Running with Scissors: A Memoir

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Running with Scissors: A Memoir

by Augusten Burroughs

Picador | June 1, 2003 | Trade Paperback

Running with Scissors: A Memoir is rated 3.5854 out of 5 by 41.
 
The #1 New York Times Bestseller
 
An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year
 
Now a Major Motion Picture
 
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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.2 × 5.44 × 0.89 in

Published: June 1, 2003

Publisher: Picador

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 031242227X

ISBN - 13: 9780312422271

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Better memoirs out there ... MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS!!! I know that Running with Scissors has been made into a movie and the novel received some kind of critical acclaim, but I really didn’t get it. The family in the story lives in squalor, children are abused, people are eating dog food and running around naked. I just don’t understand why people liked the book. I also don’t understand how writers feel the need to purge themselves of the past by writing stories such as this one, then getting it published. Really, not everything needs to be read by your public. Running With Scissors is dark and disturbing—not quirky, fun, or uplifting. Not. At. All. I find it interesting that there’s now an apology in the Product Description over at Amazon that says, “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.” The memoir was then deemed as a “book” rather than a “memoir.” I guess that’s the problem with memoirs—how much can you really remember, unless you’re depending solely on journals kept throughout the years. I remember that Oprah had James Frey on her show and was raving about his book A Million Little Pieces. I picked up the book after the hype and read it and thought it was great—so what if he fabricated some of it? Is this something that memoir writers are going to have to do from now on? Have something explaining that there may be differences in how people remember things? I find so many memoirs, this one included, to be so detailed that there has so be some fabrication. If you really want to read a memoir, skip this one. There are way better books out there.
Date published: 2014-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shocking Yet Amazing! While there were many times in this book that I had to momentarily stop reading to ask myself "did I really just read that?!" I truly enjoyed Running With Scissors. I couldn't go five pages without reading something that shocked, disgusted, or intrigued me. I can't believe some of the things that this boy went through by the time he was 16 years old. He went through more in those short 16 years than any person should have to go through their whole life. I can't wait to read Augusten's other books, and I'm even going to look into his brother's book(s?).
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good for a while My family all liked this memoir. So did I for the 1st half, particularly the relationship between Burroughs and his mother. After a while, though, I tired of the antics at the crazy psychiatrist house. But hell, I only had to read about it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Of A Kind If you're looking to read something original then chances are you won't finda anything more original than Burroughs's debut memoir. It was an enjoyable read definitely not what you would suspect someone to go through in ones life. There was some things that was so out there that I didn't know if this really happened or that he made up.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Writer With A Unique Point of View Augusten Burroughs has a different perspective and way of looking at the world... To know he is NOW a successful writer, happy in a long-term relationship and a loving father of two dogs... makes me hopeful and helps me believe in the power of the human spirit. Love ya Augusten!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard To Believe & Hard To Put Down This book was shocking. I can't believe the things that Augusten went through growing up are actually true. Some of the stories he tells are so completely out there and hard to imagine ever happening...which is what makes this book so wonderful. I would recommend this, it's funny and hard to put down because you want to know what his crazy family will do next. I've already ordered his next book and can't wait to read it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I really enjoyed this book. It took me right back to the same era when I grew up, but it did it in a subtle, nonobvious way. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who grew up in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Made me an instant fan of Burroughs Dark and hilarious, quirky and disturbing, above all else, a clear reminder that a sense of humour can go a long way. It's a keeper! www.booksnakereviews.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Made me cringe I had heard this book was "hilarious" and "uplifting". It was not. It was disturbing and shocking. It was like a train wreck -- I kept reading even though I wanted to look away. If any part of this book is true (and memoirs are supposed to be true), then the people responsible for raising this boy should be in jail.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun A hilarious, funny but freaky autobiography. Clever writing - Burroughs really knows how to tell good stories. I enjoyed this book with many LOL moments, but would agree that this is not something for the conservatives or anyone with existing cardiac problems.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Therapeutic read A story of a young boy's traumatic journey through his childhood. Has the dark overtones found in stories such as The Royal Tannenbaums. Helps one recognize that all families are dysfunctional, just a matter of degree really.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Disturbingly Brilliant Wow. Burroughs' writing is magnificant. It was difficult to put this book down. It is quite possibly the most disturbingly brilliant story I have ever read. A job well done in capturing the image of a broken family struggling with day-to-day life. Beautiful.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! Fabulous book! Have an open mind..although the content may sometimes be slightly unusual this book is really worth reading. Burroughs shares his dysfunctional childhood making it witty and incredibly interesting!loved it!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Review This book is horrible. Period. How it became a best seller is beyond the realm of my comprehension.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Slightly Disturbing Well once again another biography that leaves you wanting more. I really enjoyed this book but it is not for the person who is not open minded and willing to read some rather disturbing events.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard to believe... It's hard to believe that one young boy has gone through such a traumatic childhood. His parents divorce, and the next thing Augusten knows, his mother has given him up to her shrink. From there, things get even more unreal. The family (to me) is a mix of The Adams Family and The Royal Tannenbaums. Hilarious, shocking and sad behaviors make an amazing read. I couldn't put this one down.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Hated it. I didn't like this book at all. Many would find it offensive. It is a questionable "memoir" just like James Frey. I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody. It wasn't funny or enjoyable.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bizarre Craziest book that I have read yet. Loved it!!! Very Bizarre and unbelievable at times, I needed to keep reading so quickly to find out what unusual things were going to happen next. "Dry" was a bit slow and predictable.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Laugh out loud funny! This book was inspiring! Day to day life has now become more optimistic, because of this book. I've never before read a book that made me laugh out loud so much. I can't believe some of the things that went on in Augusten's life. What is absolutely astonishing when you read it is that its hard to believe but you know its true. A MUST READ or watch the movie, which I have yet to see because I'm not allowed haha. Well its an amazing book, if your not an abide reader, just read this, you won't be able to put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not so much hilarious as disturbing - A Good Read I was very interested in reading this book about a young boy in the ultimate disfunctional family situation as he is pawned off on his insane mother's even more whacked out shrink and his "the crazy apple doesn't fall far from the tree" family. I was shocked when I read the sexual experiences young Augusten (the author) had with a much older partner but that is because they ARE shocking! (As is this man's childhood in general.) I would have liked the memoir to have come to a happier resolve but I suppose the fact that he is writing this as a successful published author and that this book has been made into a movie starring Annette Benning pretty much screams "I'm Happy!" Augusten Burroughs is a brave person to share his story and is a prime example of the ability to THRIVE not just SURVIVE the epitome of the messed up childhood.