Running with Scissors is a 2002 memoir by American writer Augusten Burroughs. The book tells the story of Burroughs' bizarre childhood life after his mother, who had an obsession with Anne Sexton, sent him to live with her psychiatrist.
Running with Scissors covers the period of Burroughs' disturbed adolescent and teenage years, starting at age twelve. Burroughs is sent to live with his mother's psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, when his parents separate and his mother comes out as a lesbian. He lives in filthy conditions, where rules are practically non-existent and children of all ages basically do whatever they want. Burroughs tells Dr. Finch's adopted 33-year-old son, Neil Bookman, that he is gay. From the age of thirteen to fifteen, Burroughs has an intense and open sexual relationship with Bookman, which started when Bookman forced the young boy to perform oral sex on him. Neither his mentally unstable mother nor any member of the Finch family try to stop the relationship. Bookman is besotted with the young boy but later suddenly disappears and is never seen again.
Burroughs forms a strong sibling relationship with Dr. Finch's daughter, Natalie, who is one year older than he, and together they break away from the madness of the Finch household as they make their separate ways in life. As a young teen, Burroughs accepts his homosexuality.
Future printings of Running with Scissors will contain modified language. Where the Acknowledgments page had read: "Additionally, I would like to thank each and every member of a certain Massachusetts family for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own," the following was substituted: "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."
In addition, on the Author's Note page—but, as the family agreed, nowhere else—the word "book" replaced the word "memoir." The work is still described as a memoir on the cover, title page and elsewhere.