Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America
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 every way. By twelve she was cutting her legs in the girls' bathroom and listening to scratchy recordings of the Velvet Underground. College was marked by a series of breakdowns, suicide attempts, and hospitalizations before she was finally given Prozac in combination with other psychoactive drugs, all of which have worked sporadically as Elizabeth's mood swings rise and fall like the lines of a sad ballad. This memoir, both harrowing and hilarious, gives voice to the high incidence of depression — especially among America's youth. "Prozac Nation" is a collective cry for help, a generational status report on today's young people, who have come of age fully entrenched in the culture of divorce, economic instability, and AIDS. "This private world of loony bins and weird people which I always felt I occupied and hid in, " writes Elizabeth, "had suddenly turned inside out so that it seemed like this was one big Prozac Nation, one big mess of malaise. Perhaps the next time half a million people gather for a protest march on the White House green it will not be for abortion rights or gay liberation, but because we're all so bummed out." Writing with a vengeance (Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, and Dorothy Parker all rolled into one), Elizabeth Wurtzel will not go gentle into that good night. She wants off medication, she wants a family, and most definitely, a life worth living.