Books by Elizabeth Wurtzel

MORE, NOW, AGAIN by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Released: Jan. 17, 2002

"A wake-up call about the abusive potential of Ritalin—and a searing account of a long, deadly dalliance with destruction."
Generational spokesperson Wurtzel (Prozac Nation, 1994, etc.) pens a claustrophobic but surprisingly moving account of her battle with drug addiction. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1998

The epithet —bitch— has no male equivalent, and Wurtzel explains this inequity in a series of overgrown essays that swings from insightful to banal. At its best, Wurtzel's discursive style is akin to soapbox oratory. Studying women throughout history, from Delilah to Zelda Fitzgerald, who have gained influence by using their sexuality to manipulate men and events, Wurtzel points out that this path has often been —the only option— for women seeking —to be both powerful and sexy.— But a woman who uses sex appeal to gain power is also likely to be dismissed, vilified, or, at the very least, labeled dangerous or difficult. But while there's some thoughtful analysis, a lot of entertaining information, and a good deal of clever writing, the book digresses too often from its central notion to persuade any but the already converted that the world can't handle difficult women. Indeed, it appears that what has proven most difficult for bitches has been handling their own power. Wurtzel identifies with their difficult choices and suffering and helps us empathize, yet her attitude toward the women she chooses to study often seems ambivalent. Expositions on desire, anger, sex, and madness figure throughout this serpentine analysis. Mostly her message gets bogged down in a tangle of bitching. As in her previous work, Prozac Nation (1994), Wurtzel generalizes from her own experience. To rephrase a Muriel Rukeyser poem she cites, the world would not split open if one woman told the truth about her life. "It would more likely derogate such ‘truth' by reducing it to no more than a silly girl's excessive emotionalism," Wurtzel writes, taking a preemptive strike at her detractors. At its worst, the book becomes an extended defense of Wurtzel's own recalcitrant "bad" behavior. Wurtzel's talent for provocative prose and sexy subjects perfectly lends itself to a screed on female power that is refreshing and irritating by turns. (Author tour) Read full book review >
PROZAC NATION by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Released: Sept. 14, 1994

A memoir of a depressed, heavily medicated young woman who identifies with Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and other tragic figures—and fantasizes about being profiled as a tragic suicide in New York magazine. Born in 1967, Wurtzel grew up in New York City, the precocious only child of divorced parents. At six, she wrote her first book. At the age of 11, she carved up her legs with razor blades in the school bathroom and went to a therapist her parents couldn't afford. But stints at the psychiatrist and summer camp didn't cure Wurtzel of her depression. When she entered Harvard, she spent her days deep in despair or high on Ecstacy or cocaine. By the time she graduated, she was being treated with Prozac and lithium. This is all presented with such narcissistic pride that the following comment about herself is true of the book: ``I was so far gone that I didn't even come across as sad any longer. Just obnoxious.'' She wants to contextualize her experience to give it deeper meaning as some sort of a beacon for her generation. But Wurtzel insists on one-upmanship: She's ``a real sicko,'' while the other six million Americans on Prozac are ``all these happy-pill poppers.'' She wants it both ways: to be at once the Head Loony and a representative voice. But her nihilism offers nothing new (she wails about loneliness and death's inevitability). Her only generational trademark is a preternatural media sensibility. But even her TV- informed peers cringed when she threw a party celebrating her deflowering. By alternately belittling and belaboring her depression, Wurtzel loses her credibility: Either she's a brat who won't shape up or she needs the drugs. Ultimately, you don't care which. An excruciating portrait of, even cause for, depression. This most certainly is not an examination of a generation's collective psyche. (First serial to Vogue, Esquire, and Mouth2Mouth) Read full book review >