Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

I've never seen Girl, Interrupted but it's one of those movies you hear about from time to time. I do enjoy reading the book before I see the movie if I can help it.
Girl, Interrupted is the memoir of Kaysen's time in McLean Hospital, a famous psychiatric hospital. Kaysen's story is interesting. Spoiler alert: I spent a lot of time trying to understand why Kaysen was in the hospital only to figure out at the end that Kaysen herself was never really sure. But Kaysen's writing wasn't as fascinating as her characters. The stories aren't linear and sometimes I had trouble figuring out when something happened as she talks about the time in the hospital, before she was in the hospital and after she was released.
The overall story made me sad. Rather than trying to trying to help these young women, it was acceptable to lock them away. I don't believe anyone was cured according to Kaysen's account, but either learned to suppress those feelings or outgrew them.
Interesting memoir. Despite being a short book (168 pages), it took some time to read and process.