Girl, Interrupted
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Girl, Interrupted

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  103,605 ratings  ·  2,234 reviews
See alternate cover edition here.

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...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 19th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1993)
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have you ever spent any time in a psychiatric hospital? yeah, well, i don't recommend it. i was a patient for a total of 2 and a half days, and it was one of the best and worst experiences of my life. i liked this book because i was able to relate to some of her feelings. when i went in, it was because i was on the verge of something, and thank god i caught myself in time. my first morning there, i remember thinking, "i have to get out of here, because i may not be crazy now, but these people wi...more
Mar 14, 2012 Nataliya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in medicine or psychology
“Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?” Good question, isn't it? You may start asking yourself this after reading this book.

I only spent a few months taking care of patients in psychiatric hospitals, but it made me really appreciate the nuances of Kaysen's story. It is the viewpoint of someone who had to experience questioning her sanity - the one thing most of us take for granted.
"Every window in Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco."
What some don't know about personality disorders...more
Everything is made of language. In the morning you hear those damned birdies tweedlydee tweedlydoo to each other or some damned cats meowing but that’s not language. It may be communication but it has no grammar and it can only describe the here and now (the hear and know). The birdies are tweebing about the cats, “look there’s a kitty cat watch out” and the cats are meowing about the birdies (“I see a lot of edible things in trees”) and it doesn’t get much more interesting than that. They will...more
We're told not to, but I sometimes do judge a book by its cover. At least once in my life, it has paid off. I first read this book because I saw it laying under the desk of a girl in my French class in 8th grade and was immediately attracted to it- the constrast of blue against white and the separation and duality of the girl between.

It was beautiful and strange and thought-provoking and somehow irrationally felt as close to me as some crazy friend who'd been trapped in my own brain for thirteen...more
While Susanna Keysen composes some very poetic essays offering alternative and sometimes beautiful perspectives in her autobiography, her general tone is very, very defensive. Granted discussing whether or not one suffered from a mental illness can never be easy, but the book seems to be her manifesto for proving that she wasn't really borderline, as her therapist diagnosed.

I don't know enough about Borderline Personality Disorder to judge - I agree that it seems women are disproportionately di...more
Tara Lynn
Saw the movie, loved Angelina in it. Now I'll tackle the book.

Update: Finished the novel. I'm now convinced that the publication and fantastic reception of this novel was probably a great case of timing. Kaysen's account of her stay in McLean Hospital is a captivating look into her mental state during her 2 year stay. However, I've got to say that if she had stayed elsewhere, or tried to publish her account now, it probably wouldn't have been received as favorably. For the most part, many of he...more
Kaysen's memoir paints a picture of a girl whose mental health is alternately proven through vivid awareness of the world around her, and disputed by accounts of self-harm and detachment.

It's interesting to note the similar war between those who have read this book. Half of them conclude that she was a confused and directionless young woman whose stint in McLean was the result of an intolerant society and a psychological field still in its kneejerk infancy. They wonder, could that have been me?...more
Katie Pohling
“Are you crazy? It’s a common phrase, I know. But it means something particular to me: the tunnels, the security screens, the plastic forks, the shimmering, ever-shifting borderline that like all boundaries beckons and asks to be crossed. I do not want to cross it again” (159).
Girl, Interrupted is a memoir regarding Susanna Kaysen and her overall journey as a medical patient in her late teens. In 1967, Susanna was an ordinary eighteen year old until she attempted to commit suicide by swallowi...more
This book was a memoir of Susanna Kaysen's time in a mental institution and it was written in homodiegetic narration.
When I first started this book I thought it would be an excellent insight into the damaged mind of a young eighteen year-old girl and I was looking forward to the intriguing thoughts of a mentally ill person. However, I found that the book mostly focused on the author's time in the mental institution and I did not get a sense of how the illness affected herself. Kaysen mainly desc...more
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy."

After a phone call to her boyfriend to advise him of her impending suicide, Susan swallowed 50 aspirin then remembered her mother asking her to pick up milk and headed for the store. Her halfhearted suicide attempt, she states, was not an attempt at death but rather an attempt at partial suicide to get rid of the part of herself that no longer wished to live. A year later on June 15, 1967, she has an appointment with a n...more
This is another one I've read so many times, that I can't remember when I first bought it. In short little snippets of chapters, Kaysen takes us through her journey in a "looney bin" in the 1960s. I loved her writing- it was so bold, crisp, concise and unforgiving. She carefully uses it to give faces, names and true understanding to those who were labeled "crazy." You'll be dazzled by her talent, crushed by her truth, and just plain giggly by her details. Love it.
The first book that I read this summer was a fiction book called “Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen. This book was an autobiography written about Susanna and her experiences at McLean Hospital. Susanna Kaysen spent two years from the age of 18 at the ward for teenage girls in the psychiatric hospital. Those who could afford it stayed at the hospital and those who could not were sent off into the real world.
A major theme that appeared multiple times throughout this book was happiness.
Most of...more
-This is 2 books in a row I have read about mental illness. I don’t mean to be harsh here but I did not like this book at all. It was a lot like An Unquiet Mind. It seemed sporadic and cold. Maybe because it was written from the point of view from a person who has mental illness. Maybe the difficulty is with organizing thoughts and time. I am not sure but for me, it was a difficult read. I also found it odd that Susanna said very little about her family. This was a book about her but I find it h...more
Originally from I Write, Therefore I am Alive

Susanna Kaysen’ memoir, Girl, Interrupted. This is written in account of the author’s experiences in a mental institution and being diagnosed of having Borderline Personality Disorder. The book don’t really follow a certain storyline with chronological events but somehow covers some of it but more focused on her reflections and realization on what happened and why she ended up being institutionalized. I liked how I get into the mind of an insane—or b...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the Spring of 1967, after taking 50 aspirin in an attempt to kill off a part of herself, Susanna Kaysen arrives for a voluntary "rest" at the McLean Psychiatric Hospital. At first, she is told that she will only be staying for a couple of weeks, but the two weeks extend into a perpetual stay, as she ends up spending the better part of the next two years on the South Belknap Two ward at McLean. Her fellow patients on this voyage to sanity are: Georgina, her roommate and the most sane of the pa...more
I had orginally seen the movie that was based on this book, before reading it. But the way that the author writes, and the thoughts she gives on psychology, and her disorder in general, throughout the book is amazing. Check it out, especially if you like 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'.
Marycate Howard
MaryCate Howard
Ms. Wheeler
H. English 2
August 29, 2009
Book Review

Susanna Kaysen’s Internal Struggle

Girl, interrupted by Susanna Kaysen had been written during the early 1900’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the year 2000 Girl, Interrupted won three awards; the Oscar, Blockbuster Entertainment, and the Critics Choice award. It had been published in 1993 by Turtle Bay Books. Kaysen’s book is a memoir of her own life written to explain how she had signed herself into McLean Hospital to be treate...more
This is another book that has left such an impact on me. For one I suffer from a mental illness so I can relate to Susanna in the book. Girl, Interrupted is a memoir of Susanna Kaysen when at the age of 18 was placed into a psychiatric hospital. Two years she spent inside recovering from her mental illness. Two years she was safe and free inside from the outside world. Mental illness changes you, it's a journey and it's a very hard one. We watch Susanna struggle and get worse before she gets bet...more
Morgan F
I enjoyed the book even if I'm not all that sure about the message.

This book was the true story of Susanna Kaysen who was committed to a mental hospital when she was 18. The chapters were short and crisp, and could most likely be read as short stories in themselves. The book was also interspersed with official forms documenting Kaysen's two year stay at McLean, which Kaysen only got the rights to many years after with the help of a lawyer. Kaysen kept her writing humorous and curt as she talked...more
Erin ♥ (Paperback Stash)

