Book Review: Sybil Exposed

Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case by Debbie Nathan

Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan

It’s no secret that I love psychology — pop or otherwise. After Professor Levine‘s abnormal psychology class I began to thing more critically about the books I had once love (Girl, Interrupted, Prozac Nation). Chief among the offenders was Sybil. A classic story of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) it sparked a craze that led the American Psychological Association to add the diagnosis to the DSM.

In Sybil Exposed Debbie Nathan looks into the science behind the book and makes some shocking discoveries. The real story of abuse may be more violent and underhanded than the story presented in Sybil. Dr. Wilbur injected Shirley (the real name of Sybil) with “truth serum” many times a week. The substance is shown to cause hallucinations, nausea, excessive sleep and is only recommended for a maximum of three doses. This drug in combination with the others Dr. Wilbur prescribed for Shirley kept her from pursuing any life independent from therapy.

Nathan presents the story from three different perspectives: Shirley, Dr. Wilbur and Flora Rheta Schreiber. By doing so she is able to create a story that parallels the fragmentation of Sybil’s creation.

Rating: 4/5

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Christmas 2012: Books On My List

 

There seems to be a general theme with my book wish list this year. I’ve chosen primarily nonfiction works: some memoirs, biographies, and DIYs. I could give you a philosophical reasoning about the shift, starting with my educational journey from liberal arts to professional school, but you’re more interested in the list, aren’t you?

  1. Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington
  2. Celebrate:  A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends by Pippa Middleton
    England + entertainment + a Middleton? Count me in!
  3. Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan
  4. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
    I reviewed her earlier work Dust and Shadow — https://alexandrampatterson.com/2012/10/05/book-review-dust-and-shadow/
  5. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle (50th Anniversary Edition)
    This was the first “big girl” book I ever read. I remember one of my elementary school teachers read it to us every day during “story time.” Though I began to prefer L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light as I grew up, the Wrinkle in Time Quintet will always have a special place in my heart.
  6. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
    I’m currently reading How To Be a Woman and loving it so I would really like to have a little more Caitlin Moran in my life!
  7. Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored by Mary Gabriel
  8. Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem by Carolyn G. Heilbrun

I’m hoping to see a few of these in my stocking this year! Which ones are you excited about?