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Running with Scissors: A Memoir | [Augusten Burroughs]

Running with Scissors: A Memoir

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 12, 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 went 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.

©2002 Augusten Burroughs; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Non-Fiction, 2003

"Beautifully written with a finely tuned sense of style...this memoir of a nightmarish youth is both compulsively entertaining and tremendously provocative." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sharp, riotous humor...deeply affecting...this is a survival story readers won't forget." (Booklist)
"Bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (1092 )
5 star
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3.7 (314 )
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3.9 (313 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    James Denton, TX, USA 02-18-07
    James Denton, TX, USA 02-18-07 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "From the Real Side"

    As a psychiatrist who has treated two people in my metropolitan area who lived with their psychiatist in the 60's, this is not fiction. It is told with Burroughs' tough, but funny humor. He has found a way to transform his tragic circumstances in a way that others can understand, using the with and humor that must have been part of his survival!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Plainfield, VT, United States 11-25-06
    Rebecca Plainfield, VT, United States 11-25-06 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    51
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    Overall
    "Not for me"

    I read a previous review about this book being gross, and thought the reviewer was maybe a little narrow minded. Congratulating myself on being worldly wise, I pressed the download button, but you know what this book really is gross. I am not sure if I was more disturbed by the unhygenic kitchen conditions or the authors 'supposed to be amusing description's' of his 14 year old self being coerced to have anal sex with his much older boyfriend. This could have been a very heroic portrayal of triumph coming from an abusive childhood - but the author tried write humorously about some things that just arent humorous however clever the prose. Before downloading this book I had already listened to Magical Thinking, which was enjoyable. If you like David Sedaris consider downloading Magical Thinking, but personally I would suggest you give Running with Scissors a miss.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 09-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I didn't know that this book was so sexually oriented. Way to grafic for a lot of listeners.


    What could Augusten Burroughs have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Some part seemed a little slow moving.


    What about Augusten Burroughs’s performance did you like?

    Nice voice and good inflection.


    Could you see Running with Scissors being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Clifton, VA, United States 08-23-12
    Patricia Clifton, VA, United States 08-23-12
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    "Don'y Buy This Piece of Junk. Its Terrible"
    What would have made Running with Scissors better?

    Nothing!!!


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    It hasn't!!!


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The author was too sexually explicit and had no resemblance to real life.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Nothing


    Any additional comments?

    It reminds me of "1000 Little Pieces" and we know what happened with that book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy CAMBY, INDIANA, United States 08-03-11
    Wendy CAMBY, INDIANA, United States 08-03-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Struggled to Finish Listening"

    I rarely find that I dislike a book so much that I have to skip through parts. I had heard such a great things about Running With Scissors and was excited to have a new author to follow. Unfortunately, I was terribly disappointed. The characters in this book were disturbingly dysfunctional. It wasn't just that several parts were graphic, it was that they were violent and violating. I'm glad that Augusten Burroughs was able to grow up and find humor in it all but in the end I felt terribly sad for him. Fortunately for him, he has found success in his adult life as a writer and I'm one in a minority that didn't enjoy the book. Best of luck to him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Austin, TX, United States 01-07-10
    Lauren Austin, TX, United States 01-07-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "so bad"

    I went ahead and got this book because I thought that all of the bad reviews might be due to people being conservative or homophobic... But no. It was Sooooooo Bad. Augusten Burroughs is a the worst narrator I've heard yet, and the content was just gross and self indulgent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Baltimore, MD, USA 04-16-08
    Julie Baltimore, MD, USA 04-16-08 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I wish the author hadn't read this!"

    I am reading this for a book club so I'm finishing it despite the narration! Listening to this reminds me of talking with an autistic client I used to work for. I really wish I'd bought this on paper rather than in audio!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Flagstaff, AZ, USA 03-10-08
    Dawn Flagstaff, AZ, USA 03-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "self-indulgent"

    I had high hopes for this book, having heard so much about it. Whiny, self-centered, and self-important are the attributes of Burroughs' autobiographical introspective. While the details are rich, the characters are mere two-dimensional images that don't lend to much connection between reader and tale. There is a fine line between good story telling and self-indulgence in autobiographical writing. Unfortunately, this falls on the latter side of that line.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karla Amarillo, TX, USA 06-13-07
    Karla Amarillo, TX, USA 06-13-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "very disturbing and dark humour"

    This is an interesting and sometimes humorous account of an extremely disturbed and disturbing childhood. The characters were believable and intriguing in their extremes. For me, some parts were too graphic to comfortably read, but were easily scanned over.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juls 01-19-07
    Juls 01-19-07 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    147
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    "Lost his credibility with graphic descriptions..."

    This book was nauseating.. I felt physically ill and somewhat betrayed by the explicit content...It should have a warning label on it, just like movies do...at the very least there should be some sort of disclaimer about the graphic homosexual content...and the thing of it is, there was no need to go into that kind of detail. Including it seriously put a dent in his credibility...maybe his motives were more to do with shock value than actually telling this story....I'd skip this one folks...it's a waste of your money and is not going to leave you a better person for having read it...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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