crazy parents, but an entirely crazy family is heartbreaking. And it's not just that they're quirky, like everyone seems to make them out to be, but they really are insane. And in the worst possible way. And then he gets totall ...more
Fabian
Aug 23, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in about 4-5 hours. Maybe that's as good an encapsulation of the experience as I can give.

I like the eccentric, non-plot-driven memoir that sounds too strange to be true... and because it exists, because it ACTUALLY happened (unlike you James Frey!), it merits thoughts about American families and the ironies of self-obsessed psychology.

Written in cute concise prose, even if some jokes do not actually make you laugh but sicken you to the point of feeling truly bad for the pretee
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Alex Templeton
I was interested in reading this after getting hints of the story in Burroughs' brother's memoir "Look Me in the Eye". My honest reaction? This book made me deeply uncomfortable. Oh, I kept reading it, the same way I and everyone else would keep eyeballing a car accident, as the old cliché goes. But there was a part of me that honestly couldn't believe that all of this stuff was real. And if it was, how could Burroughs write about it almost as if it was a years-long romp? (I know I go against al ...more
Annalisa
This book is supposed to be funny?! I kept waiting for the amusement as I waded through increasingly appalling characters that were not likable, interesting, or remotely relatable. Crazy and abusive is not quirky and lovable. Well I suppose there is a way to write it that way, but this is written with a tinge of bitterness. What is so amusing about royally screwing up a child's life?

Between books I'd try to get back into this story that was ok but not good enough to grab my attention. But it's a
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Friend the Girl
Oct 16, 2007 Friend the Girl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think David Sedaris is too deep
I'm really not a fan of this memoir craze, and Running With Scissors is no exception. It shows potential in some parts, where the author puts down the 2x4 he was using to beat you over the head with and just tells a story. Most of the time, though, he's not-so-subtly reminding you that he had a terrible childhood, his dad hated him, his mum was crazy, he didn't have anyone, etc. Yawn. In an age where 52% of marriages end in divorce, this is everyone's story. Now it's just a pissing match to see ...more
K.
Sep 26, 2007 K. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I know the family, I know the ego-crazed and self-indulgent overgrown baby who wrote this book, and I find it not only sloppily written but vicious and hate-filled. It's a mother-bashing, lesbian-bashing, lying heap of crap. You can see I am worked up about it. I wouldn't mind if it were called a novel (which it is). I only object to its being called a "memoir." Read instead Jackie Leyden's beautiful hymn to the mixed blessings of growing up with a mother who had bipolar disorder, DAUGHTER OF TH ...more
Tara
Nov 30, 2008 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was hilarious and horrifying, at once raucous and deeply disturbing. Burroughs writes like a man who has not entirely made peace with his madhouse childhood but has found a certain kind of solace in his off-center coping mechanisms. His anecdotes are hysterical but mingled with catharses that are simply stated and give the impression of a friendly confidence. This was Burroughs' biggest claim-to-fame book, quite possibly because of the sheer shock value compared with his other novels [ ...more
Mindy
Jun 11, 2008 Mindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when it first came out in 2003 and was instantly smitten with Augusten Burroughs. He cracks me up! You won't believe that the things he writes about really happened, but allegedly, they did. I read something recently about the shrink's family and their denial about several things in the book. If you were them, wouldn't you try to deny it too, though? Anyway, great read, will have you laughing out loud. This is not your mother's kind of book, you've got to be young and hip and open-mi ...more
Stephanie
Aug 21, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any old person
I have to warm you that I am going to give a spoiler here, the spoiler I happened upon as I had just begun reading this book and was just hooked enough by the descriptive style of writing and interesting content that I wanted to continue regardless. However, the spoiler ultimately affected my experience of the book and may affect yours as well. So don't read this, unless you've already read the book.
The family that "Augusten Burroughs" focuses most of his memoir around are suing him. They say th
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Ellen


Leo Tolstoy writes, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”


I’ve always read “happy families” in that quotation as meaning normal families, and assumed by its positioning that normal, happy families were more prevalent. I wonder. Tolstoy’s dichotomy seems simplistic. I’m not sure I know any family that is routinely happy or normal. My parents and brother always ensured I’d win any “crazy family” contest hands down, but even the ostensibly “happy” families I
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Felicia
Feb 25, 2008 Felicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love this book. The abysmal movie that was made of it was a travesty, because this book...I relate to the crazy family part, that's all I'm saying about it :)
Bill
Jan 17, 2016 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I won this copy of Running with Scissors in a Goodreads Giveaway. This is my fair and honest review!

