While interesting and reasonably well written, I found the book became difficult at times, not because it was too dark or hard to understand, but rather because the author seems so incredibly self-absorbed as to become uninteresting. Harsh, and perhaps merely indicative of my ignorance of mental illness, but there it is. I think she would have made her case better if her editor had gotten her to put in the perspectives of some of her loved ones.
Okay, but a slow read. The stories about the pain and agony get repetitive after awhile, and the author just finds new ways to repeat the same revelations in different words. I couldn't read more than ten pages each night before falling asleep... Worth it to understand depression, but prepare yourself for a not-so-easy read.
An interesting read. Certainly not the typical depression story, though it's an apt anthem for the mid-1990's and an interesting indictment (toward the end) of possible overprescribing in the SSRI boom. Her style is amusing, though maybe 300 pages would have been enough. That just might be me, though, as I am a psychologist and listen to this stuff as my job.
Incredible book and an amazing look at what it's like to be profoundly depressed, young, and female in America. A look into what it's really like for so many young women suffering from this debilitating condition. Written wonderfully.
Elizabeth Wurtzel writes with her finger in the faint pulse of a generation whose ruling icons are Kurt Cobain, Xanax, and pierced tongues. A memoir of her bouts with depression and skirmishes with drugs, Prozac Nation still manages to be a witty and sharp account of the psychopharmacology of an era. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Twenty-six-year-old Wurtzel, a former critic of popular music for New York and the New Yorker, recounts in this luridly intimate memoir the 10 years of chronic, debilitating depression that preceded her treatment with Prozac in 1990. After her parents' acrimonious divorce, Wurtzel was raised by her mother on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The onset of puberty, she recalls, also marked the onset of recurrent bouts of acute depression, sending her spiraling into episodes of catatonic despair, masochism and hysterical crying. Here she unsparingly details her therapists, hospitalizations, binges of sex and drug use and the paralyzing spells of depression which afflicted her in high school and as a Harvard undergraduate and culminated in a suicide attempt and ultimate diagnosis of atypical depression, a severe, episodic psychological disorder. The title is misleading, for Wurtzel skimps on sociological analysis and remains too self-involved to justify her contention that depression is endemic to her generation. By turns emotionally powerful and tiresomely solipsistic, her book straddles the line between an absorbing self-portrait and a coy bid for public attention. First serial to Vogue, Esquire and Mouth2Mouth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is a book that I had been meaning to read for ages and finally finished. It is a great read, real and raw. I have several friends who suffer from depression and this book brought me a little closer to understanding what it might be like for them.
This is the most infuriating book I have ever read. Elizabeth Wurtzel is nothing more than a drama queen, attention starved cry-baby. All her "suicide attempts" are carefully calculated ploys to garner attention and sympathy when the people in her life dare to focus on something besides HER, even if only for a brief moment. She was young, thin, and pretty. Her admittedly destitute mother scrimped and saved to send her to the best private schools in New York City, and then to Harvard for college (not to mention the years of therapy), and Elizabeth repays her by cutting classes and wishing she was somewhere else... even though she kicked and screamed to gain admission to these places! She has melt downs in the middle of classes and parties so that people would look at her. Her depression is real, but it is vastly overshadowed by her self-absorption. And how is she rewarded in the end? She gets a book deal, and they eventually made it into a movie! And she still cant get over how unfair life was to her. Don't read this book unless you want to spend the whole time alternating between annoyance and boredom.
I read this book when I was in high school and it was very interesting. It is basically Elizabeth Wurtzel's account of her childhood-adulthood and dealing with depression. You feel bad for her throughout the book because nothing seems to get better for her. At points the book was difficult to get through because it brings you down but overall I thought it was a very good book.
I loved this book. I read it in highschool a couple of times. A year or so ago I read it again after not having read it for years, but it was still amazing as a college student. It's very well written and a very real story.
Prozac Nation is the story of Elizabeth Wurtzel's life, and how she dealt with her atypical depression in the days before Prozac-and how the drug, once on the market, was able to help her live a somewhat normal life. The book covers her life from her early childhood with divorced parents, religious schooling and her life at Harvard, including studies, relationships and her partying.
While I understand that the author's struggle with depression was not due to her life circumstances (really, I only truly understood this in the last chapter, when both we and the author learn she has atypical depression, and not depression simply because her parents divorced etc), I sometimes felt the book was a little too verbose and could have been condensed. I struggled to make it through the epilogue, which in some ways was interesting (very dated, it sums up the grunge culture of the mid 90s). A good book for anyone who has ever been depressed or known someone with depression, but somewhat of a struggle to get through at times.
This is one woman's memoir of severe depression, dating from her teenage years though young adulthood in the days before prozac. Elizabeth Wurtzel was a young, talented, and deeply depressed student and writer in the 1980s. This is a memoir with little happiness and hope, much like depression itself. In order to cope with the pain Wurtzel drowns her sorrow in drugs, alcohol, and sex. She acts out in inappropriate ways. There's no nice ending, at least until the epilogue. Wurtzel's memoir shows how hard and despeate depression can be.
Elizabeth Wurtzel is clearly a very smart woman and a talented writer. That said, the most difficult part of this book to stomach is not the gut-wrenching descriptions of major depression, but rather, Wurtzel's refusal to recognize the significant socio-economic advantages she has had. Most significant of these are her Harvard education and her plum writing internships. The issue is not that she "should have been happy because she had so much," rather, its the fact that Wurtzel paints herself as a disadvantaged young woman, which she simply does not appear to be. Presenting herself as something of a child of deprivation simply doesn't work, and the book would have been stronger had it not made such suggestions. Much more interesting is how the culture of high expectations shaped her depression.
As at least one review stated, the title is misleading. It's all about the author, doesn't give much of a larger insight. I think basically, she enjoys being depressed, that's why she went on to law school (graduated this year, 2008).