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really didn't like this one I know this book is popular, but I just couldn't get into it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very well written The book's content is considered disturbing, and I agree, quite graphic. But that seems like a small price to pay for a story so unique and well-written. I found that this story was one you just couldn't make up, it being to crazy and wild. I think that if you are able to ignore some fairly graphic content of the homosexual nature, and enjoy the comedic style and writing, you'll find that this story is incredibly well written and is well worth a read.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't do it!!! I picked up this book a while ago looking for an entertaining read...and what I got was anything but. I found the graphic descriptions of the pedophilia to be disturbing and unnecessary for the storyline. The humour in the book was greatly overshadowed by the disturbing content. I have discouraged others from reading this book.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Augusten Is Awesome! To sum it up quickly - READ Running With Scissors - you'll love it. I very rarely actually laugh out loud as I read a book - this book made me do just that. I've read every book Augusten Burroughs has published and I have NEVER been disappointed by him. Neither will you. It truly is time and money well spent.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from NOT funny I've never read a comical book so I thought I would give one a try. This was FAR from funny from the start. I was patient and tried to get into it. It never improved. The gay sexual encounters b/w a young teen and a 30-odd yr old man was too much for me. I closed the book. Didn't even get half way. I won't even bother trying to sell it! Sad that it is a true story though. Save your eyesight and yourself.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Offensive and disturbing ! My personal thoughts on this book will certainly do nothing to promote the sale of this book, nor the viewing of the movie which is to follow. After struggling through half of the book on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I abruptly closed the book and put it away. The language and graphic description of the sexual relationship between young Augusten and Neil (a 33 year-old pedophile) did nothing to enhance the true story of this young boy growing up in such a dysfunctional family. The fact that the story is true only makes the reading that much more disturbing. When I ordered this book online, I naively thought it was a humorous memoir and did not anticipate such vivid descriptions. If you have a very open mind and can see the humour in which Mr. Burroughs views his experiences, then Mr. Burroughs has done his job in recalling his life. Unfortunately, there are far too many 'good' books out there to justify reading this one. Sorry for the bad review.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious and yet sad.... This book was a recommendation from a website before there were talks of turning it into a film. This book is wonderfully written. Augusten Burroughs really writes from the heart but also adds much sarcasm and wit. You think you had a messed up childhood? Wait until you read about Augusten's younger years. There were moments when I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry for the boy. Very entertaining novel overall.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Who said running with scissors was a bad thing?!? Witty, darkly humourous and all in all a great read. Loved it!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Glad it is not me! This book was good, but not great. I found it a little slow at first but by the first few chapters I could hardly put it down. I can't not believe that people really live like this and it makes you happy to have a "normal" life!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Get Enough Running with scissors is one of my favorite books. I literally read it in one night because I just could not put it down for one minute. Most of the content is not for the average person and you really have to have an open mind to read it. You start to really feel for Augusten, and you become so proud of him when he overcomes all the madness in his life. I will be the first in line to see it at the movies when it's released.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE IT I was scheptical when I first began the book but now I'm totally hooked! I'm more than halfway done and I've caught myself laughing out loud and sparking my bf's interest in the process. I still can't get over how "normal" he turned out in spite of the trials and tribulations the author went through growing up! I highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WOW! This book was wow! I came upon it by accident am I ever glad that it did. At times I thought he was the crazy one and not the people in his life. I often found myself feeling sorry for Augusten, but on the other hand thare was plenty of humour in his life aswell. I laughed through-out the whole book. The book was wonderfully written I am looking forward to reading all the books he has to offer. This book is a must read I reccomend it to everyone you will not be able to set it down i know I didn't.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Interesting and entertaining, yet mildly distrubin This book is an easy to read and entertaining account of an incredibly odd childhood upbringing. Its mildly disturbing portrayal of a life which borders on what few would consider normal made me reflect on my own childhood and its "normalcy" in comparison.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Addams Familyish His story makes you wonder how he is able to be so matter of fact, yet he is. It's got a bit of a passive-aggressive feel, Burroughs recalls his life with this odd family with fondness for the most part, yet there are whisps of resentment underneath. An amazing life story, I was interested in what would happen to him on every page
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious! What I loved about this book, that differs from all the other childhood tragedy books out there, is Mr Burroughs ability to find humour in his offbeat and, at times, tragic upbringing. His wit and graphic writing style makes for a colorful and laugh-out-loud, roller coaster of a read! Highly recommended!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a good read The whole time I was reading this book I kept wondering how anybody could come out of a childhood with some kind of sanity. Although sad and disturbing at times, I loved the lightheartedness of the storytelling and more than once I found myself smiling. A good read.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved This Book! This is an incredible story that will leave you breathless. It is hard to imagine that he endured his upbringing. At times hysterical; at times poignant; always interesting and entertaining. I have read all of his books and this is by far his best and most compelling. You will not be able to put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Savoring Every Piece Savoring every piece-and I use that literally as in trying to save a broken down coffee table. This book shows you the horrors of his life, but yet, he is witty and uncanny in doing so. This is a fabulous book, similar in ways to DRY , yet between the two books, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS stands out above the crowd. Other Reads: NIGHTMARES ECHO,A CHILD CALLED IT and DRY
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Work By Augusten Burroughs RUNNING WITH SCISSORS is candid and an honest reflection of a difficult childhood-teen-adult. The complications that come from such an odd upbringing, what leads us to do the things we do as adults. It ranks up there with other memoir style material like that of KATLYN STEWART and DAVID SEDARIS. Though, BURROUGHS tells his story with a bit more wit then the prior mentioned authors, you can truly see within the pages of these books the pain, trials, tribulations and healing that is felt in writing a tell all book
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This is a very weird book I can't believe that any group of people are as bizarre as the ones who popluate this "memoir." At times funny and graphic this will either delight or shock the reader.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Schmaltzy but entertaining An entertaining and action packed ride through the life of the author, Augusten. Anyone that could live through this craziness and live to tell the story deserves a read.
Date published: 2013-10-29