2.5/5.0 Stars

Okay I’ve procrastinated long enough on this one. I really, really wanted to love this book but, despite all the rave reviews and critical acclaim, I just didn’t feel it. Please don’t hate me all you Augusten Burroughs fans out there. This book confused the heck out of me and I simply could not get past the pedophilia.

Confused? You bet! This is a memoir about some pretty serious and
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Angie
Mar 31, 2008 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lyn
Apr 16, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny and very well written.

The graphic homosexual sex scenes will be too much for some readers but were contextually relevant. I have tried since reading this to understand Burroughs' quirky, angst obsessive postmodernist world view, and perhaps he cannot put a definite label on it either, but then on the other hand, Burroughs' may be one of those special writers whose opinions and style rightly fit into the "other" category of literary genres and upon which a label does not easily apply.

For t
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Paula
Aug 22, 2007 Paula rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alternatve Title: Stabbing Yourself with Scissors

I've always looked at this book, picked it up, and put it back down. I was wary because it seemed like something Sedaris would write, and I really hate Sedaris. Also, look at the cover. Always judge books by covers! It's in sepia-uh oh, you know it's a memoir. And he's got a box on his head-he must be crazy! Still, I'd heard people liked it, so when I came across it in my local used bookstore, I thought I'd give it a try.

I got through 20 pages. Ma
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J.G. Keely
Boring Prose sprinkled with the kind of sensationalism that can only come from a man with the hubris to change his name from Chris Robinson to Augusten Xon Burroughs.

I wanted this to be a one-sentence review, because that's all it deserves, but I just can't: XON!!!??? FUCKING XON!!!???? WHERE IS MY GODDAMN INTERROBANG!!!!????? JUST CALL YOURSELF XENU FOR SHIT'S SAKE. CHRISTING FUCKBELLY TURDSQUABBLE.
Pixie
Nov 01, 2007 Pixie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I quit reading this book halfway through. Like I read in another review, he's a bit of a David Sedaris wannabe. There's sort of a dark, absurd humor going on. I think he thinks he's being "light" by treating the subject matter "lightly," and sometimes it works. (I actually love David Sedaris, by the way, but I prefer listening to him over reading him.). As opposed to Mr. Sedaris, this guy gets really vulgar, offensive, and disgusting. It's all in the name of "art" I suppose, but I'm pretty toler ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Augusten Burroughs (born 1965 in Pittsburg as Christopher Robison) was named in 2005 as one, ranked 15, of “The 25 Funniest People in America” by Entertainment Weekly, People and The Guardian.

This memoir of his gay boyhood, “Running With Scissors” came out in 2003. On the same year, Burroughs came out with “Dry” about his experience being alcoholic and “Magical Thinking” a collection of memoir essays. I am not sure if any of these works made him funny to the American people but I guess it must b
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Elyse
Aug 15, 2012 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this when it first came out ---GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The movie: They trashed the book!
Sara
Augusten Burroughs childhood was not your average childhood. Most of us don't have our insane mothers sending us packing to go live with their shrink. If that wasn't bad enough, the household members of the Finch family - blood and adopted - are also crazy. And definitely not tidy. Not in any sense of the word. . . .

This book was funny, sad, vulgar (mainly vulgar, actually). The one person I was actually liking was Hope until the cat incident. She never seemed quite right to me after that but I'
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Larry
Sep 05, 2007 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I loved this book a lot. I am not sure that I buy that all that could have happened to one chid in one lifetime but looking at my own life it could be possible i guess. The book is a lot better than the movie but they both have their redeeming qualities.
I think that he is a great story teller and this is evident in his other books too.
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Augusten Burroughs born Christopher Robison, son of poet and writer Margaret Robison and younger brother of John Elder Robison.

Burroughs has no formal education beyond elementary school. A very successful advertising copywriter for over seventeen years, he was also an alcoholic who nearly drank himself to death in 1999. But spurned by a compulsion he did not understand, Burroughs began to write a
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More about Augusten Burroughs...

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“I know exactly how that is. To love somebody who doesn’t deserve it. Because they are all you have. Because any attention is better than no attention. For exactly the same reason, it is sometimes satisfying to cut yourself and bleed. On those gray days where eight in the morning looks no different from noon and nothing has happened and nothing is going to happen and you are washing a glass in the sink and it breaks-accidentally-and punctures your skin. And then there is this shocking red, the brightest thing in the day, so vibrant it buzzes, this blood of yours. That is okay sometimes because at least you know you’re alive.” 823 likes
“It’s a wonder I’m even alive. Sometimes I think that. I think that I can’t believe I haven’t killed myself. But there’s something in me that just keeps going on. I think it has something to do with tomorrow, that there is always one, and that everything can change when it comes.” 365 likes
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