by Susanna Kaysen
I grew up with Winona Ryder. "Lucas", "Heathers", "Mermaids", "How to Make an American Quilt", etc. She's good at angst/under confident. Whenever she is taken out of that role, as in "Edward Scissorhands" or "Autumn in New York", she is not convincing. I have always felt that "Girl, Interrupted" was a movie hand picked just for her. It was her last, great movie. (Too bad. I'd love to see her shine again.)
I didn't know it was a book. Did you know it was a book? I mean, it makes sense but it never occurred to me. So I swooped it up when I saw it at the local Friends of the Library Book Store. It was not what I was expecting.
If you've seen the movie, and I'm venturing to guess that most of you have, it is the chronicle of the 2 years that Susanna Kaysen spent in a medium security mental facility. We meet the other "crazies" on her ward while she tries to figure out why she is there and what to do with her life. Angelina Jolie plays the sociopath Lisa convincingly. Whoopi Goldberg is the compassionate and fearless Nurse Valerie. The late Brittany Murphy makes an appearance as the disturbed Daisy.
But the book is totally different. I don't mean that it's essence was changed. I mean the book is not written as a story of two years in chronological order. It is chunks of episodes, some out of order, told as the author feels the need to share them. Daisy's story, or what little is known of it, is told in a 3 page chapter. It's not a catalytic moment for the author as it is in the movie.
The differences remind me heavily of the differences in the book and movie versions of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The books share glimpses of life at it's most interesting; the movie weaves an elaborate story with the bare facts.
I enjoyed both the movie and the book. Occasionally the book gets hard to decipher but that is something one should expect when it is written by someone with a personality disorder. Most of it is easy and interesting reading.
Another tally mark for the 2010 Challenge Charity book as well as for the Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge.