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In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele -- Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles -- as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.
Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.
|Number of Pages||:||169 pages|
February 05, 2008
have you ever spent any time in a psychiatric hospital? yeah, well, i don't recommend it. i was a patient for a total of 2 and a half days, and it was one of the best and worst experiences of my life. i liked this book because i was able to relate to some of her feelings. when i went in, it was b...
March 14, 2012
“Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?” Good question, isn't it? You may start asking yourself this after reading this book.
I only spent a few months taking care of patients in psychiatric hospitals, but it made me really appreciate the nuances of Kaysen's story. It is the viewpoint...
February 10, 2015
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“People ask, how did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can’t answer the real question. All I can tell them is, it’s easy.”
Boy was it ever easy for Susanna Kaysen to en...
February 17, 2016
I’m sort of at a loss for how to describe this book and the emotions it provoked within me. I guess the best word I could use is “unsettled”, but probably not for the reason you would imagine.
This quote might shed some light on what I mean:
“The less likely (a) terrible thing is to happen, the l...
August 19, 2016
Everything is made of language. In the morning you hear those damned birdies tweedlydee tweedlydoo to each other or some damned cats meowing but that’s not language. It may be communication but it has no grammar and it can only describe the here and now (the hear and know). The birdies are tweebi...
March 12, 2017
After reading novels like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or The Bell Jar, one could be forgiven for feeling skeptical about the treatment for the mentally ill during the 1960's. I'm not sure Susanna Kaysen's memoir will change that much. In 1967, after a short interview with a psychiatrist, she...
March 24, 2017
"'Today, you seem puzzled about something.’ Of course I was sad and puzzled, I was eighteen, it was spring, and I was behind bars.”
Kind of sheds light on the whole system of mental asylums, doesn't it? Anyway how do you know if the treatment of a mentally disordered person is working. You won'...
January 04, 2016
I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent.
Insanity. For most of us the idea of being insane is scary. The harder question is the why; why is insanity so scary? Is it so scary because we have all, at one time or another (I believe), doubted our own sanity? I know...
October 13, 2007
While Susanna Keysen composes some very poetic essays offering alternative and sometimes beautiful perspectives in her autobiography, her general tone is very, very defensive. Granted discussing whether or not one suffered from a mental illness can never be easy, but the book seems to be her mani...
February 16, 2008
We're told not to, but I sometimes do judge a book by its cover. At least once in my life, it has paid off. I first read this book because I saw it laying under the desk of a girl in my French class in 8th grade and was immediately attracted to it- the constrast of blue against white and the sepa...