In 1967 after a session with a psychiatrist she’ never seen before 18 year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in a ward for teenage girls at a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele- Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles – as for its progress to the methods of treating those who would afford its sanctuary.

Kingston’s memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perceptions 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 definition of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

I decided to pick this book up because I fell in love with the movie.I’m not sure why, I think I was intrigued by it and I watched it several times. So when I finally got ahold of the book I primarily thought it was going to be the same.  I was wrong this book is a memoir, more of an insight as to what Susanna was feeling and thinking. There is no structure or really a plot to this book. Its more just things that happened to her while she was at McLean Hospital , the staff and the different people she got to meet. I loved that the book had actual files of when she was in the hospital I thought it was a great touch. But what really made me love the book more than the movie was  how real it is. I can’t say I have depression or any kind of disorder  but a lot of what she says makes sense to me.

For example:

When you look at a face, you see a blob of rubber because you worried that your face is a blob of rubber.

This clarity made me able to behave normally, which posed some interesting questions. Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren’t? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act? If some people didn’t  see these things, what was the matter with them?

Like this here, I can totally relate to. Sometimes I have crazy thought and maybe everyone else does too but we just choose not to share them. Dose that make us all normal or all crazy??

There are some very interesting things about suicide as well but the way the girls (Susanna and the other patients) reacted to suicide in the book was “not normal” they were completely cool about it and just wondered how it was done.

This book really made me think, I felt really bad for a few of the patients that were never going to get out and sad for the ones that got out and we’re clearly still suffering.

Even though there is clearly no plot as I mentioned before I know this book will stick with me for a long time. I wold recommend this book but if you are easily triggered and do decide to pick this up please do it with caution.

4/5

 

 

 

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