Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America

Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America

by Elizabeth Wurtzel


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Elizabeth Wurtzel's New York Times best-selling memoir, with a new afterword

"Sparkling, luminescent prose . . . A powerful portrait of one girl's journey through the purgatory of depression and back." —New York Times

"A book that became a cultural touchstone." —New Yorker

Elizabeth Wurtzel writes with her finger on the faint pulse of an overdiagnosed generation whose ruling icons are Kurt Cobain, Xanax, and pierced tongues. Her 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544960091
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 473,126
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

ELIZABETH WURTZEL is the author of best-selling books including Prozac Nation,Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, and More, Now, Again. She is 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 inNew York.

Table of Contents

Prologue: I Hate Myself and I Want to Die
1. Full of Promise
2. Secret Life
3. Love Kills
4. Broken
5. Black Wave
6. Happy Pills
7. Drinking in Dallas
8. Space, Time, and Motion
9. Down Deep
10. Blank Girl
11. Good Morning Headache
12. The Accidental Blowjob
13. Woke Up This Morning Afraid I Was Gonna Live
14. Think of Pretty Things
Epilogue: Prozac Nation
Afterword (1995)

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

Customer Reviews

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Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A decent portrayal of mental illness.
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.
peptastic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this a decade ago. I learned a valuable lesson about what makes a gentlemen should I ever need it. A nice guy pays for your abortion but a gentlemen will take you to the clinic as well. I haven't need this wisdom but I've imparted it to others. The saddest thing I found about this book was Wurtzel's belief people only sympathise with drug addicts but can't understand depression. I'm not sure if this is true with everyone but she later became an addict. I wonder if people knew what to do with her then or if she still found that people often don't relate or sympathise with others pain even with a reason to put a name to.It seems to me that drug addictio. only makes peoples lives so much harder to deal with. Relatives I know who added drug addiction to their depression still had the depression to deal with.
dracopet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great subject, great prose, important book of our time, etc., but MY GOD will you get sick of listening to this woman. I mean, it's a very accurate description of what it's like to be very very depressed, but there's a reason depressed people aren't exactly social butteflies and it's because they never stop talking about how bummed out they are. And this is 384 pages of Elizabeth Wurtzel crashing and burning and then crying about it for about seven hours.
tripleAgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prozac Nation came into my life at a time when I could identify a bit too closely with Elizabeth Wurtzel in terms of being a bright young student who just didn't seem to fit in anywhere. While it was depressing overall, I found comfort in the assurance that for every stupid thing I ever did because I felt rotten, most of the things she had done were a lot worse. Definitely worth reading if you're having one of those years.
colleenharker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite halfway through this book and it is KILLING ME!!! Maybe it's just because I've never really dealt with depression, but all of her whining about how hard her life is and how black the vacant place where her soul should be and how much more depressed she is than anyone else and how no one understands her... Blah blah blah. Ugh. This line, page fifty something, pretty much sums it up for me at this point in the "story.""Nothing about my life seemed worthy of art or literature or even of just plain life. It seemed too stupid, too girlish, too middle-class."Amen, sista. If you'd just kept that attitude I wouldn't be stuck finishing your horribly boring book. And yet I plod on...UPDATE:Finally, done. The last fifty pages almost made it worth reading. Once she finally gets help and starts to talk about how prozac has saturated our society (what I was expecting the book to be about in the first place), it actually got interesting. Incidentally, she admits (in the epilogue, I think) that her story is self-indulgent and even often annoying. She gets a little judgmental about the overuse of prozac (what, only she is allowed to REALLY be depressed?), but I found myself at least partially agreeing with her. Anyway, I don't know that I would recommend this one to just anyone, but if you're interested in depression and have a high tolerance for a "woe-is-me" teenagerish voice, it wasn't completely unreadable.
kymmayfield on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel was way to depressing, I have depression so i figured i might be able to identify with her in this book but ohhhhhhhhhh no she is way to down for me. I had to pull myself to the end of the book. I would never read it again.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty good. Though I have to point out that the people i know who are young and depressed in america are the ones who are smart and poor to boot.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book dragged quite a lot in the middle...I got rather bored of reading about how terrible everything was for her, especially since I didn't have half the amazing opportunities that she had. However, the narrative redeemed itself by offering such an honest, inside view of how depression really feels. I believe I know better how to behave towards friends and clients who suffer from depression after having read this book.
vampyredhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best books about depression ever written. It is so beautifully, poetically written. It touches the soul of your being.
waxlight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read a plethora of books on depression, and on bipolar disfunction, and this book is the one that I see myself in the most. It also helped me come to terms with illness vs. crazy, and to also learn that once I accept the fact I have a chemical imbalance, it's easier to 'talk myself down'.
LisMB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sad, depressing. good read though
Borg-mx5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good first novel. For anyone who has been despressed, you can see a little bit of yourself in the novels protaganist. The search a understanding oneself can actually get in the way of feeling better.
lahochstetler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This well-written memoir chronicles the teenage and college years of Wurtzel¿s life, which she spends primarily in a funk of deep, unshakeable depression. If you have not felt this kind of depression (and I haven¿t), it is easy to become impatient with the author midway through the book. She seems to have everything that a lot of us want: a burgeoning career as a feature writer for newspapers and major magazines like Rolling Stone (and this is while she is still in college); a scholarship-funded education at Harvard; an endless supply of endlessly patient friends. Even her tragedies are minor: a distant father, a failed short-term relationship. So why is she constantly whining and self-obsessed and so full of pain? Wurtzel herself even comes out of her funk from time to time to wonder, ¿Why am I so depressed? What do I have to feel bad about?¿It is this impatience with the narrator that is the real brilliance of this book, and as we find out in the last chapter, Wurtzel has deliberately portrayed herself exactly as she felt, both to depict how it feels to be severely depressed and to let us readers know how it feels to know the severely depressed. And we do, believe me.By the end of the book, we have been through the wringer with Wurtzel, and we are glad to see her find salvation in drugs (although she is careful to explain that while anti-depressants have saved lives, they are in danger of becoming over-prescribed for the most minor cases of the blues). So yes, this book is uncomfortable to read, and we may occasionally want to yell at Wurtzel to snap out of it already, but when it is done, we know just what hell she went through ¿ because we went through it with her.
DoubleL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i thought it was going to be more of a social commentary than it was and i think wurtzel wanted it to be more broad but really it's a very bleak picture of her own personal struggle with depression. i think it could have been structured better. like all other wurtzel i've read, the intent is good but the follow through is sloppy and a little too whiney.
Brianna_H on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading Prozac Nation is like watching a car crash that you just can't stop staring at. At times Wurtzel becomes quite tiresome and annoying in trying to tell you just how smart, well-read, socially conscious, and knowledgeable about music she is. Despite this, Prozac Nation is a great memoir and an addictive read.
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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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago