So I have been playing Bingo all wrong. I’ve been aiming, and have a plan for, a blackout but I haven’t been paying attention to actually achieving 5 in a row traditional Bingos until now!
I haven’t read Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs since before I joined Cannonball Read but I read it a few times in high school and college so it seemed like a good choice for Throwback Thursday. Since I’ve read Burroughs’s memoir numerous times I opted for the audiobook version for my reread but I don’t think the author’s narration adds or detracts from the bizarre, true story of Augusten and the Finches.
“My mother began to go crazy. Not in a ‘Let’s paint the kitchen red!’ sort of way. But crazy in a ‘gas oven, toothpaste sandwhich, I am God’ sort of way.”
When Augusten was 12 his parents divorced; his father, an alcoholic professor, and his mother, a trouble poet, briefly sought counseling with unorthodox psychiatrist Dr. Finch who Augusten’s mother, Deidre, continued to see for long stretches of time following the divorce. Augusten started spending a lot of time at the dilapidated Finch house, at his mother’s request, and Dr. Finch was eventually assigned as Augusten’s legal guardian. Running with Scissors is a collection of essays revolving around Augusten’s time with the Finches including year-round Christmas trees, deciphering messages from God through feces and living on the front lawn after a failed yard sale. Finch’s daughters, Hope and Natalie, became Augusten’s best friends and a 13-year-old Augusten began dating Neil Bookman, the predatory 35-year-old adopted Finch son. Deidre was sporadically in her son’s life but by and large neglected his well being so she could rediscover herself as a writer and late in life lesbian.
“The problem with not having anybody to tell you what to do, I understood, is that there was nobody to tell you what not to do.”
After years of growing up without an education or rules Augusten made his way to New York where, after a career in advertising that inspired Sellevision, he began his career as a bestselling author. The Finches are incredibly problematic and at times it is hard to find the humor in the wacky hi-jinks that arise from a life without any law and order but Burroughs is a talented writer and Running with Scissors remains my favorite of his memoirs.