you have seen the movie Girl Interrupted, I strongly suggest that you
read the book. In spite of being caught up in the charm of Winona Ryder
and the feistiness of Angelina Jolie I believe if the movie is so good
then it's no wonder that the book from which it is adapted will be better.
And that is exactly the case with the novel Girl, Interrupted.
A memoir which Newsweek describes as 'tough-minded...darkly comic...written
with inedible clarity' this book is a memoir of Susanna Kaysen. In 1967,
18-year-old Sussana Kaysen was put in a taxi and packed off to Mclean
Hospital after sitting with a shrink she had never laid eyes on before.
Mclean Hospital was renowned for its celebrity "inmates"-
Robert Lowell, James Taylor, Ray Charles and who could forget the very
famous but very morbid poetess Slvia Plath. Well after that fateful
taxi ride Susanna Kaysen most of the following two years the pychiatric
hospital's teenage girls' ward.
In the memoir, Kaysen draws remarkable yet clear portraits of her patient
buddies and of the staff that stands as their sentry. Set in the raving
and multitude era of the sixties the memoir makes a suggestion of a
"parallel universe". Consequently it provides a crystal clear
and unflinching insight that leaves an everlasting imprint and gives
explicit facets to our definitions of sanity, insanity, mental disorders
and recovery from them.
is one book which often gives readers more food for thought than they
can chew. Nevertheless it is a brilliantly written piece by Susanna
Kaysen (Duh! No wonder they made it into a very famous movie!) and everyone
should read it- not just to grasp ideas on mental illness but also on
human emotions and the test they are put to when combating such an illness.
Sadly the book is not available here but I'm sure that if you contact
Omni Books they can get a copy for you. Till next week just hold your
horses cos' there's going to be magic in the air!
Syed Sadaf Sultan
the day humans have lived on this earth, they have known fear. And they
had to fight this fear in order to survive. In the Stone Ages, the fear
came from nature and its many threats. The storm, lightning, comets
and the sun were not only the center of human wonder but also the center
of their fears. But were these fears really justified? The humans began
to question. At the end they unanimously accepted one answer. Their
fears were groundless. This small but important realization helped us
to overthrow our weaknesses and paved the path to our greatness and
It's not easy for a human to move through the world with fear. Neither
was it in the prehistoric period, nor is it now. The old days are gone,
and standing in the middle of a sophisticated and highly mechanized
modern world the human race can proudly proclaim:- "What is fear?
We don't know it. We are the rulers of this planet, superior than any
other earthly creature. We form the most advanced, complicated and intelligent
race on earth. Who would dare to threat us? How can we face a challenge?"
However, as every other humane emotion, fear has also existed amongst
us. And in the minds of a few, it lingers to such an extent that we
often mistake it for a mental disorder. That fear is intense and unexplainable,
and one who has only experienced it knows how horrid the feeling is.
Phobia, as the malady is called, is indeed a mental illness but of a
rather special kind. The list of phobias is a long one and increasing
every day. Up to the present date more than five hundred human fears
have been recorded and there are still a lot more to discover. Some
of the phobias are very peculiar in nature but others such as claustrophobia
(fear of enclosed spaces), acrophobia (fear of heights) and agoraphobia
( a paralysing terror of anything outside the safety of the home) can
be very serious. On the other hand the most common phobias are often
from the things around us. For example, electrophobia is a morbid fear
of electricity, eisoptrophobia is the fear of mirrors and enetophobia,
eosophobia and erythophobia is the fear of pins, dawn and daylight,
and blushing respectively.
Most phobia sufferers try to deal with their problems by coping with
them as they come by. In other words they try to avoid their fears.
