From Prozac Nation to Yale Law School? Elizabeth Wurtzel's Unlikely Journey

ByABC News
March 22, 2007, 9:29 AM

March 22, 2007— -- Elizabeth Wurtzel has been called many things: crazy, depressed, drug-addicted, self-indulgent -- and those are just the names that she calls herself.

Now Wurtzel, author of "Prozac Nation," "Bitch" and "More, Now, Again," has added another title to the list: student at the Yale School of Law.

The woman who pioneered the genre of self-revelation, who defined a period in American culture by pouring out her soul and laying bare all her personal, and at times unflattering, secrets, is still finding herself.

"It's a bit of a shock. I'm going to be 40 this summer. It never occurred to me that I'd get old. I'm graduating in 2008," she says, sounding as if she doesn't believe it herself.

By all accounts, at 39, Wurtzel has already lived an accomplished life. She was educated at prestigious schools, including Ramaz, a private, Orthodox Jewish school in Manhattan, and Harvard University, where she won Rolling Stone Magazine's College Journalism Award.

She graduated and wrote for The New Yorker and New York magazine -- all before publishing a best-selling memoir and before turning 30. Then she went on to write two more best-selling books.

So how does a validated, established writer who has struggled with depression and drug addiction, who bounced in and out of therapy and rehab while earning success for writing about that same battle, end up at Yale Law School?

Wurtzel laughs.

"What's funny is, I always wanted to go to law school. Everyone always told me 'you know, lawyers want to be writers,' but I was really interested because I started writing so young, and I felt like [law school] was something that I could do. All my friends have advanced degrees of one sort or another, and continuing school seemed like fun."

Outside of that degree-envy and the simple belief she'd be good it, Wurtzel says she was surprised to find how much she's actually enjoyed the return to academia.

"If I could find a way to practice law and still be able to write some, I think I'd really like to. It seems like a strange thing to do but I definitely fell in love with the law, and it wasn't my intention."

And, like most other things in Wurtzel's career, success in the legal field appears within her grasp. To get her feet wet, the best-selling author and survivor of depression and addiction battles is working at a law firm this summer -- a large, established, corporate law firm that just happens to rank in the top 20 of the Vault's top 100 law firms.

Whether most law students would call law school "fun" is debatable, but it seems that little in Wurtzel's experience (at least the experiences she has written about) is in keeping with "most" people.

As a writer, she found success -- and, of course, success is a fertile breeding ground for controversy.

Though her experience with depression and drugs is not unique, her decision to expose those experiences was. Her first book, "Prozac Nation," is a best-selling memoir that chronicles her battle with depression. It is at once raw, exposed and darkly funny.

It is also, much like a person struggling with depression, self-indulgent, obsessive and suffocating to trudge through the mire of her battle. And according to Wurtzel, that was the point.