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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 fami 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.


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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 fami 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.

30 review for My Lobotomy: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Another Update -- $1.99 special -- if you have NOT read this fast-easy reading -quick read - but this crazy TRUE story --will blow your mind --- gripping! It all happened near where I live. I always wished the the man who wrote it --Howard Dully made some fricken money off this book -- He deserves it! Update: $1.99 Kindle special today. A chilling page-turning TRUE STORY. Took place in my neighborhood. Part in Los Altos Hills --and part just up the street -2 blocks from my house --and 'part' in a Another Update -- $1.99 special -- if you have NOT read this fast-easy reading -quick read - but this crazy TRUE story --will blow your mind --- gripping! It all happened near where I live. I always wished the the man who wrote it --Howard Dully made some fricken money off this book -- He deserves it! Update: $1.99 Kindle special today. A chilling page-turning TRUE STORY. Took place in my neighborhood. Part in Los Altos Hills --and part just up the street -2 blocks from my house --and 'part' in a school -- about 5 miles up on a hill (opened and closed -all in one year) -- etc. etc. etc. This story is amazing!!! Won't take more than 3 or 4 hours to read -because you will have trouble putting it down once you begin reading it. I read this ages ago! (then got to talking about it with another GR's friend the other day). Its chilling -shocking -intriguing! Its sad -Its TRUE - It happened in my neighborhood! A young boy (at the time) was raised by parents who just didn't love him...(at least not his stepmother). His father pretty much agreed to 'whatever'. Dr. Freeman, working downtown Los Altos Hills, California, had invented the 'ice pick' lobotomy, and performed it in his office. Howard Dully was only 12 years old when his parents paid $200 to have it done to him. Howard was never a violent child -he never hurt anyone -he wasn't failing in school. He had no idea what he might have done wrong. For 40 years--he asked himself --'why'? Why did they do it to me? Then...when he was 54 years old (living up the street from where I live for awhile), went looking for the answer. The 'shockers' in this book --as in 'how could this happen' will haunt the reader... but I found even another 'shocker' in this book to be 'almost' --well, as disturbing. Years ago --(this been kept very quiet) --A special school was opened UP on the HILL --(again not far from where I live) -- A school for kids with mental challenges --(co-ed --High School ages)... The school closed its door in one year. Why? .... SHOCKING --almost could not believe the statistics of what took place! By the time I finished this book --(and believe me --I resisted it --as in YUCK --NO WAY) --- until a girlfriend 'handed' it to me and said READ...I was HOPING Howard Dully made some money --in HIS POCKET off this book! I hear authors make so little these days... All I know --is this man was treated so unfair --(and was a decent guy)... I hope life is treating him well. After reading this book --I read a little more about Dr. Freeman --(which is interesting also)! Wow!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    "My name is Howard Dully. I'm a bus driver. I'm a husband, and a father, and a grandfather. I'm into doo-wop music, travel and photography. I'm also a survivor: In 1960, when I was twelve years old, I was given a trans orbital or 'icepick' lobotomy. My stepmother arranged it. My father agreed to it. Dr. Walter Freeman, the father of American lobotomy, told me he was going to do some 'tests'. It took ten minutes and cost two hundred dollars. The surgery damaged me in many ways...." There are eve "My name is Howard Dully. I'm a bus driver. I'm a husband, and a father, and a grandfather. I'm into doo-wop music, travel and photography. I'm also a survivor: In 1960, when I was twelve years old, I was given a trans orbital or 'icepick' lobotomy. My stepmother arranged it. My father agreed to it. Dr. Walter Freeman, the father of American lobotomy, told me he was going to do some 'tests'. It took ten minutes and cost two hundred dollars. The surgery damaged me in many ways...." There are events that occur over the course of a lifetime in which people, upon reflection, describe as life-altering. In this memoir, 'My Lobotomy', Howard Dully (with the assistance of journalist Charles Fleming), describes such an event. In 1960, when Howard was 12-years-old, he was taken to a California hospital by his stepmother Lou and his father Rodney Dully and was given an 'icepick' lobotomy by Dr. Walter Freeman. To attempt to fully describe the impact this dubious procedure had on his life, Howard explains how the procedure was done and the reason the procedure was, for a time, a 'popular' one in treating a variety of psychoses which were not understood or considered treatable by any other means. In Howard's case, in particular, an icepick-like instrument was inserted about three inches into each of his eye sockets and was twirled around, cutting connections between his frontal lobe and the rest of his brain. Howard makes the point a number of times throughout the book that he has no memory of the lobotomy. Rather, he has relied on the memories of family members and the case notes and records of Dr.Freeman.. records which he had been given access to at George Washington University. It is Dr. Freeman's notes which provide a shocking description of what Howard experienced the day of his lobotomy. To sedate patients in preparation for lobotomies, Dr. Freeman administered electroshock. In his notes regarding Howard, he wrote.... "Howard came around quickly after the first shock. I eventually gave him four, after which he was quite slow in recovering. I think it was one more than necessary....". His notes regarding Howard's lobotomy and the hours immediately following the procedure describe.... ".. there was an escape of a small amount of blood-stained fluid from each eye socket.... He had a considerable amount of vomiting during the night and I prescribed 50mg Dramamine for its control. He resisted efforts to get his eyes open and complained about the needles that were being given him. His temperature, pulse and respiration were quite normal." Although Dr. Freeman described Howard's vital signs as 'normal', Howard's life became far from normal and he would spend the next 40 years trying to piece together what had happened to him and why it had happened, with he hope that that obtaining this information would help him build a happier and productive life. So why DID Rodney and Lou Dully decide to have Howard lobotomized at the age of 12? Had Howard been suffering from mental illness? And what were the consequences of the lobotomy on the remainder of Howard's childhood and young adulthood? In this memoir, Howard attempts to provide answers to these questions. He attempts to reconstruct the chronology of his life ... from what he, himself, remembers and from what he has been told by people who have known him at various stages of his life. As you might imagine, attempting to reconstruct your life through the recollections of other people would not be a fully satisfying experience. You wouldn't be able to FEEL any of the emotions that correspond with these recollections. And I have to admit that this distance that Howard experienced also transferred to my own experience of reading his story. There were times while reading this book that I felt emotionally disconnected from the events he was describing, mainly because he didn't seem to be attaching any particular emotion to the events either. Having said that, I still found this book difficult to read. Although Howard seems to have made peace with what had happened to him and has built a happy life with his wife, their sons and grandchildren, I couldn't help but feel outraged on his behalf. His life story and experiences illustrate all too well the awful reality that families AND society often fail to protect our most vulnerable people. From all the information that Howard was able to gather, it was clear that he had never been mentally ill; nor had he been engaged in such problematic behaviors as a child to have warranted a lobotomy, Howard, whose mother had died when he was just 5 years-old, lived with his father Rodney and younger brother in a kind of nomad-like existence until Rodney met and married his second wife Lou, who also had a sin from a previous marriage. The reasons aren't clear but from the beginning, Lou seemed to have taken an intense dislike to Howard and she never attempted to keep her feelings secret.. not from Howard or the rest of the family. She frequently singled Howard out for punishment for behaviors which didn't seem all that unusual to me... behaviors such as failing to clean up after himself, complaining about his bedtime, and not being attentive in the classroom at school. Howard writes of constant beatings and verbal abuse. And Howard's father was cold and distant; and given that he worked 4 jobs, he was not available to provide emotional support, even if he HAD been willing. Using Dr. Freeman's case notes and his own scattered memories, Howard discovered that Lou began visiting psychiatrists, telling them that Howard was out of control and that she was afraid to have him living in the family home. Over and over, the psychiatrists came