I recently rewatched the movie “Girl Interrupted” on Netfix and noticed that it was based on a book so I decided to read it and I am very glad that I did. The movie is pretty good but personally I found the book by Susanna Kaysen to be superior. Her memoir reads a bit like a diary, and the story is told partly in a non linear fashion with vignettes telling of different people that she met in hospital and experiences that she had there.
For anyone who is not aware, “Girl Interrupted” is about a young woman who enters a mental hospital in the late 1960’s after a suicide attempt. Susanna was 18 at the time of her admission and spent almost two years at McLean hospital. One of the more interesting aspects of the book was the aspect of seixsm that was involved with certain diagnoses at that time, promiscuity for example was one of the symptoms of Susanna’s condition of borderline personality disorder. A lot of the reasons that women were considered to be abnormal were realting to a lack of desire to get married and have babies like they were supposed to at the time.
As I was reading the book, as often is the case when comparing a film version to a book version, little changes that were made really irked me. For example, the character of Lisa as played by Angelina Jolie with that awful fake blonde hair, was a brunette in real life. And the nurse played by Whoopi Goldberg was a white woman with a long blonde braid that she wore in a braid and the patients would beg her to take the braid out and let her hair loose, although she never would. Also I loved the ending of the book so much more, it was more defined and more realistic. And there was a bit of a surprise ending for Lisa as well that I hope worked out for the best for all concerned.
It was a nice fast paced read, and I recommend reading it.