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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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)

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  • Overall
  • Wendy
  • Bay Area, CA
  • 08-03-11

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

  • Overall
  • Lauren
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 01-07-10

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

  • Overall
  • Julie
  • Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 04-16-08

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

  • Overall
  • Dawn
  • Flagstaff, AZ, USA
  • 03-10-08


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

  • Overall
  • Karla
  • Amarillo, TX, USA
  • 06-13-07

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

  • Overall


I found this very disturbing. I have a hard time recommending this book. I would have put it down if it were an actual book and not an audiobook. I did appreciate the "What are they doing now" part at the end. I have not seen the movie. I do wonder how/why it was chosen to become a movie. This is my opinion and I might be the lone ranger of this opinion.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Do not download this unless you have a tremendous tolerance for gay sex scenes. (Sorry, it's beyond what I want to know about) I honestly recommend that you instead get "possible side effects" if you are new to A.Boroughs. It is a little smoother and gives fewer details (such as his psychiatrist’s fascination with his own feces).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elizabeth
  • archdale, NC, United States
  • 09-14-06

gross biography..

I have to say, I am a huge fan of David Sedaris, and even though other reviews said this book was no no no David Sedaris, I thought well could still be good? Wrong! This book is honestly stomach turning. I can take blunt, embellished, even dirty satire, but this just really is..gross, I need to go clean my ears! Why this book got such great reviews is beyond me, if you are a fan of David Sedaris, or Tom Robbins, or Chuck Palahniuk ( misspelled but the writer of Choke and Fight Club), or off beat novels and eccentric characters, look else where, this book is merely here to try and masquerade as such under the premise of bad taste...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love this book!

This book was great- and it was also great to hear it read by the author! Its so funny, I was laughing out loud in some parts. Kind of strange at times but fun to read. (not for people who get grossed out easily) I definitely recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ray
  • Windham, ME, USA
  • 07-18-06


The book is interesting, but it's important to note that THERE ARE GRAPHIC, FIRST HAND, DESCRIPTIONS OF HOMOSEXUAL ACTS. I was listening along, and things were pretty normal, and then, without warning, BAM! I'm in the middle of a gay porn. Don't get me wrong, I respect homosexuals and their lifestyle - It's none of my business what two people do behind closed doors, and if they're happy, then more power to 'em, but this is a little different. I don't watch gay porn. I don't read gay erotica. I certainly don't want to hear about how the author's 33 year-old boyfriend crammed his - well, you get the idea. I wish there had been some sort of warning to let me know what I was in for -

But the book itself? Not bad - the characters are insane, and it's really a collections of vingettes, rather than a story. The author reads it, and you'd think he'd never picked it up before, because all of his emphases are on the wrong parts of the sentences, but once you get past that, it's not a bad book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful