Customer Reviews


99 Reviews
5 star:
 (61)
4 star:
 (27)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding - a modern day Plath
Of all the books I've ever read, this is the best. Kaysen's punctuation may not always be perfect and there may be a few idiosyncrasies or colloquialisms slipped in there but the book simple amazes me. It is like a drug which has a profound affect on your mind, you simply become addicted to the story and to the characters. Never before have I ended a book feeling so...
Published on 25 Jun 2004 by martin1925

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...
I read this book before I saw the film, and now view each as seperate and different entities. Whereas the film uses a lot of artistic license to create a picture of hospitalisation in 1960's America, that is palatable for the cinema-goer, the original book is more a case history of Susanna Kayson's life.
It is an intregueing look into the mental health system at...
Published on 2 May 2004 by llia1981


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding - a modern day Plath, 25 Jun 2004
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
Of all the books I've ever read, this is the best. Kaysen's punctuation may not always be perfect and there may be a few idiosyncrasies or colloquialisms slipped in there but the book simple amazes me. It is like a drug which has a profound affect on your mind, you simply become addicted to the story and to the characters. Never before have I ended a book feeling so privileged to have read it and feeling so close to the author.
It was reading this book which got me wholly interested on its theme of mental illness and caused me to look the work of Sylvia Plath. Plath is one of the most renound authors of our time yet her autobiographical novel 'The Bell Jar' simply could not compare with Kaysen's (controversial, I know).
What I loved most about the book was the way it jumped about with time, each chapter was short and was only focusing on one aspect of the asylum or insanity, it really is not your average beginning, middle and end.
The film is also very compelling and Ryder and Jolie's performances as Susanna and Lisa are simply outstanding. They portrayed the characters exactly how I imagined them, yet the book is still so wonderful the film simply cannot capture the same raw honesty and emotion.
I only wish the book had been longer, I would much rather read Kaysen's blunt honesty and humor than a Dickens or Austen epic any day of the week
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ..., 2 May 2004
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
I read this book before I saw the film, and now view each as seperate and different entities. Whereas the film uses a lot of artistic license to create a picture of hospitalisation in 1960's America, that is palatable for the cinema-goer, the original book is more a case history of Susanna Kayson's life.
It is an intregueing look into the mental health system at that time, but the parts that most touched me and affected me in the film, were absent from the original book.
I do however, find the book immensely interesting for it's 'original' material, in that Susanna's case notes are reproduced, apparantly word-for-word....and anyone who has had experience of the questioning undertaken by mental health staff, will find it an interesting read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A girl, please don't interrupt, 28 May 2007
By 
Jade Scott-Jones "me_and_jd" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
If you watched the film and loved it then reading this book will make you love Susanna even more. The characters are captivating and so real on the pages that they leap out at you. You instantly want to learn more about them all and meet them. You find out more of what it was like and read about characters that were missed out of the film like Lisa Cody and Alice Calais.

A frank depiction of the worryingly bad mental health operations. The book is not in a linear order but goes through remembering times while she was in McLean Hospital and her reflections on why she ended up in there. As her love grows for her fellow patients you also feel it as you read.

A book that you just want to keep reading, until you fall in. You will defiantly realise your worth more when finished with this book that you think you are before you start. A mind is a great thing, or so they say.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Account of Triumph Over Mental Illness, 7 Jan 2007
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
Girl, Interrupted is, in my opinion a memorable read. Told with honesty, humour and an eye for detail, Susanna Kaysen writes with a profound talent that allows her characters to leap from each page, as if given life before your very eyes. Unlike Carthage John Duffy's The Bronze Moon, and The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut, Susanna's account of her admission to McLean's Psychiatric Hospital takes place mainly in the ward itself with only brief references to her life before her admission.

