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Paperback Girl, Interrupted Book

ISBN: 0679746048

ISBN13: 9780679746041

Girl, Interrupted

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Book Overview

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 in 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...

Customer Reviews

8 ratings

Girl, Interrupted

I ordered a paperback but I didn't get the cover I ordered

Didn't send the edition I ordered.

What's the point of being able to select what copy you want when they send the wrong cover anyways? This is the third time it's happened... be aware you might get the cover or edition you didn't order.

Couldn't Put It Down

This book quickly became one of my favourites, it is so well written and completing engaging. I work in the field of mental health and found this book truly eye opening. The author was able to effectively communicate what it feels like to reside in a psychiatric residence as well as how scary it can be to not be sure of one's own reality.

A Moving and Honest Portrait of Mental Illness

This slim memoir of a college student who suffers a "breakdown" honestly explores the details of mental illness, specifically "borderline personality" disorders. The account starts in a cold, almost frightening way: the first page is a copy of author Kaysen's case record folder. The reader then is given a fleeting description of the quiet moments leading up to Kaysen's lengthy hospitalization, and then is shown more official documents. This juxtaposition of the clinical with the personal highlights exactly what this memoir aims to express, that the darkness of mental disease has a face, a voice, that can be hidden by labels and diagnoses. Kaysen's difficult and often terrifying journey - from the ordinary daughter of two achieving parents to a patient at a psychiatric hospital to, tentatively, a recovered young woman - is at once moving and beautiful. Even when the author asks questions that many before her have asked, she makes them seem fresh: "What is it about meter and cadence and rhythm that makes their makers mad?" She explores her illness at its most intimate moments and often follows her breaks with reality with detached physician reports, giving the reader both inside and outside perspectives. Through her interactions with other patients, Kaysen makes it clear that not everyone is as fortunate as she, since some cannot extricate themselves from their illness. Interestingly, despite once not believing that she really had bones inside her, Kaysen is not convinced she was mentally ill; if nothing else, this questions the internal changes we've been taught to accept as part of the onset of mental illness. This book should not be read by anyone believing she is slipping toward insanity, but it might be a comfort to those who have already emerged. Kaysen is at once ordinary and gifted despite this turbulent part of her life. More importantly, this book should be read by the loved ones of those in distress, for it gives a human dimension to what is often ostracized. Understanding the thought processes of at least one stricken young women goes a long way to having compassion for and understanding others.

Entertaining and yet so real

I am only thirteen years old, and I read this book and related to it completely! I know what it's like to feel like you're all alone in this world much like Susanna Kaysen did. I have an anxiety disorder, but it is not nearly as serious as any of the mental illnesses in this book! However, the basic idea that people who are viewed as "crazy" may just be as normal as the next person you see going to work or running to catch the bus. It's great that somebody has pointed that out. When I was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I too felt that I was crazy and that no one would understand what I was going through. Although, I never got to the point where I wanted to commit suicide. The book was not only dramatic, it was kind of funny in a dark way. One page I was laughing at for about a half hour. SPOILER: The part where Lisa came into Daisy's room with chicken and laxatives, that cracked me up! I recommend this book to anybody who's every felt they were "crazy".

Method to the Madness

Many of us have doubted our sanity at one point or another, especially during adolescence; after reading this book, you may have cause to doubt it again. Susanna Kaysen's memoir portrays the "parallel universe" of insanity with alarming precision.Girl, Interrupted is a quick read, but worth reading more than once. Kaysen's prose is sophisticated, straightforward, and honest, with enough figurative language to give the book a poetic feel. The book is divided into short, self-contained chapters, organized in a vaguely (but not perfectly) linear time frame; the purpose of this is not to show a conventional plot, but to provide a loose framework for Kaysen's illness and its prognosis. Its departure from the confines of traditional stories is refreshing: there isn't the typical sense of character development or conflict, but that only reinforces the book's deeper sense of reality. Besides that, the conflict's still going on for Kaysen.Rather than trying to teach us a lesson, Kaysen intends to raise questions about the boundaries of madness, unclear and perpetually shifting, and about who has the ability to determine these boundaries. She accomplishes this covertly, but she certainly accomplishes it.I haven't seen the recently released movie, but from what I've seen and heard of it, it doesn't do this book justice. On the other hand, this review doesn't even do the book justice. It's beautifully written, engaging, and surprisingly relevant to our ordinary "sane" lives. I enthusiastically recommend this book and I applaud Kaysen for her literary contribution.

A Touching Must Reader!

This is a breath-taking true life account of the horrors involved with mental institutions. The author transferred the emotions felt by the character into the reader with poise and fluency. There is never a dull moment in the story line. The character is continuously faced with traumas that seem so unreal to most of us. It is a true reality check of the capability of our minds. Definitely recommended, for your enjoyment.

Duh, this book is not about psychology it is about her!

After reading a few of the comments, which appalled me, I feel the need to comment myself. I have read the book, listened to the tape, and now seen the movie. It is NOT trying to belittle or give an actual diagnosis. This book is to free oneself (a.k.a. Kaysen) from that inner questioning. The way in which the book is written is as if it was a self journey. She did not say that BPD was not a valid disorder. However, she did imply she was not sure how she was diagnosed with the label. If you are looking for a witty piece of literature to read this is for you. It is about the trials and tribulations of one mind that is written almost poetically. However, if you are trying to find a book that can help you to understand or cope with someone who was diagnosed "BPD" this is not the book for you. I was upset by how arrogant some readers were with their comments. It is to be hoped that most of you know the difference between self help and self expression.
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