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Girl, Interrupted

Author: Susanna Kaysen
Reviewer's Age: Grade 9

In this non-fiction autobiographical memoir, Susanna Kaysen signs herself into McLean, the Belmont mental hospital. She describes the very odd, but insatiably interesting women residing in the institution, the feelings of insanity, and the freedom and confinement one receives from it. Her chapters are short and usually describe one memory, person, place, or thought that she remembered during her stay at McLean. Sometimes, she even recalls what her life was once like, and she remembers the suicide attempts. This book is not a light, summer read, rather, it is a memoir for those interested in reading about the feelings and occurrences in a women’s ward at a mental hospital. I think that the writing is excellent, and the book made me want to keep reading, I was hooked until the end. I also found interesting her observations on the town of Belmont, where I live. The book is set in the sixties, and it is fascinating to see her perspective of that world. It also gives an interesting reflection on the treatment of women, and insane women in that day and age. Sometimes the thoughts and memories get a little depressing, which is why I recommend this book only to certain types of readers. Overall, however I think that it is a terrific novel.