Such an unusual book, but I suppose it was meant to be. Really quick read due to the swift writing style, choppy chapters, and large fonts. It skips around all over the place so nothings a surprise as one chapter you learn something, and then the next chapter it's back in time again. For example, you know from the beginning how long she stays there. Nothing quite detailed in the book so you don't really get to know much about anyone either. Everything's quickly, fleetingly touched upon. When det...more
Many of what Keyson writes resonates with my own struggles with depression and a general sense of not belonging. The book really affected me in ways that I felt it should not have, as in it forced me to face some of my own demons. However by the end of the book I was a little disappointed in the way in which it was sort of thrown out and it ended on a sarcastic and defensive note. It almost negated the struggles she faced, in my mind at least. Although perhaps the fact that she blew it off as be...more
Lauren Fidler
dear susanna kaysen,

i'm sorry you were a crazy teenager. i'm sorry your parents felt the need to lock you up at mclean's mental institution where you were forced to interact with people far crazier than you; people who kept chicken carcasses under their beds and who displayed scary, sociopathic tendencies. i'm sorry you had a headache one day and decided to take a bottle of aspirin to cure it.

and i'm really sorry you decided to write a book about it.

this book wants to be the "bell jar" without t...more
I am amazed by Kaysen's excellent writing! I am also impressed that she allowed her situation to be published for other women to read. It is so important today for girls, as well as young and older women who daily struggle with their depression and/or other mental disabilities. My daughter was diagnosed in 2001. She has been to more therapists & outpatient treatment places that I can list as well as programs in places like the Institute for Living. And yet, she still struggles today -- thirt...more
Girl, Interrupted has been one of my favourite movies for a while. But after reading the book, that's changed a bit. They changed so much for the movie, it's ridiculous. Like I know they changed things about fiction books for the movie, but that's totally different. This is a memoir. Someone's life. This actually happened. And they made a completely different story.
Anne Nikoline
Feb 03, 2012 Anne Nikoline rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who dislike non fiction
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: book club
Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted is a memoir regarding the author's overall journey as a medical patient when she was young. Once again I'm struggling on how to rate this memoir fairly, if that is even a possibility, because rating another person's life is not very right to do, am I right? It is odd to say "I give Susanna Kaysen journey in the medical hospital three stars!"

"Are you crazy? It's a common phrase, I know. But it means something particular to me: the tunnels, the security screens,...more
Mishel Zabala
I'm kind of struggling to write a review for this book. Although I liked and enjoyed reading it, I felt it was just an okay read. The memoir tells the story of Susanna Kaysen's stay at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. The short chapters were easily read and they retold certain experiences that Susanna went through and the people she came across while at the hospital. Even though they weren't necessarily in any chronological order they were still easy to follow.

In the late 1960s, at the age of e...more
Sydney Hamon
Girl, Interrupted

What went on in psychiatric hospitals in the 1960’s? Most people don’t know the pain and embarrassment that patients went through. Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted paints the perfect picture of a disturbed girl, who’s been forced to stay in a place surrounded by men and women filled with problems. This book has been a national best seller and made into a major motion picture. The purpose of this book is to show how men and women were treated while being treated in a psychiatr...more
Molly  Gray
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen is a wonderful memoir about the author's short residency in a mental hospital at the age of 18. In this twisted world where crazy is normal, Susanna and the other girls on the ward struggle to find themselves while battling mental illness and lack of support from family. Even if they do get out, they still struggle with the fact of being "freaks of nature" and end up coming back. Kaysen describes the mental hospital as a jail, but also a haven. The residents...more
Jasmine Chehaiber
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen is a true story about the narrator's (Susanna) experience at a mental hospital. In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to her in a scene where she is pushed down on a hospital getting her stomach pumped due to her severe overdose. She survives, then is directed to a mental hospital with no choice. She meets people that are beyond what she's ever seen. She befriends girls with eating disorders, habits of compulsively lying, maniacs, and mentally unsta...more
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Susanna Kaysen is an American author.

Kaysen was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kaysen attended high school at the Commonwealth School in Boston and the Cambridge School before being sent to McLean Hospital in 1967 to undergo psychiatric treatment for depression. It was there she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She was released after eighteen months. She later drew...more
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“Crazy isn't being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It's you or me amplified. If you ever told a lie and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child forever.” 622 likes
“Suicide is a form of murder - premeditated murder. It isn't something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.” 596 likes
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