Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review: My Lobotomy by Howard Dully

My Lobotomy My Lobotomy by Howard Dully

Whoa. This is an AMAZING story. The author, Howard Dully, underwent a lobotomy at the age of 12. The predictable part: his life was pretty terrible for many years thereafter. The surprising parts: apparently the operation was at the behest of his stepmother, who urged it basically because she didn't like him and wanted him to disappear AND he managed to survive the ordeal (albeit damaged) to eventually lead a semi-normal life. In fact, the plasticity of his brain at 12 was likely what saved him from becoming an institutionalized zombie. He was one of the youngest lobotomy patients every worked on by the "lobomist" Dr. Walter Freeman.

The most striking thing about this story, to me, is that despite the obvious risk and consequence associated with the lobotomy, the worst damage done to Dully seems to have been a result of the broken relationship with his family. Due to his youth, his brain recovered. However, even in his late fifties as he uncovered the details of the story, he continued to question whether he was loved because of the remarkable dysfunction of his family. Yet he does not come off as a "victim" as you might expect. He seems a surprisingly resilient man.

I suppose he had to be.

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