Running with Scissors
Publication Date: October 2002
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Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of being 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 house 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 is a truly amazing chronicle 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 also the author of Sellevision, and is currently working on Dry, the second volume of his memoirs. He lives in New York City.
Read by the author.
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?
"Running with Scissors is a bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious account...some of this story might have been imagined by William Burroughs...In keeping with this book's dauntless comic timing, this guy doesn't miss a beat." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"... 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." - Carolyn See, The Washington Post
"Beautifully written with a finely tuned sense of style and wit...this memoir of a nightmarish youth is both compulsively entertaining and tremendously provocative." - Publishers Weekly
"Ever woder what it might be like to grow up in a lunatic asylum run by the lunatics? Augusten Burroughs' hilarious and horrifying memoir, Running with Scissors, tells the story..." - Los Angeles Times