Howard Dully My Lobotomy: A Memoir

ISBN 13: 9780091922122

My Lobotomy: A Memoir

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9780091922122: My Lobotomy: A Memoir

At twelve, Howard Dully was guilty of the same crimes as other boys his age: he was moody and messy, rambunctious with his brothers, contrary just to prove a point, and perpetually at odds with his parents. Yet somehow, this normal boy became one of the youngest people on whom Dr. Walter Freeman performed his barbaric transorbital—or ice pick—lobotomy.

Abandoned by his family within a year of the surgery, Howard spent his teen years in mental institutions, his twenties in jail, and his thirties in a bottle. It wasn’t until he was in his forties that Howard began to pull his life together. But even as he began to live the “normal” life he had been denied, Howard struggled with one question: Why?

“October 8, 1960. I gather that Mrs. Dully is perpetually talking, admonishing, correcting, and getting worked up into a spasm, whereas her husband is impatient, explosive, rather brutal, won’t let the boy speak for himself, and calls him numbskull, dimwit, and other uncomplimentary names.”

There were only three people who would know the truth: Freeman, the man who performed the procedure; Lou, his cold and demanding stepmother who brought Howard to the doctor’s attention; and his father, Rodney. Of the three, only Rodney, the man who hadn’t intervened on his son’s behalf, was still living. Time was running out. Stable and happy for the first time in decades, Howard began to search for answers.

“December 3, 1960. Mr. and Mrs. Dully have apparently decided to have Howard operated on. I suggested [they] not tell Howard anything about it.”

Through his research, Howard met other lobotomy patients and their families, talked with one of Freeman’s sons about his father’s controversial life’s work, and confronted Rodney about his complicity. And, in the archive where the doctor’s files are stored, he finally came face to face with the truth.

Revealing what happened to a child no one—not his father, not the medical community, not the state—was willing to protect, My Lobotomy exposes a shameful chapter in the history of the treatment of mental illness. Yet, ultimately, this is a powerful and moving chronicle of the life of one man. Without reticence, Howard Dully shares the story of a painfully dysfunctional childhood, a misspent youth, his struggle to claim the life that was taken from him, and his redemption.
From the Hardcover edition.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

HOWARD DULLY is a tour bus driver who lives happily with his wife in San Jose, California. This is his first book.

CHARLES FLEMING is a former Newsweek correspondent and Vanity Fair contributor and the coauthor of a number of bestselling nonfiction books. He lives in Los Angeles.
From the Hardcover edition.

From AudioFile:

Narrator Johnny Heller portrays a man recounting his distant and incomplete memories of a dysfunctional home with parents who abused him. In the opening chapters he speaks as the young boy, telling what behavior led his parents, in 1960, to have a quack doctor scramble his brain with an ice pick at age 12. Later Hellers sandy, mature voice becomes the teenager describing a troubled life, in and out of institutions and jails. Hellers expression fits the authors sad struggle to grow up after suffering parental and neural damage. He depicts no strong emotion until the last, when he assumes Dullys indignation at the discovery of the lies his stepmother told the surgeon to justify the destruction of his frontal lobes. J.A.H. AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright AudioFile, Portland, Maine

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Dully, Howard
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