to the conclusion that Howard was not emotionally troubled and did not display signs of mental illness. Rather his behaviors were consistent with other pre-adolescent boys his age. Lou didn't give up, however. Instead she obtained an appointment with Dr. Walter Freeman and although Freeman seemed to initially agree with his colleagues' opinions, his case notes demonstrate that after repeated consultations with Lou and finally, Rodney, he proposed that Howard was schizophrenic and his behavior might improve if treated with a prefrontal lobotomy. He proposed that a lobotomy might make Howard more docile and manageable and less argumentative and disruptive to the household. Howard discovered many years later when examining Freeman's notes just how far Lou had been willing to go and how easily persuaded his father had been to give permission for the procedure. Freeman had written.... ".. things have gotten much worse and she (Lou) can barely endure it." Freeman also wrote that Howard was tormenting the family dog, sticking pins in his little brother and suffering from delusional ideas that everyone was against him. Lou also told Dr. Freeman that Howard had been stealing things, breaking into homes along his paper route and that he had to be kept separated from his brothers to "avoid something serious happening". Howard's lobotomy and subsequent personality changes did not satisfy his stepmother. She reported to Dr. Freeman that the procedure had NOT turned Howard into a 'vegetable' as she had expected and she wanted him removed from the family home. Rodney Dully was given an ultimatum: remove Howard from the home or Lou would divorce him. Rodney chose to remove Howard from the home and turned him over to the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall in 1963. Because Howard hadn't been charged with a crime, they couldn't legally hold him in detention and since he hadn't been declared psychotic, he also couldn't be admitted to the state hospital for the 'mentally insane'. An assessment written by a psychiatrist for the Juvenile Probation Department interestingly provides a more insightful look at what had been transpiring in Howard's life and the Dully family home.... "The stepmother has always seen him as a problem and not nearly as good as her own son. In the home at this time, he is always looked on with skepticism and is never allowed to be alone with his younger brothers. Neither parent feels they can trust him... In the best interest of Howard, he should be removed from his home in that his stepmother seems determined to destroy him." Howard was sent to Napa State Hospital, an institution for children with mental and cognitive difficulties and delays. Although Howard was occasionally visited by his father, he would never again return to his family home. He spent the remainder of his childhood in state institutions and although his maternal grandmother expressed interest in adopting him, Rodney Dully refused to allow him to be adopted. After being released from the state institution, Howard spent the next 20 years wondering why his life had taken such a turn. Had he done something so terrible that he simply had no memory of? Why had his father allowed this to happen? Why did Lou dislike him so much? Howard's questions were heartbreaking but unfortunately he wouldn't find any of the answers for many years. When he was finally released from the institution, Howard set out to build a life for himself but without guidance, support or even basic life skills knowledge, he son found his life out of control. He drank heavily, abused drugs, had trouble with police and drifted from one bad romantic relationship to the next. His last relationship, which resulted in fatherhood, was characterized by jealousy and incidences of violence. Howard knew he had to make a change but his impulsivity seemed to get in the way of his making better decisions. Finally, he met Barbara... the woman he would marry and whom he credits with inspiring big changes in his life. It was Barbara, the newfound stability in his life and a heart attack which he suffered around his 50th birthday which brought back all the old questions he had pushed away regarding his lobotomy and his family's betrayal. Perhaps by chance (or was it fate?), Howard heard of a documentary being developed for NPR about Dr. Walter Freeman. He contacted the documentarian, whose name was David Isay. It was through Howard's involvement in the making of this documentary.. which ultimately aired on NPR's 'All Things Considered' in 2005... that he obtained permission to access Dr. Freeman's notes and records and where he discovered, written in the doctor's own hand, many of the answers he had been searching for for so many years. Of course, this book was inspiring to read. Howard Dully overcame huge obstacles to build a productive and happy life for himself and that IS uplifting. But I admit that I couldn't help but 'hear' the 12-year-old Howard's bewilderment and unfathomable pain behind every word that he wrote. Despite Howard's apparent resilience, I couldn't help but be reminded of the many vulnerable people trying to cope with mental illness and finding so little societal support available to them. This book WAS compelling and was not only about one man's personal experiences but was also a fascinating and troubling (if abbreviated) history of mental illness, the dubious treatments and the institutionalization of the mentally ill in our society. Although lobotomies are rarely done these days (and apparently are NEVER done using icepick-like tools), they remain a controversial 'treatment'. Some patients and their families are adamant that lobotomies changed their lives or loved ones lives for the better; while others (like Howard Dully) believe the procedure brought only damage and pain. One thing seems clear: society seems to have little understanding (or perhaps little WILL) as to how people with mental illness should be cared for. We need to do better.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    I read this book carefully as my grandfather had bi-polar disease (or manic-depression as it was called then) and regular electric shock treatments and was recommended a lobotomy. I could not for the life of me see what difference a lobotomy made to the author. He suffered not a single one of the complications of the operation and it was only his shame at having been lobotomized that affected his life. He made it the centre of his life when it was really not the issue at all. The issue was the ex I read this book carefully as my grandfather had bi-polar disease (or manic-depression as it was called then) and regular electric shock treatments and was recommended a lobotomy. I could not for the life of me see what difference a lobotomy made to the author. He suffered not a single one of the complications of the operation and it was only his shame at having been lobotomized that affected his life. He made it the centre of his life when it was really not the issue at all. The issue was the extreme child abuse, of which the lobotomy was part, handed out by his stepmother, a classic wicked stepmother for true. The stereotype of Snow White's murderous stepmother, the abusive stepmothers of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, even Imogen's stepmother in Shakespeare's Cymbeline are all brought to life in the person of the second Mrs. Dully and her hateful, enabling husband, Dully's (un)natural father. I understand Mr. Dully. At 14 I was taken to Wales' only 3-star Michelin restaurant for my first dinner alone with my father. I was grown-up! This was wonderful. Not. Although he was still quite young my father had had several heart attacks - it ran through the men in the family and would eventually kill him - and he told me over dinner that my behaviour towards my mother was causing his heart attacks and that if he died, it would be my fault. He said that my mother was his wife, the woman he had chosen to marry and I was only the daughter born to them and if he had to choose, he would choose her. So, in the same way that my father enabled my mother to abuse me in every which way and even joined in when requested, so did Dully approve of his wife's awful treatment of his son. He took scarcely 48 hours to approve a pre-frontal lobotomy performed through his son's eye socket with an ice pick. It wasn't the ice pick that did the damage it was Dully and his chosen bride. Howard Dully acknowledges that his stepmother was the author of his problems, that without her he would probably have been a normal kid, teenager and adult, but he doesn't blame her for all his shortcomings, he blames the lobotomy instead. His reconciliation with his weak father is that of a little boy wanting to be kissed and hugged and made to feel loved and wanted, but the father, that cold and unnatural man, cannot bring himself to even give his son that, not even a simple hug and kiss and 'I've always loved you my son', he's still with his evil bride in the spirit if not in the flesh. Howard had no confidence in himself, he felt himself to be the lowest of the low and acted this out for most of his life. It is only when he is valued for his first-hand knowledge of lobotomy, his articulate intelligence and beautiful speaking voice that he recovers and, at last, begins to live the life of a successful man, successful in all ways. You can't recover from a lobotomy, but you can recover from the damage of abuse and he did recover and I'm glad of that, I like my stories, fairy tales or anything else, to have happy endings. Good luck for the future, Mr. Dully.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julene

