Teen Reviewed: Running with Scissors

Title: Running with Scissors

Author: Augusten Burroughs

Summary: A memoir about a boy’s bizarre childhood featuring his mentally unstable mother and her psychiatrist, whose family and lifestyle take in Burroughs. Dr. Finch believes that a person can make their own decisions at age 13, meaning chaos. Some anecdotes evoke a cringe and nervous laughter (the behavior of Yale-certified Dr. Finch and his analyzation of his stools to predict the future, say) while others leave me wondering how Burroughs made it through in more or less one piece.

Six word review: Crazy, almost unbelievable growing-up experience, recounted.

What I couldn’t get enough of… the lack of any predictability. It was impossible to guess what would happen to the characters, what road Augusten would turn down. Part of this was Burroughs’ loose chronology with each chapter serving as an anecdote. The other part was the total craziness of the Finches.

If Augusten was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted… nothing, because he never went to school. He got out of it with the help of Dr. Finch, who gave him the means to purposely land himself in a mental hospital.

On a deserted island, Augusten would probably… practice his hair care skills and write. At a more sensitive point he discussed not wanting to be a writer because if he inherited his poet mother’s gene for writing, he might inherit the crazy gene too. I’m glad he wrote anyway.

Online resources: Author website

– Greta, 16, Teen Center Adviser 

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