Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted

By (author) Susanna Kaysen

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In 1967, after a session with a doctor she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital that was as renowned for its famous clientele - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles were among its patients - as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its rare sanctuary.In a series of spare, razor-sharp vignettes marked by startling black humor, "Kaysen writes as lucidly about the dark jumble inside her head as she does about the hospital routines, the staff, the patients." (Kirkus Reviews) Through her own experiences (augmented by pages from her medical record) and those of her fellow patients, Kaysen opens up the world of the hospital and questions the social and emotional assumptions that divide people into deviant or normal.More than a story of young women and madness, Girl, Interrupted is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. It is a clear-sighted, unflinching historical document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of mental illness and recovery.

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  • Hardback | 168 pages
  • 142.24 x 210.82 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • 01 Jun 1993
  • Random House (NY)
  • English
  • 0679423664
  • 9780679423669

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Customer reviews

Short and bittersweet. True anecdotes about life inside a mental hospital.

"...Kaysen initially was admitted to McLean for treatment of depression, but ended up being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and some of the files that have been scanned into the book are quite interesting to look at. Academically, there is a lot more known about mental illness now than there was while Kaysen was being treated at McLean, but there are still a lot of common misconceptions, and that makes me feel like at least some of the stigma still exists against this type of thing. That's one of the reasons I think I like this book so much; Kaysen and the other in-patients she talks about don't really conjure up images of men in white coats, straitjackets and padded walls - they're in the moderate security ward. They don't seem necessarily crazy, for the most part, and I found myself really caring about them..." For full review, please visit me at Les Livres on Blogger! http://jaimeliredeslivres.blogspot.com/2011/12/girl-interrupted.htmlshow more
by Colleen