Brenda's Reviews > Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case

Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan
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Nov 08, 11

Read from November 02 to 08, 2011

I read Sybil and saw the TV movie with Sally Field. Even as a teenager I remember thinking that a lot was probably exaggerated for the sake of a riveting story. It certainly increased my interest in mental illness and child abuse, two subjects you didn't hear alot about back then. Which leads me to my main critique of this book. Nathan seems to believe that because no one could coroborate Shirley Mason's (the real Sybil) abuse (50 years later), it was ALL made up, MPD doesn't exist, Cornelia Wilbur was a fraud, and Florence Shreiber was a pathetic glory seeker with a hook nose (yes, she mentioned the author's hook nose). First of all, CPS as we know it today didn't even exist when I was a child in the 60's, much less in the 30's and 40's when the supposed abuse took place. WHO would she have told? What would have been done? Probably nothing, which was why a lot of abuse went unreported back then, which is why society went a little over board (the McMartin preschool thing comes to mind)when things like child abuse and it's connection to juvenile delinquency and mental illness started being talked and written about. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Did Sybil have 16 personalities? 35? 2? None? Doesn't mean MPD (or whatever the DSM is calling it nowadays) doesn't exist. I sure hope Debbie Nathan doesn't leave her personal papers laying around so that someone can besmirch her reputation when she's no longer around to defend herself.
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