Running with Scissors
By Augusten Burroughs
(St. Martin's Paperbacks, Mass Market Paperback, 9780312938857, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 29, 2006
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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 unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year-round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull, an electroshock therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing, and bestselling account of 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.
Augusten Burroughs is the author of Dry, Magical Thinking: True Stories, Possible Side Effects, A Wolf at the Table and You Better Not Cry. He is also the author of the novel Sellevision, which is currently in development for film. The film version of Running with Scissors, directed by Ryan Murphy and produced by Brad Pitt, was released in October 2006 and starred Joseph Cross, Brian Cox, Annette Bening (nominated for a Golden Globe for her role), Alec Baldwin and Evan Rachel Wood. Augusten's writing has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers around the world including The New York Times and New York Magazine. In 2005 Entertainment Weekly named him one of “The 25 Funniest People in America.” He resides in New York City and Western Massachusetts.
In Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs described his bizarre and brutal upbringing. And in turn, his brother and his mother published their own accounts of the family saga. In rival memoirs, the three writers blur the lines between fact and fiction and tell their own versions of the truth. More at NPR.org
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- What sort of person does Augusten’s mother Deidre initially appear to be? Does your impression of her change throughout Running with Scissors? Does Augusten’s? How?
"The most amazing book...hilarious, freaky-deaky, berserk, controlled, transcendent, touching, affectionate, vengeful, all-embracing. It makes you happy that there's such a thing in the world as a string of written words...a golden effervescence of invention and wit that stuns you with its audacity and beauty and powerful love of being alive. Running with Scissors, as a memoir in the current conventional sense, makes a good run at blowing every other contender out of the water." --The Washington Post
"Bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious...the anecdotes in Running with Scissors can be so flippant, and so insanely funny (quite literally), that the effect is that of a William Burroughs situation comedy." --The New York Times
"Running With Scissors is testament to the resilience of the human spirit. That he can stand aside as an impartial observer of it, even write with humor in spite of the tragedy around him, is astounding proof of our emotional survival skills...reads like David Sedaris writing "The Hotel New Hampshire." --The Boston Globe
'Twisted, freakish, unfathomably bizarre...Not only is it one of the funniest "coming of age" memoirs written, it's also the best of the genre since Paul Monette's "Becoming a Man."... It's literally breathtaking, and you may find yourself putting the book down occasionally to catch some air. But when you come back for more, Burroughs' brilliant writing and humor in the face of darkness catch you off guard...It will prove to be a lasting treasure, a gorgeously written true-life story destined to be cherished and quoted long after its last page is read. Best of all, by the book's end, it bravely stands as a life-affirming survival guide for all the misfits of the world." --The Tampa Tribune
"Running with Scissors is a cut above...screamingly funny...Two things make Burroughs' book so compelling: his wit and his depiction of the wild goings-on in this large, strange family...But the true source of Running with Scissors' appeal stems from Burroughs' ability to bring the 1970's alive...In the end, the book celebrates Burroughs' resilient, upbeat spirit, which helps him surmount one of the weirder childhoods on record." --USA TODAY
"Augusten Burroughs' memoir, Running With Scissors, is a surreal and entertaining trip through a young life most readers will thank God wasn't theirs...Burroughs never lets his readers forget that stuck in the middle of all the madness is a confused boy." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Shocking, sarcastic, humorous but never dull, the memoir has an effect similar to watching a car accident. You know you shouldn't gawk, but you simply can't turn away from the carnage." --Boston Herald
"He survived parental trauma, his mom's psychiatrist's house of horrors and, to bring the book into the here and now, an acquaintance with a pedophile...But Augusten Burroughs's memoir still makes you laugh, because it's as funny as it is twisted." --G.Q.