So, first I added this book to my list thinking that this would be a fascinating read about a famous case study that had a huge impact upon social behSo, first I added this book to my list thinking that this would be a fascinating read about a famous case study that had a huge impact upon social behaviors, particularly that of young American women.
Then, I began to read the book. It was particularly fascinating how quickly the author posed her summary, without posing a hypothesis first and then documenting her progress.
As I continued to read the story, I kept wondering why the author posed no conclusive proof that Shirley aka Sybil never had MPD, never had disassociated personalities, never suffered from severe childhood abuse that would have caused this infamous splintering off from the self.
Instead, what I read, was a cleverly worded treatise on the failings of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur including how she decided to find a case of MPD, reconnected with a former hysteria patient of hers, imposed the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder upon said patient after an incident in her office when the patient broke a glass and then convinced the patient that she actually had sixteen alternate personalities and that her mother had been an utter monster to her (the patient) as a child, all so that author Debbie Nathan could concur that Dr. Wilbur had a lesbian infatuation with this patient and used her to further her career. Then, she roped in a New York journalist to "collude" with doctor and patient to write an expose of MPD and this woman's life story ("Sybil" by Flora Rheta Schreiber).
Then, not only do I have to read about the personal romantic failings of said author Schreiber (which have nothing to do with her involvement with Dr Wilbur or with Shirley) but of course because she's Jewish I have to read, more than once, how Nathan describes Schreiber as feeling unattractive because of her "beaked nose". Beaked nose?!!
What is most interesting to me is that in support of her theory that the book that had such a profound impact upon young women who feared disassociative behaviors of their own and saw something of themselves in young "Sybil" and longed for a mother figure like Dr. Wilbur, Nathan herself propels stereotypes and injects hysteria and does a grave disservice to women who serve the psychiatric community and women who are patients of said industry.
It is very, very clear that she went into the writing of this book with her own preconceived ideas and a belief system that she never allowed to go through a scientific hypothesis. It is also very clear to me that she had a real story to write, about the behaviors and crimes that clearly "Sybil" began to trigger in our modern society, including the cases of MPD that have been now disproven.
And then, after I had finished the book and put it aside thinking, "Well, I don't really believe the story but she sure seemed to have a bit of an axe to grind..." then I go and read the top review above, written by a first-cousin of the real life Shirley/Sybil who knew her cousin and family quite well and completely supports the diagnosis of MPD and of trauma and of years of desperately-needed psychotherapy and how the author failed to reach out to the one person who is still alive and who knew the subject better than anyone. And what does Debbie Nathan do? She responds back, criticizing the cousin, over and over again.
Fuck. I'm changing my 2-star review to a 1-star. If you're going to write non-fiction, try basing it on facts and maybe you should prove your case before you write your story (and, presumably, receive your own advance). Otherwise, try writing fiction. ...more
An epic amount of research went into Haley's "Roots" and it shows. From Western Africa, where his ancestor Kunta Kinte grows up, becomes a young man,An epic amount of research went into Haley's "Roots" and it shows. From Western Africa, where his ancestor Kunta Kinte grows up, becomes a young man, and then is abducted. The harrowing and unforgettable journey across the sea. The plantation where Kuna lands and attempts, time and time again, to escape from. His daughter. Her son. His children. Each generation is tied to American History and the African-American identity. They did a pretty good job with the miniseries, but for anyone who is curious about ancestry or loves stories about family, this is the penultimate American Family. Please read....more
A history of man's relationship to four important plants: the apple, tulip, marijuana and potato. Paints a rather strange picture of the fabled "JohnnA history of man's relationship to four important plants: the apple, tulip, marijuana and potato. Paints a rather strange picture of the fabled "Johnny Appleseed", John Chapman. The final section on the potato talks about the Irish famine of 1843-1849 a bit as well. There is quite a bit in that section about Monsanto and it's clear the author has a bias against GMO's and Monsanto practices, but since I thoroughly agree with the author I didn't find it distracting....more
I initially LOVED this book when I first read it, back in my early twenties. Who wouldn't? Anti-establishment actress who yearns to be on stage gets sI initially LOVED this book when I first read it, back in my early twenties. Who wouldn't? Anti-establishment actress who yearns to be on stage gets saddled instead with a glossy Hollywood career and just when she attempts to break free of such reigns, her Mother From Hell has her committed, time and time again to a Mental Institute. Oh, but not just any loony bin - Frances' hospitals were clearly torture chambers for repressed Lezbo-Nazi's and poor Frances endures years of physical, psychological, scientific and sexual torture before she finally breaks free of the loony bin, her mother, Hollyweird and everything else. She lands in the arms of the most gracious and gentle Southern Woman who takes her in to her home (but they're not gay) and makes her a part of her family (still, not gay) and the two live out Frances' final years on a beautiful ranch with like a dozen cats (I repeat: they are not gay!) before her untimely death from cancer.