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book annoyed me from the beginning. It's the literary equivalent of The Da Vinci Code. While I realize that lobotomy is not an accepted form of psychiatric treatment today, back when Howard was growing up and exhibiting a large number of red flags concerning his state of mind - from failing in school, to doing drugs, to robbing places, his inability to connect with any other people and generally refusing to take any responsibility for his own actions, I can completely understand why the lob This book annoyed me from the beginning. It's the literary equivalent of The Da Vinci Code. While I realize that lobotomy is not an accepted form of psychiatric treatment today, back when Howard was growing up and exhibiting a large number of red flags concerning his state of mind - from failing in school, to doing drugs, to robbing places, his inability to connect with any other people and generally refusing to take any responsibility for his own actions, I can completely understand why the lobotomy happened to him especially with his stepmother lobbying for help to anyone who would listen. I just couldn't stand how he proves himself as a huge, whiny victim the entire time and then, finally, at the end decides that what really needs to happen in someone's life is that they take responsibility for it. No doubt. Too bad he couldn't have learned that lesson 40 years earlier and stopped me from having to be bored to death with his "poor me, I'm a victim" book. Plus, it's very convenient that he never remembers the bad things that he has done (even though they are part of the public record), but remembers every single little horrible thing that anyone else has ever done to him. My feelings don't have anything to do with whether or not a lobotomy should have been performed on him, because that is quite drastic, but we are talking about a long, long time ago and the standards for care were completely different.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Modern Hermeneut

    It's appropriate that one of this book's most salient elements is what it lacks: any discussion of the neurophysiology of behavior. This absence is refreshing but also surprising. With the recent flood of neuro-literature on the shelves today, one expects a book about lobotomy to review (and presumably critique) the current research on brain function. But Dully eschews this scientific (or scientistic) territory, favoring the more engaging human interest elements of his story (the malevolent step It's appropriate that one of this book's most salient elements is what it lacks: any discussion of the neurophysiology of behavior. This absence is refreshing but also surprising. With the recent flood of neuro-literature on the shelves today, one expects a book about lobotomy to review (and presumably critique) the current research on brain function. But Dully eschews this scientific (or scientistic) territory, favoring the more engaging human interest elements of his story (the malevolent stepmother, the beleagured and unavailable father, etc...). The result is a book that reads more like a standard (if we can use that word) memoir of child abuse than an outlandish story of mental incapacity. This makes the whole thing more banal, but it also makes it more relatable and, therefore, more tragic. One of the book's most satisfying maneuvers is that it draws tragic parallels between the life of the author and that of Freeman, the man who performed the titular operation. The take-home lesson (or one of them, at any rate) is that we are, one and all, damaged creatures, and we too often allow ourselves to become instruments for damaging others. Lobotomy is only one grotesquely literal expression of this all-too-human cycle.

