Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted

Book - 1994
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In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna was put in a taxi and sent to a psychiatric hospital. Susanna's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1994, c1993
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed
ISBN: 9780679746041
Call Number: TEEN B KAYS 1994
616.89 K184g 1994
Characteristics: 168 p. ; 20 cm


From Library Staff

Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties.

Moving account of the 17 months Kaysen spent on a ward for teenage girls at McLean Psychiatric Hospital; the hospital of choice for such famous patients as Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles.

From the critics

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Apr 30, 2017

Girl, Interrupted is a hauntingly beautiful memoir about Susanna Kaysen’s experience at a psychiatric hospital. After one session with a psychiatrist she had never met before, Susanna Kaysen was sent away to McLean Hospital, specialized to deal with troubled young women, where she meets many characters from Lisa to Daisy. Staying there for a period of 18 months, Susanna reflects on her own mental illness and how to truly define “sanity”. This memoir shows the different ways one goes through mental illness and will change the way you think about it. 4.6 out of 5.
-@freshprinceofbooks of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Girl, Interrupted is a very interesting novel about Susanna Kaysen's own experiences at Mclean Psychiatric Hospital during the 1960’s. Kaysen recounts stories of all of the fascinating people she met in her “parallel universe,” such as other patients like Polly, Daisy, and Lisa. This memoir makes you feel like you are part of her world and helps you understand what she and others around her were going through. This is definitely worth the read and it’s fairly short so it won’t take you a while to finish. I would rate it 4/5 stars.
- @reginaphalange of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Dec 29, 2015

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen is a novel that is famous for its very realistic portrayal of mental illness. This memoir recalls Kaysen’s experiences with mental illness and borderline personality disorder as a teen in Belmont, Massachusetts. It is a collection of anecdotes and reflections of her personal experience in a mental institute and dealing with her condition. During her stay, she meets a number of notable characters such as Lisa the sociopath, Polly the schizophrenic, and Daisy who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Susanna tells her personal story through her interactions and experiences with the other girls in the institute such as her escape with Lisa and her visit to Daisy’s house. Throughout the book, Susanna also struggles with her own personal breakdowns following her suicide attempt which landed her in the institute. She begins to imagine that sanity is only an idea constructed by society and believes in parallel worlds. Overall, I feel that Girl, Interrupted is a very heavy read that is brutally honest about the world of illness and what it feels like to be in that position rather than looking from a distance. Susanna’s experiences can help those who have never experienced mental illness understand and get an insight into the life of someone who has. They can also serve as comfort for those who have dealt with mental illness and show the world that depression is not something that can just be ignored. I would recommend this book to anyone who has any curiosity about or any relation to the world of mental illness.

Mar 22, 2015

I thought this book was a wonderful insight into Kaysen's time spent in a psychiatric hospital. Too often, psychiatric patients are portrayed as one-dimensional, horror-driven individuals that should be left alone. Kaysen reminds us that any one of us could end up in her shoes, and that's what kept me reading.

Jun 28, 2014

I did not realise that this book was based off of the experiences of the author until I noticed that the author and the main character shared the same first and last name. I believe that would be an indication that this is a very well-written memoir. I loved the quirky characters and truthfulness in the words. I couldn't put this one down.

Apr 08, 2013

I can't believe I'm saying this butt, I enjoyed the movie more... That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book but the movie is definetly juiced up more.. Still nothing beats the story told in first person. If anything I'd say read the book just to have read it. It's an easy read and definetly makes you think. We've all felt crazy at one time or another! :)

Aug 23, 2011

One of my favourite books of all time, along with her other book, "The Camera My Mother Gave Me."

penpencil22 Jun 23, 2011

Girl, Interrupted was a very clear book and an easy & fast read. I loved reading the medical charts throughout the book; it was interesting and something different to break up the text. I expected a lot more from it though. The chapters all seemed to be disconnected from each other which made the whole story seem disconnected too. It was more like several little memoirs combined to make a book. All in all, it was worth reading.


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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent.

Jun 28, 2014

I got better and Daisy didn't and I can't explain why. Maybe I was just flirting with madness the way I flirted with my teachers and classmates.

penpencil22 Jun 23, 2011

"Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?"

penpencil22 Jun 23, 2011

"Crazy isn't being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It's you or me amplified."


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Oct 10, 2014

Maggiebutcher thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 28, 2014

ErinMWilson thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Jun 28, 2014

This is a true story, about an 18 year old girl who was brought to stay at a mental institution that is known for being home for many mentally ill stars, such as: Ray Charles and Sylvia Plath. In this book Kaysen describes what life was like there as well as introducing unique characters that manage to warm your heart.


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