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.
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