If you're chuckling, there's good reason. Frances was a thoughtful, intelligent and immensely talented woman who found herself blackballed from her chosen profession for her contrariness and clearly was at odds with her family and spent many years institutionalized. But this, my friends, just isn't a fully true story in "Will There Really Be A Morning?" It's actually ghost-written by the very same loving (not-gay! really not-gay!) partner Jean referenced above, after Frances died suddenly and their advance on the book she was attempting to write had been spent.
You can tell Jean wrote it because there are no descriptions of being on stage, or on a soundstage, or of the many talented cast and crew that Frances worked with in her nearly twenty-year career in Hollywood (except for the makeup lady that Frances smacked in the face with a hairbrush). But the book is sure filled with lots of glowing praise for lovely Jean and her super-wonderful family.
Poor Frances. She really got a raw deal in life and in death. Her family shit on her, her agents couldn't really help her, she's locked up for years and then, to cap it all off, her not-gay lady friend writes the most salacious bio, EVER and she doesn't even get to reap the rewards. There was a real story here about conforming, about being a woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind - but that's not what wound up on the page.
Frankly, though, it's the most entertaining thing you'll read about Hollywood even though it has nothing to do with it. Lurid, possibly true-ish and DEFINITELY NOT GAY....more
Thorough and insightful - not just about the Spanish Influenza which took somewhere between 25 and 100 million people nearly a century ago - but reallThorough and insightful - not just about the Spanish Influenza which took somewhere between 25 and 100 million people nearly a century ago - but really about the beginnings of modern epidemiology and the understandings of viruses and how they mutate. In-depth understanding of the doctors at the heart of this crisis. So interesting to think that this cataclysmic event needed two converging factors: a swine flu emanating out of rural Kansas and World War I which would bring soldiers near that same rural area and then onwards, and outwards and upwards. There have really only been two significant pandemics in the modern age: the 1917-1919 Influenza and HIV/AIDS. We no longer need a Great War to spread virus, we just need to live in the world and go about our busy, mobile lives. Very interesting, well-written and impressively researched....more
I had previously read "Strip City" and first read "I Love a Man..." about 2 years ago. This was my 2nd read. I think I enjoyed it slightly less then 2I had previously read "Strip City" and first read "I Love a Man..." about 2 years ago. This was my 2nd read. I think I enjoyed it slightly less then 2nd time, but it's still a good read.
What happens when a former stripper/punk rock writer marries a military man? The results are not always pretty, especially when you add in post-war PTSD for the guy and clinical depression for the gal.
Lily Burana has a forthright and snappy writing style and I found her candid memoir to be refreshing. There are other military wives out there who are penning books and blogs, but likely none as colorful as Burana. No, she's not your typical Army wife. She isn't arranging potlucks, she isn't always towing the line, but I bet there are a lot more military wives and moms who feel as she does - out in left field - than would admit it.
I understand some of the previous reviewers who felt that the book seemed self-involved - it is. But that isn't a negative. Burana isn't writing a how-to guide for those about to marry into the Military. She's a writer and former memoirist who simply wrote a book about her personal experiences knowing that she fell into a depressive hole and nearly lost her marriage and writes forthrightly about that experience. And she ends the book with writing about the steps she has since taken the repair her marriage, fix her standing in her community and found her unique way of helping other military wives. Kudos to her.
Scheeres does a commendable job at helping us picture the victims of the Jonestown massacre (many of whom did not choose to die but were murdered) andScheeres does a commendable job at helping us picture the victims of the Jonestown massacre (many of whom did not choose to die but were murdered) and those who were lucky to survive, as the religious group winds its way to its terrible conclusion. These are not gullible souls but thoughtful people who deeply connected with Jim Jones and their fellow People's Temple congregants for a host of reasons. You find yourself wanting to shout at those you are reading about "Get out! Leave! There are other choices!" but the author really helps the reader feel the inertia and numbness that had set in once the congregation had arrived in Guyana. The only thing I felt was missing was a deeper understanding of both how and why Jim Jones began to unravel but perhaps other books provide that kind of psychological examination. An excellent exploration into the victims of cults and a lesson those of us looking to find connections could do well to study....more
This chick is funny as shit but I'm not sure she can read a book, let alone write one. I'm pretty sure she told a bunch of wild stories about her ex-hThis chick is funny as shit but I'm not sure she can read a book, let alone write one. I'm pretty sure she told a bunch of wild stories about her ex-husband and how he left her for a washed-up country teen star to someone who could actually (at least technically) write them down for her.
Don't get me wrong: it's a fun read but I read it about a year ago and I can't remember a damn thing about it.
I'd call this "Drinking and Downloading" which is clearly what I must have done when I ordered this on my kindle....more
Very helpful. Lamb offers insightful tips to help independent authors build a public profile using today's social media. She stresses that it's not abVery helpful. Lamb offers insightful tips to help independent authors build a public profile using today's social media. She stresses that it's not about promoting yourself or your books, but rather creating a personality online that is open, helpful, interested and interesting. I learned a lot of useful information in this book that I'm attempting to practice....more
Middlebrook is simply a first-rate biographer. She manages to piece together all the ragged threads of Anne Sexton's life and work: the possible sexuaMiddlebrook is simply a first-rate biographer. She manages to piece together all the ragged threads of Anne Sexton's life and work: the possible sexual abuse as a child, the postpartum depression that led to her first hospitalization, the affairs, the alcoholism, the immense talent and the galloping madness that would ultimately take the poet's life in 1974. There is so much background information here: Anne's surviving family, her doctors and her fellow poet-friends all provide much needed and valuable background. But key to fleshing out Anne are the recordings she and her doctors agreed to make, as Anne would "fugue" out after most psychiatrict sessions. These recordins allowed her to listen back and make notes and understand her experiences, but they also allow us to understand this pivotal and profoundly damaged woman and the poetry she created....more
An important book, one of the best of the past generation. I believe I was around twenty when I tackled "Zen" for the first time. Ostensibly the storyAn important book, one of the best of the past generation. I believe I was around twenty when I tackled "Zen" for the first time. Ostensibly the story of a man on a motorcycle trip with his moody 12-year old son and a couple that the man is friends with. They journey from the midwest across the plains, to Montana, where the protagonist formerly was employed as a professor at a university. There is the journey itself, across the American landscape, with frequent ruminations on the maintenance of the motorcycle itself. There are brief squalls, both physical as rains come down and emotional as the son grows more sullen and detached. And then there is the other story, the journey back in time as the protagonist begins to unwind the history of his life before. He calls his former self "Phaedrus" and you begin to learn more of who Phaedrus was. Pirsig refers to Phaedrus in third person, but it is clear that Phaedrus is the man in the story, and Phaedrus is Pirsig himself. Phaedrus was a brilliant engineering student who rebuked his training, became a philosphy student and then a professor and then lost it all in an unraveling of mind, body and spirit. At the heart of Phaedrus' descent are two things: his clear obstinancy with authority and a useful discourse in the classroom on the idea of "quality". Both would quite literally drive him mad, and drive him from the classroom, and clearly with some serious psychological treatment (one would guess, perhaps, electroshock therapy) drive him so far from his previous self that he is hard pressed to really remembering being him, that man, Phaedrus. As the foursome approach the university, he begins to remember more and, in so doing, watches himself unraveling again. A haunting, meaningful story that should be read by everyone who questions our purpose in this world. I buy this book only to loan it out to someone new to the story, knowing it will not be returned and I must, happily, purchase it once again....more
If you saw the movie it takes anecdotes from the book and fleshes out both the action and the secondary characters to create a more fluid story line.If you saw the movie it takes anecdotes from the book and fleshes out both the action and the secondary characters to create a more fluid story line. Susanna's story however is more interesting when she explains it herself, what it felt like to consider embracing madness, or what she was told was madness once upon a time when really everyone had sort of lost their minds....more