The inner workings of the ward are written of through the eyes of the author as an intelligent and observant young woman. Girl, Interrupted is an excellent read, and is brilliantly written by a clearly gifted writer, and I consider the memoir to be one of the few, truly inspiring books that I have had the good fortune to come across.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and honest, 26 Feb 2006
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
It's difficult to describe this book without putting people off. It's weird, disjointed, offbeat, non-linear, and there's no straightforward plot. But it's a fantastic book. Kaysen describes the harshness and realities of her stay in a mental institution, with an attitude that ranges from matter-of-fact to shocked and horrified. She raises uncomfortable questions about the way society views mental illness, and the ways she's treated. She has the insight to question a screwed up system, and the honesty to admit that she still benefited from it. And although it's her own story she's telling, it never once seems self-centred or arrogant.
If you've seen the film of 'Girl, Interrupted', then do read the book as well. With such different styles, they have the huge advantage that watching or seeing one won't ruin the other. You can love them both.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, sad, insightful..., 30 Mar 2009
By 
Miss K (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
I read this in one sitting which is rare for me whatever the length of the book! This is not a long book though and it's written in a breezy casual style that's quick and easy to read. Susanna Kaysen provides us here with a memoir of her stay in a mental hospital in the 1960's. I was really engrossed. There are some very funny moments and some sad ones. It does get you thinking about the nature of mental illness and how perception of the world can be so varied. I'm sure we've all met people who seem a little odd in the way they seem to process things but we don't necessarily think they are 'crazy' - it seems there is a line somewhere, one the author admits she crossed. The book is very interesting and provides all kinds of insights!

I watched the film many years ago and I've only just read the book now - the book and film are equally as good in my opinion but if possible, do try to read the book first!

If you are interested in memoirs of mental illness, I also highly recommend 'An Unquiet Mind' by Kay Redfield Jamison and 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath both of which I read alongside Girl, Interrupted.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but feels incomplete, 13 Oct 2011
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
Girl, Interrupted is a well-written, informed and realistic memoir of Kaysen's eighteen-month stay at McLean - a mental hospital known for its famous clientele, including Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, James Taylor and Ray Charles - during the late sixties. It's a less melodramatic and more serious work than its Hollywood adaptation, which won Angelina Jolie an Oscar, but in a way you can't blame the filmmakers for sensationalising. Though they took outrageous liberties with the story, such as having Kaysen (played by Winona Ryder) and fellow patient Lisa (Jolie) run away and discover a recently released patient's suicide, this original memoir isn't really a story.
It's rather a series of vignettes, not always in chronological order, which deal with specific episodes during Kaysen's treatment. For instance, one chapter focuses on nurses who'd spend two weeks at the hospital as part of their training, and how the patients treated them, while another is about a patient who stayed briefly before being transferred to maximum security. As the memoir nears its close action takes a backseat to analysis. Kaysen discusses her diagnosis (borderline personality disorder) and thoughts on madness, all of which is fascinating. Her theories about thoughts and how we interpret them are beautifully expressed.
I only have one problem with the book, but it's quite a big one. I felt as though Kaysen was skimming over many important events in her life and those of the people around her. This isn't a problem when it comes to other patients - what can she know about a disturbed personality which their analyst doesn't? - but her own back story is barely explored. She fitfully mentions a relationship she had with her English teacher, which resulted in her running away with him to New York, where she visited the Frick Collection and discovered Vermeer painting Girl Interrupted at her Music, which inspired her memoir's title, but never really goes into all this. The painting is afforded some discussion in the final chapter, but her teacher remains elusive. Seeing as she would have been seventeen or eighteen at this time, shortly before she attempted suicide and was sectioned, it must be deserving of some analysis. What happened to the teacher? How did the relationship begin? Her parents and other relatives are also markedly absent. What did they think about her sectioning (their feelings are alluded to, but never expanded upon)? Did they visit her? And a thousand other questions about boyfriends, classmates and so forth. Near the end Kaysen describes her life as having been "interrupted in the music of being seventeen," but as we only see her through her stay at McLean we never really get that impression.
Still, I'd recommend this to anyone interested in mental illness and how it's treated. The prose is at times gorgeously lyrical, peppered with enriching quotes, my favourite being: "Every window in Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco", which refers to what it's like looking at the ordinary world from the world of madness.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compellingly honest account of insanity, 30 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
a perceptive and utterly compelling account of a struggle with depression, border-line personality disorder and the complete horror that growing up usually entails. As the author, Kaysen gives an honest account of life in an institution. There is no pop-psychology, no suggesting of a desire to be the next Plath, just her own feelings.
This book brings about the thought 'honesty is the best policy' and indeed, from cover to cover, by the last page one can trully feel that there is something more in life that the nothing that all of us feel from time to time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So near yet so far, 12 Mar 2010
By 
Ms. A. Waistnage (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
Now I'm not sure if I spoilt this book by seeing the film first, I strongly suspect I did. Whilst I fully understand the films need to dramatise events to be commercially viable, this did however lead me to feeling distinctly disappointed with the book. I was expectant of an engrossing read, something more reflextive of the true nature of spending time in a mental hospital in the late 60's, however I felt this fell short.

