Susanna Kaysen

[Book] The Camera My Mother Gave Me / Susanna Kaysen #TBR20

Seeing as how most of my readers are male, The Camera My Mother Gave Me, a memoir by Girl, Interrupted author, Susanna Kaysen will likely go over like a lead balloon. And yet, I still review it.

Let me put it out there: this book is about vaginas.

Did I grab your attention?

…Okay, full disclosure: sick vaginas.


More specifically, a gynecological problem called Vestibulitis, which in the simplest terms means for over two years, the author’s VJ hurt (“Zing! Burn! Yow!” – quote from book). Doctors could not figure out why. This, of course, affected her relationship with her boyfriend. No sexay tymes for her (…aaaand, now I’ve really lost my male audience).

Why, in God’s name, would she want to dwell on it? Why the hell would I read something like this? TMI, right?

There was just something about this book that drew me to it when I found it used.

Women have “problems”. Men have “problems”. It’s how you relay the experience of the “problem” in whatever medium, that can engage people.

I have had my own share of “problems”…different than what Kaysen shares, mind you, but for a good solid 5 years, I had to deal with doctors, and multiple appointments, and surgeries, and treatment plans until diagnosis…I lost my sense of humour, lost my dignity, developed a stress wrinkle next to my right eyebrow…and after several years and some damn hard work, I slowly gained my life back and learned to live with my chronic lot. (BTW, everything is in a holding pattern now, friends. All good. Nothing to see here. Smiley face!)

In The Camera My Mother Gave Me, the author shares her own experience of diagnosis, treatment and life, all the while using humour and familiarity people dealing with a chronic illness can relate to.

This book was an easy read and well-written. I understand though, if this book isn’t your cuppa. But, I recommend it, particularly to women who’ve gone through any sensitive dignity-destroying health problems.


The Camera My Mother Gave Me / Susanna Kaysen

#TBR20 Project Participant!!

The “To Be Read 20” Project, is created and hosted by Eva Stalker at The goal of the project is to read through 20 books I own before buying any more books.

As everyone in my personal life knows, I am book-heavy and read-lite, these days. But, for 2015, I am hell-bent on changing this karma, not only to exercise my brain even more, but to weed out my collection of meh books to make room for awesome ones. Join the party if you are so inclined using the hashtag #TBR20 and informing Eva Stalker on her blog, or on Twitter @evastalker. 🙂