am 26. Juni 2000
I am a psychiatrist who subspecializes in working with patients with dissociative disorders. I read this book several years ago gave my copy to a colleague -- never to see it again. When I tried to replace it, it was out of print. I was crushed.
I loved it the first time and I love it even more this time. The author does such a fine job of using all of his skills to bring out the experience of multiplicity. It is a tremendous contribution to both professionals and the public. Just as in the story there were many people who didn't "believe" in the diagnosis -- even now, over 20 years later, there are still psychiatrists who are saying the same thing. It is a disgrace that people are so ignorant.
I couldn't help wondering at the end of the very sad story, "where is Billy Milligan today?" Dr. David Caul has died -- may he rest in peace. What an incredibly courageous soul he was to accept the challenge of steadfastly standing by Billy against harassment which would have brought almost anyone else down.
This book is so educational that no one should miss it.
am 8. Juni 2000
Written in novel form and substantiated by documented forms, reports, and personal interviews, this true story continues to evidence the author's ability (demonstrated in "Flowers for Algernon") to capture the human character and experience.
The author empathetically portrays the experience of a young man who, as a result of childhood abuse, developed twenty-four different "personalities" to cope with his trauma. Switching personalities in a hard situation gave Billy the opportunity to escape, and so spread out his pain into compartmentalized pieces of himself, allowing him a sort of psychological control over the situation.
Without glossing over the fact that Billy was a rapist and small-time criminal, the author is unabashedly sympathetic with his struggle -- not only with his past trauma but with his inability to gain acceptance in society, which reacts with paranoia to negative publicity about him.
Much of the confusion caused by MPD is caused by the shifting of control from one "personality" to another. This control of the body is almost total, even to the point of changing brain-wave patterns in the individual. These shifts appear to others as sudden, unexplained mood changes accompanied by marked changes in lexical patterns, and often create a loss of memory in the individual about their previous actions.
One of the strongest features of the book is that it details the shifting of control from one "personality" to another, and describes the confusion this causes with other people. However (as opposed to real life), in every situation the book tells the reader which personality is in control of Billy's body. This nearly omniscient view into Billy's mind was accomplished because as a result of professional therapy, Billy's personalities "fused" into one, and the fused Billy was able to access the memories of each personality at once.
Whether you are a skeptic of MPD or not, this book offers a clear insight into the disorder -- not only the internal struggle, but the problems it causes for an individual interacting with society. A compelling, thought-provoking read.
am 10. April 1998
To the "normal", it is mind baffling... How could one man possess 24 different people, within his own mind. One *of the normal* thinks, one brain, one body, one person...but it is possible.
William Stanley Milligan accused of robbing and raping three students from an Ohio university, claimed that "he" did not do it. He was right, in a sense, one of the alters had... This begins a tale of a man, sexually and physically abused, so much so that his mind, at a very young age, had devided into 24 parts. Daniel Keyes has done a supurb job of documenting the life of this man, who very well could have been nothing to anyone, but a criminal, an "undesireable", someone to be thrown into jail, and forgotten. But he was not, unknown to him at the time, he would become excrusionatingly famous for not only his disorder, but for the very handling of his case, life, everything this man did was debated and set many foundations for the handling of the mentally insane and how they were to be dealt with.
This book is very interesting, not only to the typical phsyco-drama reader, but for anyone interested in the laws, the insane, the abused, and the committed, not to mention, those whom are interested even in why people can do the evil they are capible of.
am 31. Juli 1998
To think that Billy went through so much abuse that led to this splintering is mind boggling. I am sure that we are not even aware of all that happened to him that forced his mind to develop this self-protecting mechanism. Even after he was diagnosed, he was again abused by the system that was "supposed" to help him. Great thanks belong to Gary Schweickart and Judy Stevenson, his attorneys, who not only believed in him but defended him at great personal loss. And it was to Billy's advantage to get Dr. Caul, who although had never had any prior experience with multiples, to take the time and great patience that is needed to aid an individual suffering this type of mental health handicap. I can empathize with Billy, as one of my friends suffers from MPS., and it is not easy for her. This is an outstanding story about the conflicts and tribulations that someone suffering with MPS has to face prior to and even after being diagnosed. I wish Billy well in everything! that he does in the future.
am 16. März 2000
Could you believe that I still think about it. It was one of the most incredible books I have ever read. Billy was the victim of horrible abuse in the hands of his stepfather and to escape he took on these different personalities. I hope that Billy has gotten the help that he needed to become a "normal" person. I havent picked up the book since '79 so I dont know if he is still in prison or not, but his story still haunts me to this day. If anyone knows what happened to Billy and has a minute to email me, I would appreciate it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks