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Girl, Interrupted

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  126,691 ratings  ·  2,777 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
Paperback, 169 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 disorde
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
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“People ask, how did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can’t answer the real question. All I can tell them is, it’s easy.”

Boy was it ever easy for Susanna Kaysen to end up in a psychiatric hospital. Now, Susanna was not “normal” per se. She randomly obsessed about things as bizarre as whether or not she actually had bones in her body since she couldn’t see them and wa

I’m sort of at a loss for how to describe this book and the emotions it provoked within me. I guess the best word I could use is “unsettled”, but probably not for the reason you would imagine.

This quote might shed some light on what I mean:

“The less likely (a) terrible thing is to happen, the less frightening it is to look at or imagine. A person who doesn’t talk to herself or stare into nothingness is therefore more alarming than a person who does. Someone who acts “normal” raises the uncomfo
Paul Bryant
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
-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
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
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
Being a big fan of the movie adaptation, I've always been curious to check out the book. Well, now that I finished reading it, I don't feel like I've gained anything from it.
It was a very short and easy read, there wasn't anything special about the writing style, and as a whole it felt rather... empty.
Kaysen recollects little stories and observations from her time at McLean, but there's a lot of jumping around and no real sense of chronology which makes it difficult to follow or even care. It
This probably wasn't the best book to read while currently trying to recover from mental illness, but I honestly just felt nothing for this book. I felt like the attachment between the writer and the reader that is supposed to be there wasn't there at all. I also couldn't understand some of the scans of the documents as the writing was ineligible, at least for me.
This book was such a disappointment, especially after the HUGE impact that Prozac Nation left on me.
This was a quick read but excellently written. I saw the movie years ago, which is different than the book. Also, I read this after reading I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Bottom line is that it's not easy being an adolescent/young adult female in any day or time period. There are so many changes encountered while growing up and becoming an adult that it is very difficult to adjust to the changes and make the transition to being a successful, independent person.
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
Erin (Paperback stash) *is juggle-reading*

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

Book clubs are a great way to read texts that may be more challenging for students. They provide an outlet for students to discuss the book they are reading and gain a deeper understanding of the text. The book Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen is a perfect example of a book that should be read in book clubs.

Girl Interrupted is about Susanna Kaysen an 18 year old girl diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and her experiences at Mclean Hospital, a psychiatric facility. The book also fo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A very honest and quite dark account of a young girl's experience in a mental institution, as well as the psychological truths of borderline personality. Girl, Interrupted brings you unwaveringly close to its protagonist and does not sugar coat. A great read for those interested in psychology -- one chapter in particular, on mind and brain, beautifully illustrates the struggle of psychopathology that often seems somewhat of a guessing game.
Books like this are always hard to review. I mean, it's a true recount of someone's real life experiences so how do you put a rating to that? Even if the book isn't very well written or isn't told in a very gripping way, you still feel impressed by and respect for the person for being brave enough to share their story with the world. Most of us are too scared to share our fictional work with people that we know, let alone share our true life stories with strangers around the world.

Luckily, in th
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
"A lot of mind, though, is turning out to be brain. A memory is a particular pattern of cellular changes on particular spots in our heads. A mood is acompound of neurotransmitters. Too much acetylcholine, not enough serotonin, and you've got depression.

So, what's left of mind? "

When I first started reading this, I was expecting something along the lines of the movie based on it. I didn't get it, but I think that is both a good and a bad thing. It's bad in that I don't feel that Kaysen's writin
For many of us, the hospital was as much a refuge as it was a prison

2.5 stars. Well written, but unfortunately lacking the impact the movie had. I was expecting the same storyline, but this is more a collection of memories, and her thoughts on the thin line between sanity and insanity.
this book is weird and not chronological, not always cohesive, and not necessarily coherent but I absolutely loved every word of it for that reason.

There are some amazing quotes in here, most of which are rather dark and about dark topics. This is definitely not a happy ending story.

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'.
Jessica Ashe
This book grabbed me from the beginning and took me on a interesting ride through the life of a psychiatric patient and the long, winding road it takes to get to a point of recovery.

Girl interrupted makes you realize just how easy the wall between crazy and reality can become blurred. This book will make you really think past your norm.

Since I did have the movie on hand, I took the liberty of watching it in comparison. The main points were there, but they indulged quite a bit on the personal re
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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 about Susanna Kaysen...

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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.” 726 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.” 714 likes
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