Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Girl, Interrupted- Susanna Kaysen

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1993
Length:  168 pages
ISBN:  0679423664
Genre:  Memoir

Start Date:  Sometime in 2009
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2009

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  Loved the movie and wanted to compare.

Summary:  A retrospective memoir on Kaysen’s stay in a mental hospital during the 1960s after a suicide attempt leads her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.


By its synopsis, the book comes across like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets The Bell Jar, but to me, it doesn't hold a candle to either.

The main problem I had with the book was its scattered format.  It seemed to have little or no structure, which made it hard to follow.  The most interesting parts were rather limited character profiles of patients & staff she interacts with:  Lisa, a diagnosed sociopathic & frequent escapee of the institution; Polly, diagnosed schizophrenic, depressive who is badly scarred from setting herself on fire; Georgina, diagnosed schizophrenic, compulsive liar & Suzanna’s roommate; Daisy, a hostile, recovering anorexic, diagnosed OCD, who suggests she is a victim of incest; Valerie, the head day nurse, down-to-earth & non-judgmental as opposed to the night nurse; Melvin, Suzanna’s therapist/analyst who seems to need treatment himself; and Dr. Wick, a sharp psychiatrist who later treats Suzanna.

The 1999 movie starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie was much more accessible, fleshing out character details that appear as mere footnotes in the book, and structuring Suzanna's experiences into a plot, rather than in nonsensical spurts that stilt the progression of the story.  I would highly recommend you skip the book & just see the movie to get the big picture.

Rank:  (D)- Finished but did not like


  1. Have you seen the movie? I thought it was so much better. The book was alright, but given that it is a memoir, I didn't really mind so much.

  2. It's so rare that a film is better than the book. I enjoyed the film of this but after reading your review, I think I'll give the book a miss.