Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen - Book Review

Girl Interrupted

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen - Book Review

With this autobiography, Susana Kaysen takes us back to 1967 when she was just an 18-year-old aspiring writer. While a quick overview of the book might give you the wrong impression that the writer solely focuses on her struggle with mental illness, Girl, Interrupted goes over so much more than that.

This best-selling memoir didn’t only manage to shed light on borderline personality disorder which Kaysen struggled with, it also discusses other personalities and mental illnesses she had encountered during her time in the private mental institution.

What helped this book stand out from other books that talk about mental illness, is the neutral tone Kaysen used to write about other patients and their disorders. The book didn’t chip in victimizing or demonizing any of the other diagnoses. One might even dare to say that, on the contrary, Kaysen managed to show different sides and perspectives to some of the most hated mental disorders. 

The writer engages the readers with an overtone of introspective lines of questioning Such as “have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60's”.

The magnificence of these deep questions didn’t only manage to pique the interest of the reader by giving an image of her true feelings that led to admission in a psychiatric ward; but, the writer gives a clear overview of the 60s and how society was quick to mark women as “crazy” and “unbalanced”.

When Kaysen stumbled upon her file in the ward that stated her diagnosis, she soon began to start researching the diagnosis criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) to understand more about the disorder.

While she related to the symptoms, one word stopped Susana in her tracks. One of the doctors had deemed her “promiscuous”. The simple thoughts and questions Kaysen ironically presents, then, shows the difference between how society dealt with “rebellious” young women compared to how society accepts, and sometimes even celebrates, the same and far more dreadful behaviors from men.

Book Details

Title: Girl Interrupted
Format: Paperback
Author: Susanna Kaysen
Language : English
Publisher : Thorndike Pr
ISBN: 0786225971

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