  6. 4 out of 5

    West

    I was terribly intrigued by what a lobotomy was and... once I found that out, I was horrified that our society would ALLOW it to be done to anyone, much less a twelve-year old little boy. But this book wasn't as entrancing for me as I'd hoped it would be. A big fan of memoirs, I love reading about others, discovering what makes them tick. As sad as Howard Dully's story was, the writing style wasn't tight enough to satisfy. A LOT of repetition throughout--the same facts presented to the reader ove I was terribly intrigued by what a lobotomy was and... once I found that out, I was horrified that our society would ALLOW it to be done to anyone, much less a twelve-year old little boy. But this book wasn't as entrancing for me as I'd hoped it would be. A big fan of memoirs, I love reading about others, discovering what makes them tick. As sad as Howard Dully's story was, the writing style wasn't tight enough to satisfy. A LOT of repetition throughout--the same facts presented to the reader over and over--in an attempt to convince that his stepmother truly did have it out for him from the beginning. Yes, I can tell she's a nasty bitch pretty early on. But it seems, throughout the book, that the author can't get past her ill intentions and must CONSTANTLY revisit (and revisit) the specific things she said and did on particular dates in a tiring effort to prove to the reader that it was all very unfair and unloving, and that he is entitled to feel pissed off about it all. Yes, I READ what the author said she did on pages X, Y, and Z! I remember it, know it was lousy, and need him to get on with what happened NEXT! After moving past the sad details and recalling of childhood events, Dully grows up and, predictably, pretty much becomes a slacker, living a government "funded" flop-house lifestyle and boring me with predictable accounts of promiscuity, theft, jail, homelessness, and so-on. It could have meant so much more had Dully fought the odds earlier on and done something constructive with his life decisions to come out on top. But that takes about forty year's more worth of pages or so to happen. Dully is, even today in his 50s, still feeling very much a victim of his childhood, understandably so. He says that he is now able to accept that he is a person who likes himself, regardless of if others can or will give him the approval he has always wanted... but this is a sad statement that is not supported by his 288 pages of text. Part of me feels I should give the guy a break: the book was written by a 50-something bus-driver who had a lobotomy! But part of me feels what he delivered about his life, how it all happened, and how he responded was kind of predictable, despite the amazing circumstances. And I can't help but think there is at least something the tiniest bit valid in his father's attitude now: that it doesn't do one any good to go out and roll around in the manure (to keep bringing up bad things that happened to us in the past) ~ it only brings you down and there is nothing you can do to change what happened. Whether or not his father finally tells Dully of his love and regret (no spoiler here!), no one should actively seek out (or live in) negative energy. This was an OK book, and I do want to hear the NPR radio show about Dully's experience. So, for me, it was a worthwhile read--chilling--but not a gripping, satisfying page-turner that I so enjoy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    My Lobotomy is one of the most shockingly intense books I've ever read. The true story of a young man whose entire personality and state of being was compromised by a barbaric surgical procedure, this book really teaches that age-old phrase, "if we don't learn from the past, we'll be doomed to repeat it".

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    Heartbreaking and inspiring. The story of a man who survived being lobotomized at the age of 12. What people do to other people in the name of mental health amazes me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    misha

    Yet another book that makes you just want to find a kid to hug. The most heartbreaking part of his story is how no one ever spoke to him, when what he really needed was someone to step in and take him out of a really shitty family situation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Johanna

