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Prozac Nation

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  49,615 Ratings  ·  1,614 Reviews
A harrowing story of breakdowns, suicide attempts, drug therapy, and an eventual journey back to living, this poignant and often hilarious book gives voice to the high incidence of depression among America's youth. A collective cry for help from a generation who have come of age entrenched in the culture of divorce, economic instability, and AIDS, here is the intensely per ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Riverhead Books (first published 1994)
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Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Haha, so many people hate her for being so self-absorbed and whiney and I agree, she is - but I love her for it. I think it's honest; it's a fair depiction of what a lot of people feel when they're depressed and I thought it was powerfully written. Maybe I need to read it again now that I'm older but I do remember loving it several years ago.

I'd like to add that there's another review on this website that slams this book for being whiny and that Wurtzel should 'just get over it' because there's
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
But the rain was ominous. No denying it. It was the rain that Dylan sings about in “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Where black is the color and none is the number and all that.

This book left me- for lack of a better word- confused. Even though this was my second time rereading Prozac Nation, I'm still unable to fully understand Elizabeth Wurtzel. Man, I hope she's finally ok.

Insanity is knowing that what you're doing is completely idiotic, but still, somehow, you just can't stop it.

I love how people somehow think depression is about being privilegied or not. It's a chemical imbalance, and it happens regardless of money, status or skills.
It's not like having the blues which you can shop your way out of!

Friend the Girl
Sep 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who love other people's self-righteous whining
I'm beginning to really hate memoirs, especially the current memoir craze, where everybody has a "tragic, heartwarming story" about being abused or abusing themselves and how they got over it. Honestly, to really get over something is to not write a fictionalized book about it, publish it, promote it, and watch a film being made about it.

Prozac Nation especially irritated me. I got it for free, so thank god for that, but it is so incredibly awful and whiny in an "I was so badass, you don't even
Mar 08, 2008 rated it liked it
“Homesickness is just a state of mind for me. I’m always missing someone or someplace or something. I’m always trying to get back to some kind of imaginary somewhere. My life has been one long longing.” Elizabeth Wurtzel

So I’m reading Prozac Nation right now, and the first thing that has become evident to me is that it is not, contrary to my expectations, really about Prozac at all. I had it in my head that it was some kind of ideological expose on the sad state of our pop-a-pill, medicatedly nu
this was the first book i read when i was given the diagnosis of "depression" and i immediately thought, "i am so not depressed!" the book is full of self-loathing and self-indulgence. elizabeth wurtzel is full of herself and attention getting. (and she blames the fact that everyone is depressed on broken homes. what about those of us with happily married parents?)

i wanted to shake her and ask, "but why don't you feel guilty? why are you blaming everyone else? why are you making everyone watch y
Jul 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
If you are someone who struggles with the isolating and depleting pain of depression then this book will be one that you read with great empathy. You will find yourself identifying with certain passages, certain experiences, that the author describes. Wurtzel was raised by a single mother and basically abandoned by a father who refused to pay for therapy in her teen years, thus it took her a long time to finally enter a treatment program, find the right therapist, and begin the trial and error o ...more
Tony Cohen
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved his book.

Wurtzel does a brilliant job detailing the devastating depression she goes through. In the closing, she said one of the hard things was justifying why she had to write this book, when there are so many other serious problems out there. But depression is one of is a huge and growing problem and the author does a powerful job showing the ravaging, exhausting, all-consuming effects of said depression. The biggest insight I gained out of this book was that it as so damn ha
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who thinks their life is shit
This is the first book I ever read. Never read a book in elementary, middle, or high school, but I did read alot of cliffs notes and I saw 'Lord of the Flies' on vhs. VHS! God, I'm getting old.

Anyway... I remember buying this book without anyones recomemdation or reading reviews. I became enthralled with Elizabeth Wurtzel. I felt like she was writing about me. She understood my problems, she understood my pain, and she made the same choices, and really, the same mistakes as me. This book made m
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anxiety, favourites, 2015
This book is just so important and powerful in showing what it's really like living with depression. Truly raw and brutal, but so insightful and beautiful. Trigger warning for anyone with depression, suicidal thoughts or self harm or any mental disorder should know that this book is definitely brutal and honest, so be aware of that.
But I honestly tabbed SO many things because I could relate to it so much. What a memoir. I don't think I'll ever, ever forget it.
Julia's Book Haven
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is some heavy reading. I want to say I enjoyed it but that just doesn't seem like the right word. Appreciated it is better I think. The way Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote this book makes it seem like she is just sitting beside you telling you her story. Her voice is an easy one to read. As someone who struggles with depression everyday I found myself relating a lot to how Wurtzel described herself feeling. I would recommend this book to people, especially young people, if you have depression. ...more
Sep 03, 2007 rated it did not like it
When I decided I wanted to read this book, I didn't really know anything about it. Somehow, I had decided that it was going to be a mix between a memoir and a sociological look at how antidepressants are prescribed with little to no consideration of a patient's actual pathology. Oh, how wrong I was...

