It’s not a bad read, but not a stunning one either.
It does reveal many of the numerous faults that could be found in the mental health system at the time (60’s) and many of the faults that still have yet to be corrected now. It’s a first person look into the experience of being labeled, “crazy” and thrown aside by society. Also, Kaysen describes some of her illness symptoms in detail.
“This person is […] a victim of society’s low tolerance for deviant behavior[.]” (pg. 15)
“But I wasn’t simply going nuts, tumbling down a shaft into Wonderland. It was my misfortune – or salvation – to be at all times perfectly conscious of my misperceptions of reality. […] The clarity made me able to behave normally, which posed some interesting questions. Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren’t? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act? ” (pg. 41)
“The only power they had was the power to dope us up. Thorazine, Stelazine, Mellaril, Librium, Valium: the therapists’ friend. […] Once we were on it, it was hard to get off. A bit like heroin, except it was the staff who got addicted to our taking it.” (pg. 87)