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Girl, Interrupted
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Archive: Other Books > Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen ~ 3 stars

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Joni | 623 comments This book takes place in the late 1960's, when Susanna Kaysen has a short session with a psychiatrist and ends up admitted into a mental hospital for two years. In this book she chronicles here stay in this hospital along with the lives of a few of her fellow patients. Some were worse off than she was. Her diagnosis was Borderline Personality Disorder. She really didn't think there was anything "wrong" with her compared to the other patients. She was bothered by designs of tile flooring though.....checker board squares bothered her.....and the concept of time was a mystery. She thinks back to when she first seen the psychiatrist to the time she was actually admitted. Her records show a couple of hours in length where she believed it was 10-20 minutes.....or so it felt. This book was an interesting look at a time in psychiatry that many people just really didn't think about.

Diane Zwang | 485 comments I read this book a while back and enjoyed it. Scary to think you could be committed to two years for personality disorder.

AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments I read this when I was in middle school, as my sister was reading it and absolutely loved it. I felt more like you did Joni - an interesting read, but it didn't blow my mind. I will note, knowing several people with BPD that one of the symptoms is usually the inability to see it in themselves, but really, that could be said for a whole host of mental illnesses. It did strike me that her attitude seemed to match up, but I'm certainly not a professional and won't pretend to diagnose her. I do find these kinds of stories particularly interesting, simply from the standpoint that often, not wanting to socialize with the other patients can be seen as a symptom of mental disease, which is a tad ridiculous, considering the wide spectrum of people one is forced into contact with.

I remember watching a documentary on a man (whose name escapes me) that claimed to have been discriminated against for this very issue. According to him, he plead guilty to a crime he didn't commit, as his lawyer told him an insanity defense would be in his best interests and he has now been kept in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane for nearly double what his prison sentence would have been, in part, he claims, because he has not wanted to socialize with the other patients because they terrify him.

However, he has been diagnosed as a psychopath, if I remember correctly, so it brings up the complicated question - is he genuine, or is it a manipulation tactic? That is definitely the problem with our current understanding of psychology. It's still very much in the early stages and open to individual interpretation.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Good review. Often modern day understanding of psychology can be frightening but when you o back just a couple decades it is frightening.

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