Elizabeth Wurtzel, ‘Prozac Nation’ Author, Is Dead at 52


In a 2013 article in The New Yorker drawing parallels between “Prozac Nation” and the HBO series “Girls,” then in its second season, Meghan Daum expressed the admiration and frustration the book inspired in some women.

“We resented her for being such a famous and hot little mess,” she wrote, “yet we couldn’t help but begrudgingly admire her ability to parlay her neuroses into financial rewards and a place in the literary scene.”

Ms. Wurtzel followed her own lead with her subsequent writing, especially “More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction,” published in 2002. That book detailed her abuse of cocaine and of Ritalin, which she would grind up and snort. As she put it in a 2013 essay for New York magazine, “I made a career out of my emotions.”

Elizabeth Lee Wurtzel was born on July 31, 1967, in Manhattan. Her mother, Lynne Ellen Winters, was married to Donald Wurtzel, and until recently Ms. Wurtzel had assumed that he was her father. In a 2018 essay in New York, she wrote of learning that she was actually the product of an affair between her mother and the photographer Bob Adelman, who died in 2016. She had written voluminously about her difficult relationship with Mr. Wurtzel, who divorced her mother when she was young; in the essay, she reassessed that angst.

“Thousands of words on the wrong problem,” she wrote. “I have perfected a two-handed backhand to clobber the lob that is coming at me that is: the wrong problem. I have aced the wrong problem.”

She grew up on the Upper East Side and began writing “Prozac Nation” in 1986, while she was a student at Harvard.

“It was originally a book about Harvard; it wasn’t even about depression,” she told the news website Vice in 1994. “But everything in it was about being depressed, so that changed it.”


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