The novel takes you on a journey in the mind of author Susanna Kaysen. She tells the story of when she voluntarily committed herself into a mental institution for 18 months. While there she learns about her illness and more importantly about herself. She meets amazing and strong women while at McLean Hospital. They all have unique personalities and heart wrenching stories. The thing I loved the most about this story is that the people were real. I've never been interested in biographies but this is definitely one I recommend.
But don't take my word for it check out the book and the movie. (In that order for maximum appreciation.)