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My Lobotomy: A Memoir [Audio]


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At twelve years old, Howard Dully was one of the youngest patients to receive an "ice pick" lobotomy. Charles Fleming is a former Newsweek correspondent and the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess. Johnny Heller has earned multiple Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, including one for Closing Time by Joe Queenan, and has earned two Audie Awards and many more nominations. Named one of the Top Fifty Narrators of the Twentieth Century by AudioFile, he has recorded over five hundred titles.


Adult/High School-In 1960, when Dully was 12 years old, his stepmother, with his father's approval, took him to see Dr. Walter Freeman, who performed a transorbital, or "icepick," lobotomy on him. His stepmother felt that he was "defiant" and "unruly," and Dr. Freeman believed in the power of the lobotomy to change personalities. Dully was given electroshock treatments to quiet him, then a sharp instrument was inserted above each eyeball into the frontal lobes of his brain and moved back and forth. The procedure took about 10 minutes and cost $200. However, it didn't have the desired effect, so his stepmother got him admitted to a state mental institution. As the author tells the story, he was just a kid who needed attention and affection, but instead he was essentially abandoned both by his family and the system, and he spent the next 40 years in and out of jails, institutions, and halfway houses, turning at various times to alcohol and drugs. In his 50s, he decided to find out what exactly had happened to him, and he began learning about Freeman and looking into his own past. The memoir is written in simple, straightforward language. Dully comes across as a very gentle man who doesn't want to offend anyone; even his descriptions of his sexual escapades are mild and euphemistic. This compelling and tragic story will appeal to fans of Torey Hayden and Dave Pelzer.-Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

At age 12, in 1960, Dully received a transorbital or "ice pick" lobotomy from Dr. Walter Freeman, who invented the procedure, making Dully an unfortunate statistic in medical history-the youngest of the more than 10,000 patients who Freeman lobotomized to cure their supposed mental illness. In this brutally honest memoir, Dully, writing with Fleming (The Ivory Coast), describes how he set out 40 years later to find out why he was lobotomized, since he did not exhibit any signs of mental instability at the time, and why, postoperation, he was bounced between various institutions and then slowly fell into a life of drug and alcohol abuse. His journey-first described in a National Public Radio feature in 2005-finds Dully discovering how deeply he was the victim of an unstable stepmother who systematically abused him and who then convinced his distant father that a lobotomy was the answer to Dully's acting out against her psychic torture. He also investigates the strange career of Freeman-who wasn't a licensed psychiatrist-including early acclaim by the New York Times and cross-country trips hawking the operation from his "Lobotomobile." But what is truly stunning is Dully's description of how he gained strength and a sense of self-worth by understanding how both Freeman and his stepmother were victims of their own family tragedies, and how he managed to somehow forgive them for the wreckage they caused in his life. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"The value of the book is in the indomitable spirit Dully displays throughout his grueling saga." ---Chicago-Sun Times

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