BOOKS: The Unconfessional Confessionalist

Susanna Kaysen keeps her privacy after writing a memoir of mental illness

People ask, How did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can't answer the real question. All I can tell them is, It's easy.

-- Girl, Interrupted

Not since Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar has a personal account of life in a mental hospital achieved as much popularity and acclaim as Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted. Published in hard cover a year ago, it immediately became a surprise best seller. The paperback edition (Vintage; $10) is now firmly entrenched on the best-seller list. Kaysen has received...

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