Girl, Interrupted


It is not uncommon to claim that a story’s original written publication is better than the film that succeeds it. This stems from the process that fails to satisfy the imagination of readers, who never find their individual interpretation of the characters on the screen. Girl, Interrupted, memoir by Susanna Kaysen, is here to challenge the theory that books outshine their movies.

Kaysen’s writing is informative about the conditions of psychologically disturbed patients in the 60s and never fails to lure sympathy out of the reader. The development of her characters is intentional and each memory she reminisces contributes to the lighthearted take on her traumatic circumstances. I found it unsettling how the eerie nature of the Psych Ward felt more familiar as each page turned, mirroring Susanna’s acceptance to her new lifestyle.

However, because I went against the conventional protocol and watched the movie first, I found that aspects of characters that I connected to during the movie, particularly the dramatization of Lisa’s sociopathic tendencies, were ignored. This also allowed the familiar faces of Winona Rider, Angelina Jolie, and Whoopi Goldberg to follow me throughout my reading, despite the descriptions of the characters appearance, as described by Susanna Kaysen, being contradictive.

Upon reflection, I might consider that by watching the movie too early I repressed aspects of my reading that allowed for imagination; perhaps, this is what led to my disapproval of the memoir.