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Girl Interrupted

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GIRL, INTERRUPTED by Susanna Kaysen (New York: Turtle Bay Books, 1993)

1. Author:

Susanna Kayson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1948 where she still lives.

She is the author of books which are in some parts related to her personal experiences.

She worked as a free-lance editor and proof reader until an introduction to an agent set her career in motion.

Her novels:

The novel that caught the agent's attention, Asa, As I Knew Him, was published in 1987 and people were very interested in it. Kaysen followed up the success of her first book three years later with her second novel, Far Afield. Kaysen's third and as far as I know last book, Girl, Interrupted has been hugely acclaimed in America and Britain.

2. Subject of the book:

The book is an autobiography . ItÒ's about her memories of her two-year stay at McLeanÒ's psychiatric hospital, where she was treated for depression and Borderline Personality. With the help of a lawyer she obtained her 350 page file from the hospital.

3. Setting...:

The story is set in the years 1967 to 1969.

Mostly it takes place on the ward for teenage girls in the McLean psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, which is known for its famous clients - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, Anne Sexton and Ray Charles.

4. Characters:

Susanna Kaysen(main character):

She is an 18-year-old girl, and the story is, since it is an autobiography told from her point of view.

What was going wrong with her life? She tells us she decided she did not want to go onto college, and she slept with her high school English teacher. A couple of years earlier, she took an overdose of aspirin and had to have her stomache pumped. She was sent to McLean because of that where she was, as mentioned before, treated for depression and Borderline Personality. But apart from that, we learn almost nothing about her family, friends, or her past. She mentions that one boy liked her so much that he remained in contact with her even while she was in hospital; on one of her visits to him - she had to leave the hospital- he asked her to marry him and she accepted it. This comes as a total surprise to the reader. She mentions that the marriage did not last, and that she has had a number of lovers. Susanna decided to have no children. She wanted to be a writer, and she succeeded.

As it is an autobiography it is very hard to find some other important characters.

But there are the several doctors, nurses and other clients. There is Lisa Rowe who thinks she is hot shit, and if she could have any job in the world,she would be a professional Cinderella. She is wildest and most hardened of the bunch. She always runs off. "SheÒ'd had beautiful nails, which she worked on, polishing, shaping, buffing. They said her nails were sharps."

"She rarely ate and she never slept, so she was thin and yellow, the way people get when they donÒ't eat, and she had huge bags under her eyes."

Georgina Tuskin, SusannaÒ's roommate, who comes in swiftly and totally, during her junior year at Vassar. She was in the theatre when a wave of blackness broke over her.

Daisy Randone ..." was a seasonal event. She came before Thenksgiving and stayed trough Christmas every year. Some years she came for her birthday in May as well."

She has two passions, laxatives and chicken, and twice a week her father brings her a roasted one. Her father is in love with her and "wants to f*** her to make sure sheÒ's real."

She smells, gloweres hisses and pokes, but she is sexy.

One time she committed



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