Friday, 25 November 2011

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital to be treated for depression. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, Anne Sexton and Ray Charles.

I got requested to read this book by my friend Amber - a different Amber from the one who asked me to read Fable: The Balverine Order. And since me and her have such an alike taste in books, I knew that pretty much from the start, I was going to fall in love with it. And fall in love with it, I did. The book is basically a memoire of Kaysen's late teenage years, where she was put into a psychiatric hospital for a personality disorder. (It was really strange when I found this out, because earlier this week I started planning to write a story for my English assessment where the main character has a personality disorder - coincidence, much?) Even though it was years since the events that Kaysen published this book, you can still feel the powerful raw emotion the patients in the ward felt - and even though they were typically 'crazy', a lot of what she talked about I could relate to, and I found myself growing incredibly fond of not only Kaysen, but of Georgina, Lisa, Torrey, Polly, Alice - and even Daisy. It says on the back of the book: "Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy", and I swear this is going to become my new life motto, because it is absolutely true. And at the end of the day, she got better, and had a lot more knowledge from that experience than a lot of people can get in a lifetime - and through reading this book, I feel like I have obtained just a little bit of that knowledge, and I am entirely grateful for it. I read it in less than a day, and will surely read it again sometime - but for now, I'm going to keep my eye out for any other novels she may have written.
Rating: 5/5

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