Oddly, this book reminded me of a family that I was close to when I was growing up. People were always coming and going in a family with eight children, which was interesting to only-child me. The father was worse than Dr. Finch (but was also a doctor) but the mother was infinitely better (almost saintly). To my innocent knowledge, though, the worst things that happened were drugs shared amongst the older kids while the younger kids and I would toilet paper trees or the boys would light illegal firecrackers.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Running with Scissors particularly for Burrough's voice. I agree with the Barnes & Noble editors who call this memoir "both horrifying and hysterical." This is from the publisher:
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.Constantly surprising, Burroughs arrives as a blazer-clad child into the dizzying Finch home, forced to adapt to his new surroundings so that bizarre scenes become commonplace. While the most memorable and lauded scenes are hysterical, there are some truly heartbreaking realities tucked within, such as Augusten's parents' violent arguments, his first sexual experiences and his entire relationship with Bookman, his parents' violent arguments, the constant belittling of Agnes, Hope's weakening grip on reality, and Dierdre's seasonal psychotic breaks. Humor seems to be the thing that allowed Augusten to survive it all and his slow realization that perhaps he's been a writer all along makes this a fast and fun read.