An American student with a phobia for snakes stapled together the pages
of his textbook to avoid flipping to a photo of his tormentor. A similar
phobic is so scared of cats that she sends her daughter into an unfamiliar
store to give an all-clear sign before she steps in herself. However
these devices are only temporary solutions and may raise greater fears
among those phobic who are always on the watch out. They are also quite
unnecessary as this disease does have a number of remedies. The breakthroughs
of modern science have established permanent cures of phobia giving
millions of phobia sufferers around the world a hope to lead a better
Psychologists classify phobia to three broad categories:- social phobia,
in which the sufferer feels a paralysing fear of human encounters; agoraphobia
or panic disorders, in which the phobic experiences overwhelming fear
for no apparent reason; and specific phobias i.e. fear of snakes, enclosed
spaces, heights etc. On the other hand scientists define phobia as a
central nervous system wildfire which is impossible to mistake for a
normal fear. This can even result to a nervous breakdown or a fatal
brain haemorrhage whilst the distressed experiences sweating, racing
heart, difficult breathing and even the sense of imminent death.
Specific phobias are the easiest to treat as they are the easiest to
understand. However, treating social phobias can be more difficult as
many people try treating themselves by simply not going to large parties
and thus avoiding social encounter. But they totally fail to realize
that social phobias can creep into the other aspects of life. Such isolation
can lead to hopelessness and this in turn can bring about the risks
of alcoholism and depression for the sufferer. Therefore, upon the discovery
of a phobia the most sensible thing for one to do would be to visit
a psychiatrist immediately and undertake appropriate medication. It
should be understood, that a phobia can haunt for years and a self-devised
technique of approaching it can make the complications more insoluble.
The commonest way of treating phobias is to confront the sufferer to
the phobic object and thus help him to gradually override his fears.
For a phobic suffering from arachnophobia (fear of spiders) this treatment
would be slow and very systematic. The doctors would begin with photos
of the phobic object (spiders) and they would gradually take shape into
videos. The videos in turn would also be replaced, by the object itself.
The patients would initially deal with small spiders but eventually
much bigger spiders would be used as the patient grows in confidence.
This process would be repeated and the phobic will gradually become
non-responsive to the spider, just as a person slowly becomes accustomed
to traffic noise.
Phobia might seem to be an encroaching social implication but fighting
it is not increasingly difficult. One only has to have a good knowledge
about the subject and must know the right way of approaching this problem.
We must remember that phobia is a mental disease and it only tests our
mental strength. And so, we should stand up against this threat with
our courage, determination and confidence, so that we can beat our fears
easily. In other words, if our minds are strong enough than fear itself
will have no place to hide!
Springer was known to be the authorized black sheep in the family.
It became all the more obvious after the night she killed her sister,
Felicity. Well, it was actually an accident, but Clare's father and
the rest of her family blamed her, not for a week or a month but for
a year. And the guilt that built in her at that time changed her life
forever. It took her from becoming a reckless, brainless child to
a revolutionary woman who became an invaluable French activist in
the Second World War. At the age of seventeen and after her sisters
disastrous death Claire is sent away to Paris to complete her education.
The year is 1938 and Clare is in the enchanted by the city, relishes
her newfound freedom and life. Before long she falls in love with
a handsome Frenchman and as she becomes more and more wrapped up in
the world she has left behind, she fails to notice the gathering clouds
of war. One gloomy day, France is invaded, Clare is tramped and down
a path she never dreamt she would stride...and is forced to pay a
In her breathtaking book, Anita Burgh (also the writer of The Golden
Butterfly and The Cult) has drawn a vivid sketch of how the war had
wrecked lives, ruined families and altered humanity. Through Clare's
physique, who faced tragic loss of love during the war but still fought
till the end, Anita has gathered a most true fact of how life had
been for the bravest of young women at that time. At the end of the
1939-45 war, medals were awarded to the brave fighters of the French
Resistance. Of a thousand accorded, six were given to women. Anita
respectfully dedicated this book to all those women who felt they
had done little, who were awarded no metals, but without whom less
would have been achieved.This epic story of one woman's journey through
an occupied country at war with itself is not a wise thing to miss.