In his memoir Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs describes his unforgettable, whacky childhood. From the age of seven on, he witnesses his mother battle her mental illnesses and tries to hold onto sanity at the same time. From his mother hoisting up a Christmas tree more than twice her size and pitching it over the deck, his father threatening his mother’s life, his mother’s bizarre psychiatrist, a multitude of suicide attempts, truancy from school, mental institution committings, and Augusten’s journal- writing documenting it all, this book provides for page-turning reading.
Due to his mother’s failing ability to take care of herself and his father’s detachment, Augusten is soon adopted at the age of twelve by his mother’s psychiatrist, Dr. Finch and his family consisting of five sisters, one brother, an adopted brother, and Mrs. Finch. The dilapidated house they live in located in Northampton, Massachusetts is frequented by clients who want extra time with the Doctor and who play piano for Augusten and his adopted siblings to sing to.
Augusten discovers he feels more at home with the uniquely strange Finch family, than he does at home with his mother and her various lovers of all ages, both sexes, and from different backgrounds.
He comes of age going back and forth between the Finch house and his mother’s, and even less frequently going to school. He dreams of becoming a hairdresser, game show host, or doctor. However, he consistently writes with ever-growing talent and an abundance of material.
This novel contains sporadic parades down Main Street celebrating World Father’s Day (with balloons adorning the Finch family members’ various body parts), which are as rampant as bible-dippings, toilet-bowl readings, venting, projecting, bringing Dr. Finch’s patients home to live, and pedophilia. Some parts could leave the reader disturbed, laughing out loud, but always interested. This book is an endearing, hilarious, oddly relateable must-read.