Running with Scissors A Memoir

Augusten Burroughs




Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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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. It is 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. A national bestseller, this is the funny and harrowing account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.


Praise for Running with Scissors

“Funny and rich with child’s eye details of adults who have gone off the rails."—The New York Times Book Review

“A hilarious and horrifying memoir.”—Los Angeles Times

“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

“The anecdotes can be 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 bizarre childhood showing off a dark wit that often rivals that of David Sedaris—while telling a true story that would make even Sedaris cringe.”—New York magazine

"Screamingly funny . . . In the end, the book celebrates Burroughs's resilient, upbeat spirit, which helps him surmount one of the weirder childhoods on record."—Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

"A lasting treasure, a gorgeously written time-life story destined to be cherished and quoted long after its last page is read . . . bravely stands as a life-affirming survival guide for all the misfits of the world."—The Tampa Tribune

"It's gross, it's shocking and its humor is blacker than a thousand midnights . . . But this hilarious, provocative, and oddly touching book draws you into a bizarre world and keeps you rooting for its unusual narrator to survive, thrive, and break free."—The Hartford Courant

"Brutal, disturbing, and often wildly funny . . . a stirring testament to a boy's strength in an environment of unfathomable heartache and dysfunction."—The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"A surreal and entertaining trip through a young life most readers will thank God wasn't theirs . . . Burroughs never lets his readers forget that stuck in the middle of all the madness is a confused boy."—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

"Bound to please fans of dark humor . . . Burroughs's account, full of frightening and hilarious images, is an entertaining, moving tale of an unconventional 1980s coming of age. It could be the one book you remember reading this summer."—Ft. Worth Star Telegram

“Burroughs tempers the pathos with sharp riotous humor . . . Edgier, but reminiscent of Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, this is a survival story readers won’t forget.”—Booklist

"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

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

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.
Read the full excerpt



  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt to hear Augusten Burroughs read from his bestselling memoir Running with Scissors, 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.



  • Augusten Burroughs

  • Augusten Burroughs is the author of the novel Sellevision and Dry, a sequel to Running with Scissors. He lives in New York City.
  • Augusten Burroughs Photo: Craig Cutler
    Augusten Burroughs


    Augusten Burroughs

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