Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
Committed by Suzanne Scanlon
Add Committed to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf


Best Seller
Committed by Suzanne Scanlon
Paperback $19.00
Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9780593469101

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • $19.00

    Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9780593469101

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9780593469118

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9780593821855

    614 Minutes

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Committed

Product Details


A must-read book at LitHub, NYLON, Bustle, The Millions

“[An] affecting memoir. . . . If the hospital ward where Scanlon stayed felt at times like a “foreign country,” books served as a ballast for her fragile psyche.”
—The New Yorker

Committed flows like a psychotherapy session, with rich, entertaining digressions that culminate in unexpected insights. . . . Rich with the texture of a life, of the passionate and varied intellectual pursuits of its author. Its existence serves as an addendum to Scanlon’s case file, a correction to the record, illustrating how drastically medical narratives can reduce the scope of a life. . . . The treatment of mental illness has changed since 1992, but whether this change represents true progress remains an open question. Even now, it is still the work of writers and readers to fill in the gaps where medicine fails us, to teach us more thoughtful and expansive ways to learn how to live with the grief at the heart of the human experience.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“I’m gonna keep coming back to this one. . . . Absolutely stunning.”
—Maris Kreizman in The Maris Review

“A victory.”
—The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“This review can only ever be a vain attempt to enumerate all that is relatable and insightful within the covers of Scanlon’s Committed. . . . It is one of those books many will likely say they could have used earlier in life, but that will no doubt also be said to have come right on time because any time is the right one for this book.” 
The Chicago Review of Books

“A deep, sometimes harrowing book about loss, grief, and the way literary representations of mental illness shaped Scanlon’s experience of her own life.” 
—Emily Gould, The Cut

“In this unconventional memoir, [Scanlon] situates herself in the lengthy tradition of “crazy women writers,” illuminating how this label doesn’t have to be reductive, but can provide a certain power and a path forward that permits the complexity of being a person.” 
Chicago magazine

“When Suzanne Scanlon entered the New York State Psychiatric Institute in 1992 after a suicide attempt, she had no idea that she would remain there for almost three years. In this bracing memoir, Scanlon, now a writer, teacher, and mother, tries to understand how and why she was institutionalized for so long. By writing about her own history as well as those of other writers including Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Scanlon explores the experiences of women dealing with mental illness and critiques a medical establishment overly reliant on medication. This frank memoir doesn’t provide easy answers, but does shed light on important subjects many still consider taboo.”

“Scanlon’s depiction of her artistic development suggests an appealingly thorny relationship between ideation and identification. “We don’t always get to pick our influence,” she writes. Summoning Sylvia Plath, Marguerite Duras, Shulamith Firestone, and Janet Frame, Committed becomes a love-letter-cum-Künstlerroman, revealing with dazzling fervor what it means to be enraptured by the page.”
The Millions

“Suzanne Scanlon’s memoir Committed is a lyrical and illuminating account of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and institutionalization. Mining the metaphors endemic to the institutional setting—the way madness or insanity is “a story the patients are told and learn to tell about themselves”—and making use of medical records and her own journals alongside literary depictions and descriptions of treatment, Scanlon questions the cultural conversations around women and mental illness, framing a compelling narrative of her own recovery and redemption.”
—Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Native Guard and two-time Poet Laureate of the United States

“Not since Marguerite Duras have we had such an intimate and moving voice. Among the very finest and most intelligent memoirs ever written—and with such generosity towards those who suffer mental pain (which is, all of us).” 
—Clancy Martin, author of How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind

“It’s not often that a book goes beyond literature into a metaphysical realm, or maybe that is what literature is like in its truest, deepest state. It is from within this state that we read Committed, and where we see Suzanne Scanlon, already an immensely talented writer, at her finest, cutting through propriety and convention to reach what is essential, meaningful, real. This book lives alongside the works of Annie Ernaux, Elena Ferrante, and James Baldwin, and feels every bit as important, for its artistry, for how it doesn’t shy away.”
—Amina Cain, author of Indelicacy and A Horse at Night

“Her mother’s early death deprived Suzanne Scanlon of the privilege of separation. Subsequent profound and unceasing sadness propelled her into a long stay in a psychiatric hospital where she found the time to read books that gave her understanding and life force. An intimate and deeply intelligent, soulful book that articulates the struggle to connect to the world.”
—Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

“Insightful, brave, and fiercely compelling, Suzanne Scanlon’s Committed documents the years she spent as an inpatient in the New York State Psychiatric Institute + Hospital wrestling with sadness, depression, and unexpressed grief over the death of her mother. Her memoir recounts how a host of writers and thinkers—from Marguerite Duras and Audre Lorde to Janet Frame and the sociologist Erving Goffman—helped her understand her family and negotiate the world today. Beautifully written and passionate in exploring lost connections, especially between mothers and daughters, Committed revisits a key chapter in American psychiatry as a witness to what worked and what most glaringly did not. Highly recommended.”
—Christopher Lane, writer at Psychology Today and author of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

“A thoughtful reflection on how societal expectations can impact people, women in particular, and how writing and reading can provide a port in the storm.”  

“Those who want a slice of real life will do well with Committed: On Meaning and Madwomen by Suzanne Scanlon, in which the author explores what it means to go mad as a woman.” 

“Intimate, unsparing. . . . A chronicle of survival amid mental and familial turmoil. . . . Astute reflections on fragility, healing, and wholeness.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Back to Top