Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My Lobotomy by Howard Dully

Alright, so imagine you're a normal 12 year old boy. You've got all of the standard 12 year old boy issues, but with the added bonus that your beloved mother died when you were young. You've been living at home with your father, stepmother, biological brother, and two stepbrothers. Your stepmother, for some reason, hates you. To her, you're a budding psychopath, a towering inferno of rage and malicious intent.

So she has you lobotomized.

Yep, she and your father pay a man to stick a glorified ice pick in your eye sockets, wiggle it around a little in your gray matter, then send you on your way.

That's what happens to Howard Dully, author of the memoir My Lobotomy. Dully's experience with the actually lobotomy is only half of the story. He spends his life shuttling between half-way houses, institutions, and jails-- wanted by nobody. Finally, he gets the chance to read his medical file and learn the horrifying truth behind his brutal surgery.

I'll admit, I was a little skeptical for the first 100 pages. The evil stepmother story is as old as time-- surely there must have been some medical reason to justify scrambling the brains of a pre-teen. Yet, as I continued reading, Dully presented actual notes from the doctor who performed the surgery, which left me depressed over the lost childhood of an innocent kid. This book is not a work of art, but it's a decent exploration of insanity and family.

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