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Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
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Girl, Interrupted (original 1993; edition 1994)

by Susanna Kaysen

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5,44295795 (3.6)103
Member:The_Kat_Cache
Title:Girl, Interrupted
Authors:Susanna Kaysen
Info:Vintage (1994), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library, Owned books, At work, Read in 2012 (inactive)
Rating:****
Tags:read, read in 2012, own, non-fiction, autobiography, psychology

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Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (1993)

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English (93)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
After attempting suicide, Susanna Kaysen agrees to enter McLean Hospital, a residential psychiatric facility in Massachusetts. She expects to spend a few weeks at the facility but stays there nearly two years. Throughout the two years, Kaysen meets a number of patients who suffer from various psychotic maladies as the result of drug abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, eating disorders, and mental paralysis.
Kaysen describes a parallel universe where the sanity and insanity teeter-totter on any given day. In the end Kaysen wonders if all normal people are a little insane and just convince themselves that they are sane. Girl Interrupted earns it controversial status from the language and graphic scenes and descriptions in the text. This text is useful in a unit of study that explores non-chronological plot and an unreliable narrator. Kaysen could be compared with Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily" or with the narrator in Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." I might also pair excerpts of the text's discussion of mental illness versus conformity with a comparisons of Stephen King's "Why We Crave Horror Movies"
http://faculty.uml.edu/bmarshall/Lowell/whywecravehorrormovies.pdf
  sgemmell | Apr 21, 2016 |
Great book. I felt it gave an accurate portrayal of mental health disorders and treatment of the time period. Loved reading this story as it was moving and stuck with me for a long time after reading. Highly recommended. ( )
  lacey.tucker | Mar 10, 2016 |
18 year old 2 years at McLean
Vermeer painting at the Frick, NYC
"girl Int at her music" my life Int at 18 — stand still — from that moment whatever would be or might have — what life can recover from that? pg 167

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.
  christinejoseph | Feb 1, 2016 |
If you pick up this book expecting Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, don't. Susanna Kaysen's short essays offer a glimpse into her time just before, during, and right after her stay at McLean Hospital. There are, in parts, images of life inside of the hospital, but more, she offers a philosophical glance at the state and view of mental illness. It certainly gave me something to think about - I devoured it in an hour. I can't believe it took me so long to get to reading this. ( )
  Morteana | Jan 4, 2016 |
I really enjoyed the quick read aspect of this book. While Susanna did indeed spend some time near the end of her book describing her specific illness it was not overwhelming by any means. I have never seen the movie so I can not make any comment as to the reflection between the two. The book includes paperwork from the mental hospital in which Susanna spent her 18th & 19th year; paperwork regarding diagnosis and treatment, etc. ( )
  campingmomma | Aug 19, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679746048, Paperback)

When reality got "too dense" for 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen, she was hospitalized. It was 1967, and reality was too dense for many people. But few who are labeled mad and locked up for refusing to stick to an agreed-upon reality possess Kaysen's lucidity in sorting out a maelstrom of contrary perceptions. Her observations about hospital life are deftly rendered; often darkly funny. Her clarity about the complex province of brain and mind, of neuro-chemical activity and something more, make this book of brief essays an exquisite challenge to conventional thinking about what is normal and what is deviant.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:15 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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.… (more)

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