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Synopsis

Winnipeg 1963. Eighteen-year-old psychology student Ruthie J. is the bane of her traditional Jewish family. Briefly married, she drinks, swears, has casual sex and mixes with questionable characters. She also argues incessantly with her father. When a bizarre car accident lands her in court, the confused teen is sent for testing and diagnosed with epilepsy then considered a mental illness. Against her wishes, Ruthie's family admits her to a posh Maryland mental hospital, Chestnut Lodge, of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden notoriety. Put in the care of a sadistic psychiatrist who threatens to have her committed for life, the spunky adolescent finds herself at the mercy of an insane institution. Through the friendship and love of her fellow patients and the subsequent help of a remarkable therapist, Ruthie J. frees herself, discovers her true sexual orientation and perseveres in her dream to become a physician. Told with humour and drama, Dr. Ruth Simkin's memoir The Jagged Years of Ruthie J. is a powerful reading experience that will inspire all who struggle with illness, adversity or sexual identity.

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