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Peer Work

Home  >  Peer Work
Diana's Letter to Susanna Kaysen
By Diana Lower
Genre: Non-fiction Level: Junior 7-9
Year: 2002 Category: Letters About Literature

November 19, 2002

Dear Ms. Kaysen,

I have just read your book, Girl, Interrupted, for the third time. Each time I reread your book I learn more about you and the rest of the girls at the McLean Hospital. Maybe that's why I continue to read it over and over. Georgina, Darley, Lisa, Polly, Cynthia, Daisy, and Lisa Cody will always have my compassion and respect because they have gone through things and have seen things I will never have to see. They had the lives that no one wanted: full of drugs, abuse, and the idea that they may never get better.

About a year ago, before I read your book, my friend told me that she was considering suicide. I was in shock. Here was this beautiful and smart girl with such a promising future who wanted to strip herself of that future. The thought of it made me break down. I told my older sister who in turn told my parents. From there my parents told my friend's parents. They immediately talked about it with my friend, their daughter. My friend was angry that I couldn't keep her secret, but I have no regret. By telling me I think she was putting the gun back in the drawer. I don't think she wanted to go through with it, but I'm glad I didn't decide to wait and find out.

In your book you contradict all ideas to which we are accustomed. You challenge things I never thought anyone could challenge. Your beliefs and your opinions of your illness have taught me that people can get better and recover.

Your journey from being an outcast in high school, and later a patient at McLean, to where you are today has made me reflect about myself and about others around me. I have learned that life is precious and death is worth respect. All I know is that your book will be by my bed, ready to read once again.

Sincerely,
Diana Lower

Diana Lower
8th Grade
Girdwood Jr. High School, Girdwood, Alaska
Teacher: Judy Onslow


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