Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of the iconic Generation X memoir "Prozac Nation" (1994), died today of metastatic breast cancer. She was 52. Wurtzel was also the author of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women (1999) and More, Now, Again (2002), about her stimulant addiction. Several years ago, she wrote in the New York Times about the BRCA genetic mutation that can result in breast cancer and her own treatment for the disease. From today's New York Times obituary:
Writing about her final illness was a natural choice for Ms. Wurtzel, who had for a quarter-century scrutinized her life in relentless detail, becoming a hero to some, especially to many women of her generation and younger, but also drawing scorn. "Prozac Nation," her first book, published when she was 27, was unvarnished in its accounts of her student days at Harvard, her drug use, her extensive sex life and more…
The book became a cultural reference point and part of a new wave of confessional writing.
"Lizzie's literary genius rests not just in her acres of quotable one-liners," (Wurtzel's lifelong friend, author David) Samuels said by email, "but in her invention of what was really a new form, which has more or less replaced literary fiction — the memoir by a young person no one has ever heard of before. It was a form that Lizzie fashioned in her own image, because she always needed to be both the character and the author."
photo: detail of Prozac Nation book cover