    “He poked these knitting needles into my skull, through my eye sockets, and then swirled them around until he felt he had scrambled things up enough” (97). December 15, 1960, at 12 years old, Howard Dully’s life changed forever. On November 30, 1948, Howard was born to Rodney and June Dully. Two more brothers followed, Brian and Bruce. Bruce, the third child, was born brain-damaged. June had been ill and 12 days after Bruce’s birth, died, never leaving the hospital. Colon cancer, undiagnosed until “He poked these knitting needles into my skull, through my eye sockets, and then swirled them around until he felt he had scrambled things up enough” (97). December 15, 1960, at 12 years old, Howard Dully’s life changed forever. On November 30, 1948, Howard was born to Rodney and June Dully. Two more brothers followed, Brian and Bruce. Bruce, the third child, was born brain-damaged. June had been ill and 12 days after Bruce’s birth, died, never leaving the hospital. Colon cancer, undiagnosed until after death, had grown unchecked within her. Howard and Brian were without a mother. Bruce would never live with them. Four-year-old Howard Dully was told his mother would never come home again; she was gone. Enter Lou in 1955 with her sons, Cleon and George. Howard writes, “All I knew is one day she wasn’t there, and the next day she was” (18). Known for her temper, Lou became the deciding factor leading up to the day Howard’s life changed. On December 15, 1960, psychiatrist Walter Freeman poked ice-picks into Howard’s eye sockets, performing a transorbital lobotomy. Lou had issues with Howard; she made it quite clear she wanted him out of the picture. Lou shipped him off to stay with close friends, complained frequently to his father, Rodney, about Howard’s behavior, and finally took him to six psychiatrists to find out what was wrong and how to fix him. The psychiatrists said, “Howard’s behavior was normal” (59). Then Lou met Walter Freeman. After the lobotomy, Howard was bounced around from psychiatric institutions to boarding schools, but never, permanently, to live with his brothers, father, and stepmother again. After the lobotomy, after being in the system, Howard wants to know why this happened to him. Why did he become one of Freeman’s youngest patients when six psychiatrists said that he was normal? My Lobotomy is a careful step back for Howard on a subject that he has never discussed freely until now. He writes and researches to find out “why” he deserved such an operation as a transorbital lobotomy and what happened to Freeman’s other patients. “I’ve always felt different — wondered if something’s missing from my soul.” — Howard Dully, NPR I highly recommend My Lobotomy: a Memoir, a mentally painful book which made me question how Freeman was allowed to perform such an invasive, horrible, mind-altering procedure, the transorbital lobotomy, so long unchecked. For more information about the book and Howard Dully’s journey into his past, visit National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” for “My Lobotomy : Howard Dully’s Journey” at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Howard Dully' memoir recounts in great detail and candor his struggle to discover why he was lobotomized at age 12. Although I certainly felt for him and appreciated the enormity of his struggle to find truth and closure, I do wish I had come away from the book with a deeper understanding of the effect the actual procedure had on him. I understood that much of the trouble he had in his later life had to do with the fact of the awful betrayal his parents committed in allowing this to be done to h Howard Dully' memoir recounts in great detail and candor his struggle to discover why he was lobotomized at age 12. Although I certainly felt for him and appreciated the enormity of his struggle to find truth and closure, I do wish I had come away from the book with a deeper understanding of the effect the actual procedure had on him. I understood that much of the trouble he had in his later life had to do with the fact of the awful betrayal his parents committed in allowing this to be done to him, and alsoin large part to their subsequent abandonment of Howard to various institutions and ofster homes - but I didn't understand how the procedure itself made him feel, whether it dulled his emotions, made him forgetful, or anything else? I didn't understand what his level of functionality was after the lobotomy versus before. Still, a brave and fascinating account.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Wow. What an amazing story. Rarely do books truly bring a tear to my eye, but anyone who is not moved by what this guy endured is surely bereft of a soul. I had heard of Walter Freeman, the doctor who popularised the use of the transorbital lobotomy, but reading the experiences and feelings of someone who'd been on the other end of the ice-pick is entirely different. Howard Dully was essentially loathed by his step-mother. She seems to have wanted rid of him, one way or another. Bewilderingly, How Wow. What an amazing story. Rarely do books truly bring a tear to my eye, but anyone who is not moved by what this guy endured is surely bereft of a soul. I had heard of Walter Freeman, the doctor who popularised the use of the transorbital lobotomy, but reading the experiences and feelings of someone who'd been on the other end of the ice-pick is entirely different. Howard Dully was essentially loathed by his step-mother. She seems to have wanted rid of him, one way or another. Bewilderingly, Howard's father and any number of medical professionals, and other adults who should have been in positions of responsibility, allowed Freeman (who was neither a trained surgeon or psychiatrist), to poke an ice-pick into the brain of a 12-year-old boy and jiggle it around a bit. Unsurprisingly, this pretty much screwed up Howard's chances at leading a normal life. Although not intellectually impaired, since Howard was not a child offender or mentally ill, the authorities didn't know what to do with him, leading him to eventually lead a chaotic and eventually criminal lifestyle. Having reached middle-age, and to a great extent straightened his life out, educating himself, finding decent jobs and taking care of his family, Howard decided he needed some answers about what exactly was done to him and why it was allowed to happen. This book is his account of that journey, one that is in equal parts moving, fascinating and unforgettable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Okay with a title like this, how could I not read it? A 12 year old given a lobotomy in 1960. He was made a ward of the state, instutionalized, jailed, etc. All of this because his stepmother basically didn't like him. Mr. Dully should be a bitter, hateful man but he isn't. He realizes there is nothing he could have done to change matters - he was only 12. Sadly, it wasn't him that needed the lobotomy but his stepmother. This is a true life story and has, not a happy ending, but an ending with s Okay with a title like this, how could I not read it? A 12 year old given a lobotomy in 1960. He was made a ward of the state, instutionalized, jailed, etc. All of this because his stepmother basically didn't like him. Mr. Dully should be a bitter, hateful man but he isn't. He realizes there is nothing he could have done to change matters - he was only 12. Sadly, it wasn't him that needed the lobotomy but his stepmother. This is a true life story and has, not a happy ending, but an ending with some closure. Howard is no longer the victim but is a "normal" man.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    I picked this up after watching a documentary about Dr. Freeman, the man who streamlined the lobotomy... you can watch in full here. The book itself was more of a testament to the consequences of abuse and neglect, rather than the actual lobotomy. A quick, engaging read that detailed Dully's life, before and after the procedure. I missed out on the NPR program when it first aired and became the catalyst for the memoir... but you can listen to it here. I picked this up after watching a documentary about Dr. Freeman, the man who streamlined the lobotomy... you can watch in full here. The book itself was more of a testament to the consequences of abuse and neglect, rather than the actual lobotomy. A quick, engaging read that detailed Dully's life, before and after the procedure. I missed out on the NPR program when it first aired and became the catalyst for the memoir... but you can listen to it here.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    I had high hopes for this book, but the writer's inexperienced, stilted writing style made it a chore to read. His story had the potential to be a gripping look at the ramifications of this bizarre and once-common procedure of psychological medicine. I wish the author would have put his remarkable story in the hands of a more professional writer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    2.5 stars, geez I really felt bad for him as a kid. Between the horrible stepmother and not very supportive dad, I'm surprised he came out ok.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This was an interesting read and one that kept my attention well, but the recurrent theme in my mind while I was reading it was...someone just let this happen? It was not so much that he was given a lobotomy, or even given a lobotomy at an early age (12), but it was that so many times the people that should have cared enough about him, well, didn't. Take it a little further and it's not so much they didn't care about him and neglected his well being in life, but that they were too worried about This was an interesting read and one that kept my attention well, but the recurrent theme in my mind while I was reading it was...someone just let this happen? It was not so much that he was given a lobotomy, or even given a lobotomy at an early age (12), but it was that so many times the people that should have cared enough about him, well, didn't. Take it a little further and it's not so much they didn't care about him and neglected his well being in life, but that they were too worried about what other people thought to let him get the help, education and the love he needed from someone else. They found it too expensive to keep him in a group home so he goes to juvenile hall, and when juvie couldn't keep him they get him committed to an adult asylum when he's jr. high/high school age and leave him there? Very good and interesting read, I just wish that it at time had been better written. Then I remind myself...not only has he had a lobotomy, but he barely got any decent formal education afterward as a child.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ilene

