Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

8:51 PM

Pages: 168
Publisher: Virago
ISBN13: 9781860497926
Genre: Adult/Memoir

Review by Geraldine

Synopsis ( 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.

My Thoughts (Spoiler-Free):

After reading the synopsis, I thought that Susanna Kaysen was going to write about being in McLean Hospital at the same time that some of their famous clientele was staying there. I was surprised to find out that this was not the case because besides Kaysen, the other people that were primarily mentioned in the book were patients and nurses. Even though I have a general idea of what it was like in the 60's in insane asylums, psych wards, etc. I was curious to see what a psychiatric hospital would be like through the eyes of the author, Susanna Kaysen.

The writing style was what made it a slow read for me in the beginning and it didn't really capture my attention at first. But, after a few pages, I understood that it had to be written in the way that it was written to experience the characters' feelings better and get a better feel for how hospitals were in the 60's. After I got used to the writing style, I definitely could not put the book down and finished it in one sitting!

The one problem I had with the book was that I thought the length of the book was way too short considering the subject at hand! I feel like there are a lot of details missing throughout the book, but maybe it was meant to be written that way? Speaking of details, I wish the author went into more detail; I felt like I didn't really get a grasp on how it was like for Kaysen before she was admitted into the hospital and after she got out of the hospital. In the end, I had so many questions that never got any answers!

You know those lines in books that make you sit and think for a few minutes? Well, this book had a lot of that going on and I love when that happens! This was a quick read for me and I found it to be enjoyable overall! 3.5 stars!

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