Prozac Nation

From Academic Kids

Prozac Nation is an autobiographical book first published in 1994 by Elizabeth Wurtzel, describing the author's experiences with clinical depression.

Wurtzel describes her experience with the depths of a depressive illness, her own character failings and how she managed to live through particularly difficult periods whilst completing college and working as a writer. Her honesty in relating these episodes (which often do not reflect well on the author) is a striking aspect of the book. This has polarised many readers and critics, with some denouncing Wurtzel as self-obsessed, indulgent and unlikeable, whilst others praising her for producing a frank and accessible account of a sometimes stigmatised illness.

As an autobiographical account of experiences with mental illness it can be seen as the successor to books such as Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Prozac Nation is also similar in many ways to Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted; both books were published in the same year and both were written by articulate young women describing their experiences of mental illness (although Kaysen was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder rather than depression). These books have been some of the earliest autobiographical accounts of women dealing with mental illness and the mental health system. They have also been some of the most popular with I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, The Bell Jar, Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted all having been made into big budget movies.

Prozac, referred to in the book's title, is the name of an antidepressant medication which Wurtzel is eventually prescribed.

The book was turned into a motion picture starring Christina Ricci and Anne Heche and directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg, originally scheduled for a 2001 release. The film, however, was shelved by Miramax after controversy erupted over comments Wurtzel made about the September 11, 2001 attacks. The studio finally premiered the movie on the cable channel Starz! in March 2005, and plans to release it on DVD sometime in the spring of 2005.

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