Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted

Book rating: 01 Paperback Virago Press

By (author) Susanna Kaysen

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  • Publisher: Virago Press Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 194mm x 14mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 17 February 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1860497926
  • ISBN 13: 9781860497926
  • Edition statement: Film tie-in.
  • Illustrations note: facsimiles
  • Sales rank: 1,477

Product description

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 to be treated for depression. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor and Ray Charles. A clear-sighted, unflinching work that provokes questions about our definitions of sane and insane, Kaysen's extraordinary memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers.

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Author information

Susanna Kaysen was born in 1948 and brought up in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she still lives. She has written two novels, ASA, AS I KNEW HIM and FAR AFIELD. While working on the latter, memories of her two year stay at McLean's psychiatric hospital began to emerge. With the help of a lawyer she obtained her 350 page file from the hospital. GIRL, INTERRUPTED followed.

Customer reviews

By mickey ip 14 Jan 2013 1

a book that i won't recommend. except with the true hospital records of the author's depressive disorder, there's nothing else to impress me. and even with the records, they're printed in very small letters which it's difficult if not impossible to read.

Review quote

Not since Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar has a personal account of life in a mental hospital achieved as much popularity and acclaim TIME MAGAZINE Intelligent and painful GUARDIAN Girl, Interrupted is superb, poignant and more powerful for its lack of romantic inflation, whining, or self-congratulation SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted is the autobiographical story of the author's time in a psychiatric award in 1967. Sylvia Plath was a patient at the same hospital in the early 1950s so inevitably comparisons have been made between Plath's The Bell Jar Kaysen's account goes further and questions the standard notions of sanity and insanity. Her plausible voice allows the reader to accept a world where time is distorted, chaos reigns and questions are left unanswered, capturing perfectly the sense of help

Editorial reviews

At 18 years old, after a shockingly brief interview with a doctor, Kaysen was sent to a psychiatric hospital where she spent most of the next two years. It was 1967, and this extraordinary and fluently written account examines the 'parallel universe' of life on the teenage girls' ward. The outside world romping through the late 1960s is set against the extraordinary, the funny and the tragic events in the lives of the girls inside, brilliantly exploring the sane and insane, illness and recovery. Kaysen's skilful narrative is totally compelling. (Kirkus UK)