– More About This Product –

Running with Scissors: A Memoir

by Augusten Burroughs

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.2 × 5.44 × 0.89 in

Published: June 1, 2003

Publisher: Picador

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 031242227X

ISBN - 13: 9780312422271

About the Book

This #1 "New York Times"bestseller is now a major motion picture to be released in December by Sony Miramax. The film, co-produced by Brad Pitt and Ryan Murphy (creator of FX's "Nip/Tuck"), stars Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Joseph Fiennes.

From the Publisher

 
The #1 New York Times Bestseller
 
An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year
 
Now a Major Motion Picture
 
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.

About the Author

Augusten Burroughs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dry, Magical Thinking, and, most recently, Possible Side Effects, which were also New York Times bestsellers. Augusten has been named one of the fifteen funniest people in America by Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City and western Massachusetts.

Editorial Reviews

"I just finished reading the most amazing book. Running with Scissors is hilarious, freaky-deaky, berserk, controlled, transcendent, touching, affectionate, vengeful, all-embracing....It makes a good run at blowing every other [memoir] out of the water." --Carolyn See, The Washington Post "Funny and rich with child''s eye details of adults who have gone off the rails." -- The New York Times Book Review "It is as funny as it is twisted." -- GQ "A hilarious and horrifying memoir." -- Los Angeles Times "Harrowing and hilarious. I haven''t laughed this much since David Sedaris''s last book." --Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy " Running with Scissors is a cut above...compelling...the book celebrates Burroughs'' resilient, upbeat spirit, which helps him surmount one of the weirder childhoods on record." -- USA Today "The anecdotes 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 "Burroughs defies the ''woe is me'' stigma of modern memoir with a raucous recounting of his loony teenage years." -- Entertainment Weekly "I was reminded of Roald Dahl''s Boy and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius . Augusten Burroughs has produced a memoir that''s funny and sharp but also humane, as charming as it is revealing." --Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century "A memoir that is both horrifying and mordantly funny." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Burroughs has memorialized his biz
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