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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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5,64997755 (3.6)102
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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» See also 102 mentions

English (95)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All (97)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
The book was much more clinical than the movie. It felt like the movie emphasized the strong friendships between the female characters, while the book's focus was on the failings of the mental health industry. ( )
  heart77 | Dec 13, 2016 |
I'd seen the movie back in college (ten-ish years ago now... yikes) and found it disturbingly intriguing, so I finally got around to reading the book.

The movie definitely, uh... added some things... and made some events a lot more dramatic than they're described here. So I mostly just consider it as "inspired by" the book now... they're both good in their own way.

Susanna Kaysen spent almost two years of her life in a mental hospital in the 60s, and writes about the experience a couple decades later.

She's a really good writer. Rather than a straight narrative, she shares little "vignettes" that aren't necessarily chronological, but still feel cohesive, as there is a clear beginning and end.

The writing really grabbed me. It's not just the jarring realities of life in an institution and the different (and odd) people to be found there, it's the way it's described and interspersed with wry observations and implied questions that really make you ponder.

By the end of it, I'd been invited to empathize with the characters, as well as muse about the difference between sane and insane, brain and mind, and the differences/similarities in mental health care between then and now.

She is blunt and introspective, but also keeps an eye on the bigger picture, probably aided by her years of distance from her experiences. This really helps to not just describe her personal experience, but to put it in a greater context and invite readers in to ask some of these questions with her.

(As an aside, I wouldn't recommend this for kids as there is language and some obscene/unsettling conversations.)
( )
  LauraTwitchell | Dec 12, 2016 |
The book was kind of a disappointment after having loved the movie for so long. ( )
  BellaStormborn | Aug 1, 2016 |
Quick, easy read. Some disturbing parts, and some frustrating in regards to "professionals" having that kind of control over your life. I was confused about her voluntary status though. If she admitted herself voluntarily, why couldn't she leave? (course, she was only 18, and if it were me, I wouldn't have known either.)

Interesting at the end when she disects BPD... I was thinking the same thing as far as just having those feelings as a teen or in general. NO ONE acts perfectly sane, even those who come off as they do -- they may handle things inappropriately, but it's accepted because it's not considered "crazy". ( )
  GettinBetter | Jun 27, 2016 |

Such an unusual book, but I suppose it was meant to be. Really quick read due to the swift writing style, choppy chapters, and large fonts. It skips around all over the place so nothings a surprise as one chapter you learn something, and then the next chapter it's back in time again. For example, you know from the beginning how long she stays there. Nothing quite detailed in the book so you don't really get to know much about anyone either. Everything's quickly, fleetingly touched upon. When details were given in scenes and situations, it did grow more interesting, but the chapter would be over soon after. It's almost like pieces of thoughts to summarize a collective theme - her mental illness and look at the world, triggered at the end by a painting explanation that shows why the author used the title she did. Unique, artsy, intriguing...BUT not enjoyable to me, seemed to try too hard with parts, sometimes pretentious, distant and dry. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susanna Kaysenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kaysen, Susannamain authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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