'Prozac Nation' by Elizabeth Wurzel

Wednesday 18 May 2022


The memoir that influenced confessional writing opened up mental illness discussion and divided critics is one that definitely needs to find its way into your TBR pile. 

Prozac Nation didn’t just uncover her experience with the dark looming shadow we associate with depression but the thoughtless decisions and reckless moments that truly highlight someone's lack of esteem for life. 

From a young age, mental illness took over Wurzel’s life, Prozac Nation accounting for her self harm from the age of 11 before a depression fog of adolescence, in what could be read as a highly functioning depressive. 

Throughout her turbulent life, Wurzel struggled whilst still maintaining good grades, attending Harvard and later becoming a reporter. Fuelling everything not swollen in mental illness into making sure she appeared to be ‘succeeding’. When she wasn’t wrapped in despair, she was focused on achieving or finding escapism in drugs, sex and bad decisions. 

Prozac Nation honestly reflects depression, which in the current era of ‘self-care’ shows just how much power this mental illness has, regardless of how many bath bombs you use. This true account is difficult, self-indulgent and dark. 

A true account of debilitating depression all whilst maintaining a life, trying countless drugs and therapies and fighting to afford treatment in the US. However, this can be difficult to read where Wurzel lays the blame for her illness. Everything from the time, to her parents, friends and therapists is the cause rather than the root itself. A continuous loop around acceptance and blame. 

Prozac Nation is now a cultural landmark in terms of confessional memoirs, mental health and coming of age, compared contemporarily to HBO and Lena Dunham’s Girls. Although its self-absorption is part of its legacy, Prozac Nation has laid the foundations for frank, open and honest accounts of life with mental illness. 

Have you read Prozac Nation?

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