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
I don't know enough about Borderline Personality Disorder to judge - I agree that it seems women are disproportionately di...more
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
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
A major theme that appeared multiple times throughout this book was happiness.
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
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
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
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
A prestigious mental institute in 1967.
Susanna actually manages to make friends with some of the people and even becomes an acquantance with Lisa, the sociopathic psycho who has been at McLean eight years. You learn about the various disorders other patients have- schizophrenia, depression, anorexia, the list goes on as Susanna Kaysen, a bipolar schizophrenic who somehow has to adjust to this place, a place where bars guard the windows and p...more
"Are you crazy? It's a common phrase, I know. But it means something particular to me: the tunnels, the security screens,...more
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
I have been crazy busy for a couple of weeks and haven't had a lot of time to read and this book has been languishing on my nightstand, half completed, awaiting my return. However, I noticed today that I have been reading magazines, not feeling the slightest pull to finish this book. That means it's just not good enough, I guess.
This reminds me of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" for a lot of reasons. The main protagonist insists that they have been committed unjustly- they are not crazy, b...more
For my outside reading, I chose to read Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. Kaysen has also written Asa, As I Knew Him and Far Afield. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Girl, Interrupted is an ingenious memoir of Kaysen's stay in McLean Mental Hospital for attempted suicide and a condition called “Personality Disorder”. Kaysen describes her life before entering the hospital, the events that occur while inside of the institution, and...more
Anyone who thinks it's 'a compelling and heartbreaking story' is, as the author herself noted, distancing themselves from the scary. Understandable, sure, but unhelpful.
I think the movie was a good adaptation, though with the usual film touches like having them all go to see Daisy in her apartment. Imposing a narrative on what's more like a collection of memo...more
Susanna Kaysen was admitted to McLean Hospital in the 1960s for two years, when she thought she would only be there for a week or two to get some rest. She made friends in the hospital and was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The patients were under constant supervision, and even though she complains throughout the book, you can also tell she felt safe there. Her entire experience there is recounted, from "checks" the nurses did, outings they were a...more
What follows is her account of her two year stay on a women's ward. At times I felt sad reading Susanna's story. She also details her friends lives that she met during her time as an inpatient. There are also some lighter moments that had me laughing out loud.
This is a great autobiography. It gives great insight and s...more
In this epic story of me...more
Actually, it was only part of myself that I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made ever window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy. - p37
Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can't go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling, that person is kept insi...more
I seem to be drawn to books that center around a distressed female character that has some kind of personality defect. I had high expectations for this book since I really enjoyed the movie. Although the book had it's interesting parts and was somewhat relatable for me, it did not live up to my expectations. The book doesn't really have a distinct...more
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