In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital to be treated for depression. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor and Ray Charles. - source
This book is based on true events which happened in the author’s life. Originally I had seen the film of the book before I even got my hands on the book and it just blew my mind. At first with the film I thought it was rather interesting and very organised. With the book it was much different, it was slightly broken and unorganised, and it would jump between the story. The book and film are the same story but are told in different ways because the books is the authors true life experiences, almost like an autobiography which makes everything much personal.
With this book we get an insight to the mental hospitals in the 1960's and some of the horrors they contained. One of my favourite characters, the most well known apart from Susanna herself would have to be Lisa, her wicked nature and her love of her condition really did interest me. Overall I feel as if the book is more than just fiction, it gives us insight and information to true life experiences that would never have been seen before. I really enjoyed this book as it was detailed with what happened and everything was clear and easy to understand. Obviously the author had done her homework. We meet the main character; Susanna herself after she has tried to kill herself and we witness her life within the asylum from here onwards. We meet friends she made inside and also her daily routine and the rules of the hospital.
The book gripped me, once I started reading I couldn't stop as I was that interested. For anyone wanting an odd but really interesting read I would fully recommend this book as it is emotional and loving as well as odd and full of life. You feel connected to the characters as you listen to their stories and towards the end you feel sad to let them go as Susanna did. I would give it a full rating for both the film and book due to the quality of the writing but also the courage of the author for publishing her life while 'imprisoned'.
This review was written by regular reviwer Elle, learn more about her here.
Photo credit to Elle.