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Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America
     

Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America

4.6 67
by Elizabeth Wurtzel, Wurtzel
 

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"A book that became a cultural touchstone." -- The New Yorker

Elizabeth Wurtzel writes with her finger in the faint pulse of an overdiagnosed generation whose ruling icons are Kurt Cobain, Xanax, and pierced tongues. In this famous memoir of her bouts with depression and skirmishes with drugs, Prozac Nation is a witty and

Overview

"A book that became a cultural touchstone." -- The New Yorker

Elizabeth Wurtzel writes with her finger in the faint pulse of an overdiagnosed generation whose ruling icons are Kurt Cobain, Xanax, and pierced tongues. In this famous memoir of her bouts with depression and skirmishes with drugs, Prozac Nation is a witty and sharp account of the psychopharmacology of an era for readers of Girl, Interrupted and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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.
Library Journal
From her first attempted suicide as a 12 year old, Wurtzel records her life as an intellectually gifted but emotionally deprived young woman struggling with clinical depression. She describes her adolescence and her acceptance to Harvard despite a checkered high school career. At the university, she lived constantly on the precipice of a nervous breakdown-and slipped down into the abyss from time to time. Always, she fought back-relying on therapy, drugs (both licit and illicit), friends, and an innate inner strength-and found some salvation in the recognition she received for her writing. Ultimately, treatment with a combination of lithium and prozac allowed her to maintain her stability, but she is unwilling to accept a fate of life-long drug dependence. Graphically written, this book expresses the pain and anger of Wurtzel's unremitting protest against her disability. It will appeal to young readers seeking stories of depression they can relate to. Recommended.-Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
Booknews
"Full of promise" is how anyone would have described Elizabeth Wurtzel at age ten, a bright-eyed little girl who painted, wrote stories, and excelled in school. By age 12, she was cutting her legs with razor blades, and college turned into a series of breakdowns, crises, and a suicide attempt. Not until being prescribed Prozac, in combination with other psychoactive drugs and therapy, was some stability possible for her. Written with spunk and wit, this is an excellent picture of a young woman's struggle with depression and her view of the dire effects our social and cultural milieu has on the young. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573225120
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1995
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
124,861
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 8.01(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1320L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Wrenching and comical, self-indulgent and self-aware, Prozac Nation possesses the raw candor of Joan Didion's essays, the irritating emotional exhibitionism of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and the wry, dark humor of a Bob Dylan song."—The New York Times

"Wurtzel is a very entertaining nut case. Reading this book is like being locked up with her, covering your ears or laughing out loud, depending on your perspective. Prozac Nation gives a view of every aspect of depression: the self-pity, the courage, the flashes of insight, the despair, and the endless, very moving struggle, simply, to live." —Jeffrey Eugenides

"[Wurtzel] is smart, she is funny...she is thoughtful and...she is very, very brave. Wurtzel portrays, from the inside out, an emotional life perpetually spent outrunning the relentless pursuit of what she describes as a black wave, often sacrificing her likability on the altar of her truth."—Vanity Fair

"Sylvia Plath with the ego of Madonna." —The New York Times Book Review

"The saddest, funniest, and ultimately, most triumphant book about youthful depression I've come across. It reads like a mixture of J.D. Salinger and Sylvia Plath, with some Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen thrown in for good measure...[Wurtzel] is one canny and entertaining observer of her generation: if you've been wondering why Kurt Cobain meant what he did—what it feels like to be young, gifted, and black of spirit—this book is the CD, tape, video, and literary answer all in one."—Daphne Merkin, author of Enchantment

"The Courtney Love of letters... You can disagree with Wurtzel, but at least she always has a passionate point of view." —Entertainment Weekly

"... The preposterous energy of a great, drunken tantrum, and a voluptuous, sprawling style, with lots of good, zinging jokes." —Mary Gaitskill

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Wurtzel is the author of bestselling books including Prozac Nation, Bitch, and More, Now, Again. A Harvard and Yale Law School graduate whose work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, New York, The Guardian, and The Oxford American, she lives in New York City.