    This is an incredible memoir. This is a story of a man who received an "ice pick" lobotomy at age 12, and how it affected the rest of his life. It taught me a lot about the resiliency of the human spirit and forgiveness. All I can say is this is an amazing story about an tremendous human being. The physician, Dr. Freeman, who performed thousands of these lobotomies should have a special place in hell for the lives he devastated. Amazingly, the author, Howard Dully, holds no grudges and is even u This is an incredible memoir. This is a story of a man who received an "ice pick" lobotomy at age 12, and how it affected the rest of his life. It taught me a lot about the resiliency of the human spirit and forgiveness. All I can say is this is an amazing story about an tremendous human being. The physician, Dr. Freeman, who performed thousands of these lobotomies should have a special place in hell for the lives he devastated. Amazingly, the author, Howard Dully, holds no grudges and is even understanding as to why people did what they did. I read the paperback edition which has an added chapter that shows his resolution and coming to peace with the horrible people who harmed him so badly. I highly recommend this book to anyone--especially those who are sometimes skeptical of the "medical establishment", and the "systems" that are supposed to protect our children. This book is hard to put down, it's a page turner.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    I admit that at times this was a bit of a slog. It's a bit repetitive and there's lots of drinking, carousing, etc that gets a bit tedious at times. However, this is an important story to tell. I'm surprised and a bit outraged that the cracks in the system are so wide that it allowed this to happen to anyone, never mind a 12 year old child. Truth be told, as the story is written, Howard comes across as a problem child. It's never really clear whether a fair and kind hand would have helped guide I admit that at times this was a bit of a slog. It's a bit repetitive and there's lots of drinking, carousing, etc that gets a bit tedious at times. However, this is an important story to tell. I'm surprised and a bit outraged that the cracks in the system are so wide that it allowed this to happen to anyone, never mind a 12 year old child. Truth be told, as the story is written, Howard comes across as a problem child. It's never really clear whether a fair and kind hand would have helped guide him because he never gets that. With guidance, he could have learned to curb his actions. Other than that, he sounds like a normal child....not one that needs a lobotomy or to be locked up. It's such a shame that this child didn't have an advocate, an ally and a guiding influence. The lobotomy was an outrage. It's never clear exactly how the lobotomy affected his actions, personality or abilities. There is a mention of the damage done but the influences of this damage were not specific. Howard had his difficulties but they seemed behavioural, both before and after the lobotomy. There's no clear indication of how the procedure changed his personality, except the short time right after when he's "foggy". That said, the procedure plagued this child as he grew. It made him different. It made him unsure of himself, his worth, his identity. It also gave him an excuse to use for bad behaviour. What he needed was an understanding, guiding influence who explained Life and helped him face what happened and move on. Good news is that Howard himself had the courage to face himself and to use his courage to put the past behind him, to find peace and to find a niche and good life for himself. The man has courage. I'm glad he found his way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen Atwood

    Howard Dully read his own autobiography. It was a heartbreaking story about a child who likely had ADHD subjected to a “wicked” step mother and an indifferent and highly manipulated father. It’s amazing to me how long Dr Friedman was able to use unsuspecting children and adults in his experimental lobotomies. Probably 3.5 stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    The author tells how he was lobotomized when he was 12 years old. The story is really heart wrenching. As a kid, the author was beaten by his dad and stepmother as a means of punishment. His dad worked two (and sometimes three or four) jobs and was seldom around. When he was around, he was distant and abusive. The author was just five when his mother died and still a little kid when his dad remarried. His stepmother also beat him and belittled and berated him. He could literally do nothing right. The author tells how he was lobotomized when he was 12 years old. The story is really heart wrenching. As a kid, the author was beaten by his dad and stepmother as a means of punishment. His dad worked two (and sometimes three or four) jobs and was seldom around. When he was around, he was distant and abusive. The author was just five when his mother died and still a little kid when his dad remarried. His stepmother also beat him and belittled and berated him. He could literally do nothing right. His brothers and stepbrothers were not treated so badly, and he knew he was treated unfairly as the scapegoat. Somehow, when he was twelve, his stepmother convinced the doctor who popularized prefrontal lobotomies to perform one on this kid. What happened to this guy is really an outrage, but despite his early life, he seems like a nice guy who finally, in his 50s, got his life together. This book is both disturbing and inspiring.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    Happened to watch WXXI a show on Dr. Freeman, THE doctor of lobotomies. A small segment featured Howard Dully, one of Dr. Freeman's youngest subjects. The next day at the library I spotted this book and knew I had to read it. I was struck by a system that allowed Howard to float from asylums, detention centers and prison, with no real plan. He was told more than once that he didn't belong where he was being detained. And yet he stayed where he was. Worse than a prison sentence in a sense because Happened to watch WXXI a show on Dr. Freeman, THE doctor of lobotomies. A small segment featured Howard Dully, one of Dr. Freeman's youngest subjects. The next day at the library I spotted this book and knew I had to read it. I was struck by a system that allowed Howard to float from asylums, detention centers and prison, with no real plan. He was told more than once that he didn't belong where he was being detained. And yet he stayed where he was. Worse than a prison sentence in a sense because he had no idea when his "sentence" would be up. He starts to look for reasons his life took the path it did some twenty years later. He is very generous in his ability to forgive those closest to him; the step mother who wanted to fix him or get rid of him, the father who passively let surgery and commitment happen. That is probably what impressed me most about his story.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina Rutter