Prozac Nation is just another whiny LiveJournal-esque blog about how horrible life is... just because. But when we're going to take a break from this oh-so-agonizing can't-put-my-finger-on-it pain,
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018reads

I didn't feel like this book captured what it's like to be depressed. Having depression myself, I can understand the self-worth and meaning of the life that comes with it, but Wurtzel's version of it is narcissistic and selfish. She is whiny and expects everyone in her life to care only for her. She doesn't appreciate anything her parents or other people around her do for her. I got through +/-100 pages and just couldn't anymore. I'm kind of mad at her because she's pushing everyone away and
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
the following should be considered before reading this book:
1. it is a memoir; by nature, memoirs are self-indulgent.
2. it is a memoir about depression. this book will be far more indulgent than the "regular" memoir.

this book is phenomenal at depicting the thoughts, moods, and turbulence found throughout a lifetime of depression. it's certainly worth noting if the reader suffers from depression because the cyclical patterns she experiences are incredibly relatable. the fact that she doesn't "edi
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
People hate on this book because Elizabeth Wurtzel is so whiny, ungrateful, etc - but she was writing a book on personal depression. Depression can be a black hole where there is nothing except not being able to crawl out of bed, no end in sight. You can't find the energy to shower, to talk, to care about anything. Chemical imbalances are the scientific terms for this, but when you suffer through it, there seems to be no rhyme or reason. You just don't care, or perhaps care too much and shut dow ...more
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Written by an ivy league school attending New York Jewess the author shows all the most annoying traits of that demographic. A good example of which is she likes to claim she lived in poverty but yet she somehow managed to pay tuition at Harvard!!! Not to mention afford all of those shrinks that she dealt with throughout her life.

In this book she gives a personal recollection of being "depressed" during her childhood and college years. The only thing about her being "depressed" is she really do
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
If Wurtzel had gone more in depth with the topics she brings up in the epilogue about the nation's shift towards psychopharmacology and automatic gratification, this . As it is, the book is horribly mistitled- she doesn't address her experience with Prozac until the final chapters.

As a memoir, it could have been more centered and deliberate- but I understand why it's not. Having several friends who have gone through depression (many in almost the same words as Wurtzel), I understand that the il
Apr 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Although my teacher tells me that this is not "literature," I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in depression issues or the genre of memoir.

I sent this book to a friend and she hated it because of the main character, Lizzie. This is what I love about this book. It is honest and doesn't sugarcoat things. It describes Lizzie's good times and mostly bad times and her struggles within herself. It also touches on so many other topics like family, addiction, relationships, etc.

If you have
Jessica Halleck
Aug 12, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Not as awful as some have claimed, but decidedly shallow and self-indulgent.

By no means is someone obligated to be insightful about their life, to have learned something, or even to be interesting. No one is obligated to do anything in a memoir but tell their story the way they want it told.

An unlikeable protagonist is a hard thing to stomach however, and try as I might I could muster no sympathy for Wurtzel. She whines, she blames her Jewish mother, she wallows, she emerges none-the-wiser. As
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's had any experience with depression or depressives
Shelves: womenlit, non-fiction
most important thought: the author did an amazing job describing her depression. i was constantly underlining sentences and tabbing pages. i am extremely grateful to have read her memoir. this book was a very important and helpful read for me.

