I have seen the movie Girl, Interrupted once or twice, although it’s been a while. From my vague memories, however, it seems like they adapted the book pretty closely — with maybe some fleshing out/embellishments. The characters I remember, and even some of the lines, exist fully in this short book. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, I definitely recommend reading this one.
“Actually, it was only part of myself I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made every window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy.”
In 1967, after a session with a new psychologist, Susanna Kaysen finds herself admitted to a mental hospital for “a break”. Although she’s eventually diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, it’s pretty obvious that she and many of the other girls in the ward were simply in someone’s way, or making someone’s life difficult, so they were sent off to be medicated and shocked. Then there are other, truly dangerous women on the ward — sociopaths like Lisa, or truly suicidal patients like Daisy.
Kaysen’s memoirs moves back and forth in time, telling stories about herself and other patients. It’s very disjointed and fractured, much like Susanna’s own mind. But it’s well-written and fascinating — I finished the whole thing in just a couple sittings. Definitely a gripping read.