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 and Ray Charles.
A clear-sighted, unflinching work that provokes questions about our definitions of sane and insane, Kaysen's extraordinary memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages, facsimiles
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 17/02/2000
- Category: Autobiography: general
- ISBN: 9781860497926
Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.
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Review by TPauSilver
Quick and easy read, I finished it in a few hours without meaning to. Could have stood to be a longer book. The most interesting parts are those where Kaysen talks about her thoughts, her inner world, and particularly the part where she disects her diagnosis. The books feels like a criticism of the system that locked her away for two years, but it's hard to see it as a strong criticism when she doesn't seem to express any anger at anyone, either the system or herself, nor talk about her perceptions of her time there and how it changed her, other then eluding to it in one anecdote near the end. While the introcpective parts were good, and a lot of the description was nice, I felt the characters of the other 'inmates' lacked depth, presumably because of the short format of the book. It could have used more descrption and more personal reflection on Kaysen's part as to her feelings and thoughs, as opposed to just the outlines of the anecdotes.
Review by Koroviev
It was quite boring.
Review by nicola26
I really enjoyed the first half of this one. It was interesting and captivating and very well written. I like that Kaysen tells the story in a matter of fact way instead of rambling or whining. It was interesting reading about the lives of all the different people there and how they interacted with each other. I didn't enjoy the second half as much, though. It didn't really seem to tell us much; it was an awful lot of detail of mundane things. However, overall it was a good quick read, very intriguing and the writing is very good.
Review by janeyhoho
Not SUCH a great book.found it a bit sketchy.
Review by sarafwilliams
Did I love this book because I was in a particular bad mood that day or because it is indeed good? I guess I'll never know, but this book most definitely gives you something to think about. Don't you just love when something makes you think? At times I finished paragraphs and had to stop to try and understand. And then I'd keep on reading and stop to try to understand it better. This hit close to home.
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