less important in light of aforementioned praise, but still frustrating: what's up with the name of the book and the first chapter? she's framing the book like it's going to be all anti-drug, and about the failure of the system or such, but then really it's
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
"There was never enough money for anything..." Really? No money for anything but private schools, an apartment in the upper west side of NYC, summer camp for a month each summer, dance lessons, cruises, Betsy Johnson dresses, and private therapy five days a week. This book starts off as an insult to the truly poor and middle class. She then goes on to trivialize the depression of others. No one at Harvard has as black of days as she does and, later in the epilogue, the implication is that while ...more
Dec 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
I almost felt like I needed Prozac after completing this. I couldn't imagine going through life being as emotionally unstable and clingy as the author. It's really incredible to me how certain events in our lives can trigger behavior and our mental well-being. Even more amazing is how all of the madness is tamed by this little pill. I did feel kind of unsettled by how quickly things come together by the books' end. I guess when things are so out of control and it's not reality, it really doesn't ...more
John Porter
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
I have a hard time with this book, the same way I do with a lot of confessional memoirs. I have enormous sympathy for the condition she was/is in; I have a whole lot less for her generalizing her experiences. Others say that it's unfair to hold Wurtzel's attractiveness, her privileged background, her intelligence, and her lifestyle against her. Except she shoves it in our faces. The premise is that "This can happen to anyone!" What's disturbing is the little, tiny unsaid "(even someone like me)" ...more
Sara Williams
You skip school for a week and it took your so called friends four whole days to notice, and when they ask what is it you've been up to and you answer 'I am afraid to live and depression has landed its final hit. Somehow I can't get out of bed' there is a slight shrugh that reads: Oh, it's only depression. I thought it was somehow much serious.
To understand that depression is not just a moment is the most crucial step to anyone who has never been through an illness as hideous as this one. If you
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book. A lot of people are bothered by the author's self absorption but that is the truth of depression - it turns you into a emotional parasite. Wurtzel is brutally honest and self aware, she knows the pain she causes others but is powerless to change- "They have no idea how much energy and exasperation I am willing to suck out of them until I feel better. I will drain them and drown them until they know how little of me there is left even after I’ve taken everything they’ve got to ...more
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It has taken me 18months to read this book. It is exhausting.

I picked up this book when my husband was diagnosed with depression and prescribed Prozac. I remember growing up in the 90's, all the contoversy surrounding anti depressants and the 'yuppy' sickness that was affecting generation Xers. This book was recommended as an insight into depression and the lifelong battle to manage depressive behaviours.

Wurtzel has been sat on my shelf for several weeks, cast under my bed for months and I even
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
It was like sawdust, the unhappiness: it infiltrated everything, everything was a problem, everything made her cry - school, homework, boyfriends, the future, the lack of future, the uncertainty of future, fear of future, fear in general- but it was so hard to say exactly what the problem was in the first place. - Melanie Thernstrom, The Dead Girl

I thought I was the only person who felt this way... it's great to see that I'm not. This book was truly inspiring, how a woman could go through such h
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anglés
No sé exactamente qué decir de este libro.

¿Está bien escrito? Definitivamente. Creo que es muy interesante la forma en la que describe sus experiencias. Es muy directo y honesto. No esconde absolutamente nada de las cosas que hizo en el pasado y eso hace que sea también muy valiente. Además, me parece muy acertada la forma en la que cuenta los hechos, ya que, el texto está dividido en diferentes partes. Tenemos el texto con letra normal pero tiene algunos apartes en los que principalmente profun
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My favorite quotes from this are:

"...if you ask anyone in the throes of depression how he got there, to pin down the turning point, he'll never know. There is a classic moment in The Sun Also Rises when someone asks Mike Campbell how he went bankrupt, and all he can say in response is, 'Gradually and then suddenly.' When someone asks how I lost my mind, that is all I can say too." -Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

"...then one day you realize that your entire life is just awful, not worth living,
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I remember reading reviews on this book and thinking, this is going to be one horrible book. I wasn't even going to read it, until I wanted new reading material.
Needless to say from the four stars I gave it, I thorougly enjoyed it. I didn't feel as if she was the most relatable character other than the fact that she was depressed. She does have it much easier than most people with these same issues...but it just goes to show you how depression can hit anyone. I remember she said in the book how
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Aiossa's Senior 5...: melanie perez 1 33 Oct 18, 2012 06:43PM  
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Brought up Jewish, Wurtzel's parents divorced when she was young. As described in Prozac Nation, Wurtzel's depression began at the ages of ten to twelve. She attended Ramaz for high school and was described as an over-achiever by her teachers, who expected her to become a nationally famous writer. While an undergraduate at Harvard College, she wrote for The Harvard Crimson and the Dallas Morning N ...more
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“That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.” 2540 likes
“Some friends don't understand this. They don't understand how desperate I am to have someone say, I love you and I support you just the way you are because you're wonderful just the way you are. They don't understand that I can't remember anyone ever saying that to me. I am so demanding and difficult for my friends because I want to crumble and fall apart before them so that they will love me even though I am no fun, lying in bed, crying all the time, not moving. Depression is all about If you loved me you would.” 2132 likes
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