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Girl, Interrupted (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) School & Library Binding – January 1, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0613377171 ISBN-10: 0613377176

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School & Library Binding, January 1, 1994
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Product Details

  • School & Library Binding: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback (1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613377176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613377171
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (544 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,496,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When reality got "too dense" for 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen, she was hospitalized. It was 1967, and reality was too dense for many people. But few who are labeled mad and locked up for refusing to stick to an agreed-upon reality possess Kaysen's lucidity in sorting out a maelstrom of contrary perceptions. Her observations about hospital life are deftly rendered; often darkly funny. Her clarity about the complex province of brain and mind, of neuro-chemical activity and something more, make this book of brief essays an exquisite challenge to conventional thinking about what is normal and what is deviant. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Kaysen's startling account of her two-year stay at a Boston psychiatric hospital 25 years ago was an eight-week PW bestseller.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This book really makes you think a lot.
Jennifer
The book however was captivating, I really had a hard time putting it down, and it's a very easy read.
Duudettes
When I first started reading this book, I couldn't set it down and finished it in one day.
Leily Sanchez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 101 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
After reading a few of the comments, which appalled me, I feel the need to comment myself. I have read the book, listened to the tape, and now seen the movie. It is NOT trying to belittle or give an actual diagnosis. This book is to free oneself (a.k.a. Kaysen) from that inner questioning. The way in which the book is written is as if it was a self journey. She did not say that BPD was not a valid disorder. However, she did imply she was not sure how she was diagnosed with the label. If you are looking for a witty piece of literature to read this is for you. It is about the trials and tribulations of one mind that is written almost poetically. However, if you are trying to find a book that can help you to understand or cope with someone who was diagnosed "BPD" this is not the book for you. I was upset by how arrogant some readers were with their comments. It is to be hoped that most of you know the difference between self help and self expression.
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104 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This slim memoir of a college student who suffers a "breakdown" honestly explores the details of mental illness, specifically "borderline personality" disorders. The account starts in a cold, almost frightening way: the first page is a copy of author Kaysen's case record folder. The reader then is given a fleeting description of the quiet moments leading up to Kaysen's lengthy hospitalization, and then is shown more official documents. This juxtaposition of the clinical with the personal highlights exactly what this memoir aims to express, that the darkness of mental disease has a face, a voice, that can be hidden by labels and diagnoses.

Kaysen's difficult and often terrifying journey - from the ordinary daughter of two achieving parents to a patient at a psychiatric hospital to, tentatively, a recovered young woman - is at once moving and beautiful. Even when the author asks questions that many before her have asked, she makes them seem fresh: "What is it about meter and cadence and rhythm that makes their makers mad?" She explores her illness at its most intimate moments and often follows her breaks with reality with detached physician reports, giving the reader both inside and outside perspectives. Through her interactions with other patients, Kaysen makes it clear that not everyone is as fortunate as she, since some cannot extricate themselves from their illness. Interestingly, despite once not believing that she really had bones inside her, Kaysen is not convinced she was mentally ill; if nothing else, this questions the internal changes we've been taught to accept as part of the onset of mental illness.

This book should not be read by anyone believing she is slipping toward insanity, but it might be a comfort to those who have already emerged.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Alex Nichols on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I saw the movie version of "Girl Interrupted" when it came out last winter in spite of the mostly negative reviews it received. I loved it, mainly because it highlighted how women can support each other through the toughest of circumstances. I then bought and read the book. The differences between the two are startling: the setting and most of the characters are the same, but the tone is quite different.
The book is mesmerizing from its first paragraph. Susanna Kaysen uses deceptively simple language to describe her experiences and the people she knew during her 18 months stay at McLean's mental hospital. We slowly come to understand the lack of humanity showed to these girls, and the confused world they came from. Ms Kaysen's spare, poetic prose is interspersed with copies of actual hospital records written at the time she was a patient. The records appear as confused as the patients they detail. They seem to detail Susanna's social interactions and levels of ease with others, as if this alone depicts signs of strong mental health. Some of them appear incomplete and neglected. One is left to wonder what exactly the professionals at this hospital were looking for: mental health or acceptable female behavior?
The book is brief, and leaves the reader with more questions than answers. How have we changed in the way we view certain types of female behavior? How have we changed in the way we view those suffering from mental illnesses? Do patients need to be cured or does the world need to be cured?
This is a remarkable book. It manages to raise awareness without giving in to self-pity. I would recommend it to anyone.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Susanna Kaysen checked herself into McLean Psychiatric Hospital when she was 18, in 1967. This book is about how her life was interrupted, the two years she spent at the hospital, the other girls on the ward, her keepers, and her psychiatrists. It shows you how someone with a "borderline personality" thinks, and how they act, without going into a lot of technical detail, just her own experiences. This book reminds me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, because of it's inside look of a teenager. The style of writing is also similar, yet it's not the same. The descriptive detail in both books is there throughout, but never excessive or boring. It keeps you reading until the end, and then wanting to know more.
One thing that stood out to me was the character description. It's most prominent in Susanna, the narrator, the main character. She shares her thoughts, whether or not they're important to other people, it's important to her, and she'll go into detail explaining it.
"Take a thought---anything; it doesn't matter. I'm tired of sitting here in front of the nursing station: a perfectly reasonable thought. Here's what velocity does to it. First, break down the sentence: "I'm tired"-well, are you really tired, exactly? Is that like sleepy? You have to check all your body parts for sleepiness, and while you're doing that, there's a bombardment of images of sleepiness, along these lines: head falling onto pillow, head hitting pillow, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Little Nemo rubbing sleep from his eyes, a sea monster. Uh-oh, a sea monster. If you're lucky, you can avoid the sea monster and stick with sleepiness."
This is probably my favorite quote from the book. Her thought process is so random, it's almost funny.
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