Leah Greenblatt
March 19, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cambridge

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Susanna Kaysen
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

Kaysen, who famously recounted her time in a psychiatric ward in the best-selling 1993 memoir Girl, Interrupted, mines her young life once again — with diminishing returns. It’s not that she lacks material. The eldest daughter of a Harvard academic, she spent her childhood in a nicotine fugue of midcentury artists and intellectuals, boomeranging between the Massachusetts city of the title and her father’s exotic European postings. As a travel writer, Kaysen shines: Her descriptions of sunbaked Italian villas and the dank shortcomings of British plumbing come in Technicolor. As a memoirist, however (Cambridge‘s jacket dubs it a ”novel-from-life”), she cul-de-sacs in needless minutiae and sour score-settling with her parents. Sometimes a girl, uninterrupted goes on too long. B

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