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Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
prozac nation is by far one of the best books i've ever read. this book is not about whining or making you feel sorry for the author like i've read in other reviews. it's about someone who has struggled most of their life through depression and addiction and takes the time to take the reader in depth into of every aspect of her life. i read this book a few years ago and it is still one of my favorite books. once you start reading you can't stop. this book itself is a drug. you will be hooked instantly. you will find yourself ignoring phone calls food and sleep to get to the next page. This book should be read by everyone. but i think someone who has experienced depression or addiction at some point in their life will appreciate this book even more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A decent portrayal of mental illness.
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happytoday-nbd More than 1 year ago
Mental illness in 21st century American is a topic that is still not discussed and still holds onto many stigmas. If you suffer from depressions or any form of mental illness this book will be a comfort to you. If you know someone that suffers this book will be enlightening. Ms. Wurtzel has done an excellant job of education through her story written in lay terms. This should be required reading; too many people suffer in silence.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Possibly one of the best pieces of work I've ever read, Elizabeth Wurtzel grabs you and takes you under and forces you to feel what she's going through. An amazing writer she is, and continues to inspire and comfort those going through her situations. You will not look at the world--or your own life--the same after reading this book. It's life changing, but a good change at that. She will leave you wondering and wanting more. I definitely recommend this book to everyone who has some kind of adversity, especially troubled young teens who need an escape and a reassurance of not being alone. You definitely dont feel alone when you read this masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wurtzel is absolutely amazing. Her work is exactly the pain alot of young is going through right now. Including myself.. I would recommend this book to anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. Wurtzel is just a very talented writer; as you're reading this book she makes you feel as if you are present at the scene. She's very descriptive and also makes it easier for you to realize how difficcult it is to go through depression and how people like this need to be taken care of.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing and accurate journey through depression. Elizabeth Wurtzel is an excellent writer who gets your mind thinking and going, you will never want to put this book down. I never imagined i would read a book where the auther would be able to describle so perfectly how i felt and the thoughts that were in my mind, some that not even i can describe. so many parts made me stop and think, it all brought new understanding to a topics prevelent in everyones lives. I related so much to this book and i think anyone depressed or not would also be able to. i recomend to everyone especially if you are trying to understand your own or someone elses depression.
Guest More than 1 year ago
for anyone who has ever wondered about depression or felt alone in their feelings this book is a must read. Having lived through deppresion both myself and my family, i feel that this book is an accurate depitcation of what goes on and how it affects oneslife. the book was difficult to put down, it maintained my interest all they way through to the point that i was upset when it was done. the author makes many great and profound points that everyone can relate to, even if you are not depressed or interested in depression.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those that have been through her pain, Elizabeth makes you feel it all over again and gives you so much to be proud of when you realize you have surpassed what she has surpassed. A book worth reading for anyone who has been there done that, for anyone who knows someone who has been there done that, or anyone who doesn't know but should. Worth reading... again and again and again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Wurtzel is a genius! This book just said everything I feel and some people might call it self-absorbed, but only those who cannot understand depression, or who have never been depressed. It surrounds the author and feels like a trip through her mind, an unpleasant one it may be, but it never stops being compelling and above all real. The conclusion is very poignant and the entire book is very thought provoking. Some people will hate Elizabeth, others will love her, I personally fit into the latter category, because she is so human and somehow manages to keep my interest throughout the whole book. The description does not do any justice to the experience so READ IT NOW!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
You don't need to be depressed to read this book - It's one of those books that comes together and really makes you think about the world we live in today...a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really did enjoy this book. My main intention was to buy the book because Christina Ricci was on the cover, but when i read the prologue i thought that her writing style was so interesting. The prologue is the best part and then chapter 1 makes the transition to the beginning of her life, and the end is her present state. The only thing i did not like was that the book never went back to the prologue and she cries too much, but i guess that being depressed. The first 6 chapters are great but then afterward the book slows down and becomes somewhat less interesting. I did really enjoy the book but the ending came so sudden(once you read you will know what i mean). Awesome Book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutely loved this book, i just couldn't stop reading. i could totally relate to elizabeth; before i read this book i thought i was the only one who cut shapes or words into there body , but im not alone, read it,please!