I haven’t really gotten to sit down with a cup of tea (I have not abandoned my beloved coffee I swear)and dig deep into a book in a long time. I haven’t gotten to finish a book in a single sitting in even a longer period of time, but I got to do just that after the mail carrier delivered to my door a second Christmas in the form of a package with a bunch of books!
I had shared a few of them I had gotten on my Instagram, but one among them was Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen was not shown. I had seen the movie like just about everyone I know, a massive hit with Winona Ryder
as Susanna Kaysen and Angelina Jolie as Lisa Rowe. I knew eventually I would want to read the book.
The book was fantastic. It included her real medical records with her borderline personality diagnoses and other paperwork from her two year stay at McLean Hospital. Kaysen mentions other notable former residence that include, but not limited to: Sylvia Plath and Ray Charles. I enjoyed the point-of-view of the book, directly from her unlike in the movie. You get to read more about what she went through not depicted in the film as well.
Lisa Rowe, in the book, was more devious to me. I suppose that was because the movie, though done well, gave more examples of her coldness and mischievousness. She lit a cigarette in a max security section of the hospital because the staff wasn’t letting them out quick enough. It sure worked! She also claimed to have made a person named Lisa Cody a ‘real addict’.
So much heartbreak throughout as you got to know about more of their lives, but what really struck me was the tales of Kaysen’s own descriptions and situations. She felt there were no bones in her hand, biting it to try and feel them. Even describing it as ‘ape-like’ while going through a dis-associative episode. This isn’t the case in the movie she merely mentioned in the beginning she didn’t have any in her hand.
Georgina was far more forward than I expected, but I loved it. I loved that Kaysen and Georgina remained friends after their stays at the hospital. I did want to know more about what happened to the other girls, but it’s understandable that wasn’t mentioned as this is a memoir and if the author didn’t know we wouldn’t either.
I plan on doing a full film and book comparison at another time.
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