The book was light and airy and as such easy to read, so easy it took me no longer than 4 hrs. The gritty nature of the film was absent and the empathy I felt with Suzanna was not quite as palable. The flow of the book left me feeling frustrated, the jump from one period in the future to one in the past and back again made it hard to establish any strong connection with the people discussed. Whilst am sure this flow was intentional, in a bid to reflect the nature of suzannas state of mind, as a reader I found the death of a patient in the early beginnings of the book only for the patient to be in scenerios discussed later took away from the poignant nature of the pains which lead to suicide.

However, the book held me (if only for 4 hours!)to it. It is an easy read for anyone wishing to get a better understanding of how it truely feels to suffer a mental illness, and Suzanna's humour through out the book is endearing. I recently read Prozac nation and found the book difficult to read and at times deeply depressing but also profound and honest, and refreshing for making little apologies for the self absorbing nature of mental illnes. Girl interrupted was the flip side of this, easy to read, often humourous in nature, but underwhelming, failing to convey how truely destroying mental illness can be.

I would still recommend a look at this if you've got a free afternoon, but if like me you saw the movie first dont expect to much.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One great read!, 18 April 2003
By 
Holly Vipond (Swansea, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Girl, Interrupted (Paperback)
I watched the film entitled Girl,Interrupted and was intrigued.The story was such an unnusual yet mystical one. The acting in it was absolutely superb, especially Anjelina Jolie's who, i must say, fully deserved her oscar for best supporting actress. Winona Ryder,also, did a delightful job at playing Susannah Kaysen herself.I went straight out and bought the film, and i watch it atleast once every three days, i find its a film you can watch over and over and still never get bored. I was surfing amazon one day and saw the book for sale, i was really exited as i love good books and knew straight away that this would be a good read. i couldnt have been more right. From the minute i picked it up my eyes were glued to the pages. The writer connects with the reader in a way which is so surreal, i felt as if i was being let in on a dark secret, a journey into the unknown took place before my very eyes. I was on that journey with her, Susannah, holding her hand along the way. Her eyes were my eyes, her thoughts and feelings she told me as i read. I was living her experiance ,meeting the people (charators) ,not only observing the situation but being involved in it.
Its not hard to read as its alll written in sections, like a diary which makes the reading even more ecxiting as you feel you shouldnt be reading it, but just cant stop yourself. The film gives a great portrayal of the book. I found the book to be deeper, more intense.How interesting it was to find out what really went on behind closed doors and peoples brains.Miss Kaysen gives an honest, truthful yet blunt review of what it was like living in a mental assylem in the 1960's.it was a pleasure to read and for a 15 yr old, was gripping reading! i was extremely upset when i finished the book. But as a said previously this book, and film is no one hit wonder.I can assure you, it will last forever. As all the great things do.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Girl, Interrupted
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (Paperback - 17 Feb 2000)
£6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews