3.27.2011

book of the month

This month's Book Club Bloggers Book of the Month was Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. I was rather proud of myself because I finished the book and wrote the review in early March only to find that I accidentally deleted the post! Argh! So here goes, as much as I can remember:

I have seen the movie countless times and have always loved it, so I was very excited to finally get a chance to read the book! Like most adaptations, the movie doesn't even compare to the book. Somehow it doesn't capture the same insight, wit and wry humor. At least, not in the same way. (Honestly, I could quote this entire book...)

Stories told by the troubled or depressed have always greatly interested me. Books like The Bell Jar, Prozac Nation, and now Girl, Interrupted. I love delving into psyches and learning what it is that makes someone feel a certain way. Why are they so depressed? What triggers it? How did it happen? Is there really anything "wrong" with them, after all?

I have to admit, the reason that I love these books is that, in a way, I can so easily relate to the dark, unhappy side of these girls (honestly, can't we all?). I've found that my own thoughts aren't that different. I tend to be rather introverted, shy and observant of all that surrounds me. I used to feel that I was always on the outside looking in, on the peripheral, where everything is blurry. I've had really low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts in the past (don't worry, that was long ago!). Though, like Susanna, it was half-hearted:

"And I could have done what I did do, which was go onto the street and faint. Fifty aspirin is a lot of aspirin, but going onto the street and fainting is like putting the gun back in the drawer."

All in all, the book is a memoir told from the point of view of a girl who has been committed to a mental hospital. A girl who was put there after only a twenty-minute observation. A girl who has a sobering view of everyone in the place, yet she can still understand and almost relate. A girl who clearly doesn't belong there. Or does she?

The book begs the questions: Where is the line? How close am I to slipping into that parallel universe? Who has the right to decide what it is that makes a person crazy?

Was Susanna ill? Or was she just a girl, interrupted?

It's such a fine line.

5 comments:

Charlotte said...

Our reviews mirror each other. The book opened so many questions for me, but especially in how we view those who are mentally ill. Like I said, how many of us judge those kinds of people, after meeting them briefly? How much can we really understand about them? How much can they understand themselves? How much of Susanna's life was interrupted? Such a good book, so many questions. Thanks for your review and faithful participation!

katie said...

great review! love all the talk on seeing ourselves in these characters, about how we define where that fine line is and who gets to be on which side of it. =)

Molly said...

Ummmm, perhaps we've been in the BCB too long together because it's like we wrote the same review! :) Great minds? Or perhaps, wacky minds?

I completely agree with you that the movie doesn't hold a candle to the brilliant book. Yay for literary escapes!!

(BTW, Prozac Nation and The Bell Jar are two of my favorites too.)

KatySue Pillsbury said...

An eerily fine line it is! You just begin to think she doesn't belong there, then she does something or the medical charts give us a glimpse into what put her there in the first place!

Rachael said...

What an excellent review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree... I think a lot of us can relate to those darker, unhappy sides. More than we'd like to admit. Thanks for being so honest.