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My Lobotomy - A Memoir-logo

My Lobotomy - A Memoir

Howard Dully

More Information

Description:

A gut-wrenching memoir by a man who was lobotomized at the age of twelve. Assisted by journalist/novelist Charles Fleming, Howard Dully recounts a family tragedy whose Sophoclean proportions he could only sketch in his powerful 2005 broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered. "In 1960," he writes, "I was given a transorbital, or 'ice pick' lobotomy. My stepmother arranged it. My father agreed to it. Dr. Walter Freeman, the father of the American lobotomy, told me he was going to do some 'tests.' It took ten minutes and cost two hundred dollars." Fellow doctors called Freeman's technique barbaric: an ice pick-like instrument was inserted about three inches into each eye socket and twirled to sever connections from the frontal lobe to the rest of the brain. The procedure was intended to help curb a variety of psychoses by muting emotional responses, but sometimes it irreversibly reduced patients to a childlike state or (in 15 percent of the operations Freeman performed) killed them outright. Dully's ten-minute "test" did neither, but in some ways it had a far crueler result, since it didn't end the unruly behavior that had set his stepmother against him to begin with. "I spent the next forty years in and out of insane asylums, jails, and halfway houses," he tells us. "I was homeless, alcoholic, and drug-addicted. I was lost." From all accounts, there was no excuse for the lobotomy. Dully had never been "crazy," and his (not very) bad behavior sounds like the typical acting-up of a child in desperate need of affection. His stepmother responded with unrelenting abuse and neglect, and his father allowed her to demonize his son and never admitted his complicity in the lobotomy; Freeman capitalized on their monumental dysfunction. It's a tale of epic horror, and while Dully's courage in telling it inspires awe, listeners are left to speculate about what drove supposedly responsible adults to such unconscionable acts.

Language:

English

Narrators:

Charles Fleming, Johnny Heller

Length:

9h 1m


Chapters

Free Sample

05:00

Introduction
Introduction

03:58


Chapter 1
Chapter 1

32:08


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

32:38


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

37:56


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

16:59


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

31:02


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

35:12


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

37:15


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

24:27


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

26:53


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

32:36


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

35:33


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

40:07


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

22:16


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

30:55


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

54:38


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

38:57


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

08:00


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

00:22