Title: Girl, Interrupted
Author: Susanna Kaysen
Published: In 1993 by Turtle Bay Books
Purchased: Borrowed from my roommate, $11.99 on Kindle
Blurb: 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.
Review: Wow….just wow. I’m really not one for nonfiction, I can never get into it. I want to escape this world. Well, that’s exactly what I did with this book. I escaped my comfortable little world and entered one that I have no comprehension of. My roommate suggested this book to me saying that she thought I would really like it. She hit the nail on the head with this one. There were so many little things that just kept me turning the page to find out more. I was hooked. The different people we’re getting a glimpse at, it’s all from this one perspective but, we’re getting insight into how they are feeling along with how the narrator is feeling. It’s not going into depth about how the narrator feels but, the little things that she’s doing. A glance here, noticing something there, getting in the face of an orderly, it all works with pulling the reader into her mind. It’s the little things like this that make me mad at He said, She said.
Just wow. I’m so glad it didn’t it didn’t turn into copy and paste dictionary passages. Like when she was talking about breaking down the simple sentence “I’m tired,” it’s making me think about it, think about my tongue and how big it is, how when I don’t think about it, it seems to shrink. There’s so much going on here, I was really enjoying this. Just a simple statement, I’m tired, broken down into how the brain goes off on tangents. When I can’t get to sleep easily, I always say that my brain won’t turn off or slow down and this just captures it so well. It was something that was relate-able and all her own experience.
The readers get a glimpse of what was going on in her head, her thought process. We don’t get the names of the feelings but the way her thoughts seem to go all over the place, the stops and starts give me the feeling that I’m looking for. It’s what keeps me riveted to a story or a narrative.
I could barely put this book down and I’m so glad that I was off today so that I could start and finish it today.
I would highly, highly recommend this to late teens and older, even if you’re like me and aren’t a nonfiction reader. Trust me, you won’t put this down.
Thank you for reading my review.