    It's been a while since a book had me hooked the way this one did from page one. I couldn't believe that someone would do this to their perfectly healthy child! It's a complete miracle that this man is alive and well today. I could understand if someone was sold this procedure by a doctor because they had an extremely mentally challenged child and they thought it would cure their child or something, but to take a young boy with a healthy brain and have this done to him is gruesome and outrageous It's been a while since a book had me hooked the way this one did from page one. I couldn't believe that someone would do this to their perfectly healthy child! It's a complete miracle that this man is alive and well today. I could understand if someone was sold this procedure by a doctor because they had an extremely mentally challenged child and they thought it would cure their child or something, but to take a young boy with a healthy brain and have this done to him is gruesome and outrageous! In my opinion you just don't go messing with the brain unless it's because you're in a life or death situation. Well if you want to read about someone who had their brain stirred like scrambled eggs and lived to tell the tale this is it! Be prepared for it to get you right in the feels though.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This book was hard to read in the beginning, not because of how it was written but because I was horrified at what was happening in his life. About the middle of the book I was totally pulled in and couldn't put it down. If you do read this make sure you get the paperback edition. It has a chapter/afterword that is not in the hardback edition that is very interesting and I think a must for the completion of this story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    A memoir, although sadly ghost written, but never-the-less not a bad read. Howard Dullys Mother dies when he is 5 and he is never really told what has happened to her. His father then remarries which is where the real trouble begins. Howard's Father Rodney marries a woman called Lou, Lou for whatever reason, really does not take to Howard. He becomes the focus of her rage and anger, she singles him out for the worst treatment of all the children, his own brothers and her own two boys. She cannot A memoir, although sadly ghost written, but never-the-less not a bad read. Howard Dullys Mother dies when he is 5 and he is never really told what has happened to her. His father then remarries which is where the real trouble begins. Howard's Father Rodney marries a woman called Lou, Lou for whatever reason, really does not take to Howard. He becomes the focus of her rage and anger, she singles him out for the worst treatment of all the children, his own brothers and her own two boys. She cannot stand him and he is labeled difficult, dirty, useless, lazy and stupid. Rodney does nothing to protect his son, he avoids facing up to the problems of his life by working, he works full-time as a teacher and also has four other part-time jobs. It seems he will do anything to avoid being at home. When he does get involved it's to met out his own punishment and frustrations, beating Howard with wood planks, both parents seem to think the only way to straighten him out is to punish him viciously. Howard becomes the bad boy they want him to be, he finds school hard despite being a fairly bright student, he is terribly lonely and sad, he is burdened with unexpressed grief for the loss of his mother. Lou takes Howard to psychiatrist after psychiatrist, but they will only confirm what she doesn't want to hear, the boy just needs to be loved and he is reacting to an unloving and unfair home life. Eventually Lou finds someone who will listen, his name is Dr Freeman, although Freeman seems to understand that Howard's home life is mostly to blame, he is keen to extend the use of his new technique for dealing with mental anguish, the lobotomy. The lobotomy is a pretty random treatment, and it is shocking how Freeman was let loose to use this procedure which often killed the very people he was trying to help. Freeman seems to be a bit of a tortured soul himself and becomes so obsessed with the idea of being admired and famed for his discovery he is completely blind to the dangers and damage that he is causing. He develops a new technique called the transorbital lobotomy. Using an ice pick like instrument he stabs the patient repeatedly behind the eye sockets, targeting the frontal lobe region of the brain. He then twirls the instruments, litterally mushing up the brain, there doesn't seem to be any kind of precision or skill to this. Some patients improved but were not the same person, some hemorrhaged to death, some became like children, some vegetables, it was a game of Russian roulette. He seemed to jump at the chance to perform this operation on Howard, Howard Dully was only 12 years old when this took place. No one stopped this, no one stood up for Howard, not even his Father who obviously was not comfortable with it, but could not stand up to his own wife and protect his son. Howard survived, but the rest of his adolescences and adult life were difficult. It did not make him become the compliant vegetable that Lou wanted, he was still a problem, and was shifted through various institutions he did not belong in, special needs homes, juvenile hall, and finally an mental asylum. He was a problem that would not go away, he was not welcome home, Howard was lost. His adulthood was dominated by drug and alcohol abuse, he could not hold down a job or take responsibility for himself. It was a long time before Howard finally began to pull things together and try to go back and find out what had happened to him and why. Did he do something wrong? Was he that bad? Howard seemed to blame himself, what other conclusion could he come to. Part of the healing process for him was the making of a radio programme. A radio producer made him the centre of an entire documentary programme about the lobotomy. It was through this programme that he met other victims and found out more about his circumstances, he got to read his files and see actual photographs of him during his lobotomy. The saddest part of this journey was at the end, he had to interview his own father, Howard is so honest and at the age of 50, he still desperately wants his fathers love, it is heartbreaking. Rodney cannot show his feelings to anyone and certainly not his own son. When asked direct questions about why he allowed this to happen, why he consented, he avoids and diverts off the subject and blames Lou completely. Even when Howard tells him that he loves him, he seems self conscious and unable to just say, I love you too son, he cannot even hug his son although he claims that he does not hold Howard's past against him now. Howard is magnanimous in his acceptance of his fathers limits and even Lou's because of their own trouble childhoods, he wanted them to love him but they could not. It is hard to tell what caused Howard's difficulties as an adult trying to live, was it the lobotomy? Or was it the terrible abuse he suffered at the hands of a vicious stepmother and an unloving father.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hank Hoeft

    In November of 2005, I heard on National Public Radio an extraordinary 22-minute documentary about a man who, as a twelve-year old boy, was subjected to a transorbital lobotomy in December, 1960. There were several aspects about this story that struck me as remarkable. First of all, before the procedure, Howard Dully was a perfectly normal, rambunctious twelve-year old boy; he had no mental problems whatsoever (except maybe today he might well be diagnosed with mild Attention Deficit Disorder); In November of 2005, I heard on National Public Radio an extraordinary 22-minute documentary about a man who, as a twelve-year old boy, was subjected to a transorbital lobotomy in December, 1960. There were several aspects about this story that struck me as remarkable. First of all, before the procedure, Howard Dully was a perfectly normal, rambunctious twelve-year old boy; he had no mental problems whatsoever (except maybe today he might well be diagnosed with mild Attention Deficit Disorder); his parents had him lobotomized because his stepmother simply didn’t like him, and his father was more-or-less clueless about how to parent. The second remarkable aspect was that Howard Dully was only twelve years old. How in the world could this happen, I thought to myself, in the United States, in the 1960s? The third thing I found remarkable was that most of the report was narrated by Howard Dully himself—in spite of having an ice pick inserted into his brain through the orbit of his eye and then having his frontal lobe scrambled as the “physician” wiggled the tool around, Dully survived and after forty years, managed to build a life for himself. When I saw a copy of Dully’s memoir, My Lobotomy, I had to read it. It is one of the saddest, but ultimately also one of the most quietly triumphant books I’ve ever read—and I’ve read Dave Pelzer’s horrific and truly stomach-turning autobiography, A Child Called “It”. It’s written in an easy, conversational style—“Me and Martha rented an apartment”—so it reads quickly, but the casual style, complete with occasional grammatical lapses, allows Dully’s voice to come through clearly. I mentioned Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called “It”. A contrast of the two books is interesting. Dave Pelzer endured a nightmarish, almost unbelievable childhood, victimized by a mentally unbalanced mother so severely (locked in a cellar, beaten, burned on the stove top, almost forced to drink Clorox and Drano) that it’s hard to believe he survived at all. Dully, on the other hand, was simply not wanted by his parents; when the lobotomy doesn’t have the effect his stepmother wanted, Dully was committed to a mental hospital. Much of his difficulty coping as an adult—theft, check forging, drug and alcohol abuse, among other things—really had nothing to do with his lobotomy, but was the result of being “raised” by two people who simply had no clue about, and no interest in, being parents. One reaches the inevitable conclusion that Dully’s problems would have still plagued him had the lobotomy never happened. My Lobotomy is both a difficult book to read, and difficult to put down once started. And while it offers a grotesque window into a horrifying chapter in medical history, it also addresses a wider issue of child-rearing and the tragic result of parents raising children without love.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Touching, sad, victorious. Howard Dully is the apple of his mother's eye. She showers him with love. But she dies while he is a child, and his father remarries. His new wife, Lou, does not like Howard. She finds constant fault with him, basically for being a normal rambunctious boy. She punishes him daily. She seeks help from a number of pediatricians and psychologists, most who tell her that she is the problem and he is a normal boy. Then she finds Dr. Freeman, a pioneer of the lobotomy. He per Touching, sad, victorious. Howard Dully is the apple of his mother's eye. She showers him with love. But she dies while he is a child, and his father remarries. His new wife, Lou, does not like Howard. She finds constant fault with him, basically for being a normal rambunctious boy. She punishes him daily. She seeks help from a number of pediatricians and psychologists, most who tell her that she is the problem and he is a normal boy. Then she finds Dr. Freeman, a pioneer of the lobotomy. He performs frontal lobotomies at the drop of a hat, often against his patients wishes (as long as their families agree), and frequently on children. He performs "ice pick" lobotomies as an outpatient surgery, sometimes in such settings as a hotel room. Lou consults with him, tells him some lies, and it doesn't take much to convince him that Howard would benefit from a lobotomy. It only takes 2 days for her to convince his father. At age 12, Howard receives a frontal lobotomy, using "ice pick" like tools. Afterward, it takes months for him to come out of his stupor. When he continues to display "behavior problems", his step-mother has him removed from her home. He is unwanted. He ends up in a mental institution. Doctors admit that there is nothing wrong with him, but there is nowhere else to send him, since his parents don't want him in the home. He raises himself, with no parental supervision or guidance. If he breaks the rules of the various homes, jails, and institutions that he lives in, he is punished. He grows up with unsavory types, and with no advocate for his well-being. He barely receives schooling. The lobotomy is only a part of his problems - the total lack of love, guidance, and nurturing is also a huge problem. Despite the odds, in the end it is a story of survival and finally of closure.

  28. 4 out of 5

    MissSusie

    My Lobotomy by, Howard Dully This book was a sad yet fascinating story of a man looking for the answers as to why he was given a lobotomy at the age of 12.Howard's mother died when he was young and his father remarried,his stepmother pretty much hated him from the start and was mentally and physically abusive to him.She went from doctor to doctor trying to have him committed ,anything to get him out of her house. She finally met Dr.Freeman the pioneer of the ice pick lobotomy in him she thought s My Lobotomy by, Howard Dully This book was a sad yet fascinating story of a man looking for the answers as to why he was given a lobotomy at the age of 12.Howard's mother died when he was young and his father remarried,his stepmother pretty much hated him from the start and was mentally and physically abusive to him.She went from doctor to doctor trying to have him committed ,anything to get him out of her house. She finally met Dr.Freeman the pioneer of the ice pick lobotomy in him she thought she'd found the solution to her problems, as I read the book I had to wonder if she hoped it would kill him.He was the youngest person to have a lobotomy and most medical professionals at the time were very much against this procedure in general and especially on children. The books tells of Howard's life after the lobotomy ,his stepmother continued to send him away he grew up in juvenile homes and state hospital's to being homeless and alcoholic.When he was finally clean and sober and in a stable relationship and had children of his own he decided he wanted answers to his lifelong question -Why?. In doing research Howard was contacted by NPR Radio the last three chapters are on this radio show.They found his medical record's that Dr.Freeman had donated to a library,he finally got some of the answers he was looking for.Howard to me is a fasinating man for all he's been through and survived my hats off to him! I went on NPR.org and listened to the radio show it was very interesting and emotional. I recommend this book whole-heartedly

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hailey Hamilton

    In the book My Lobotomy by Howard Dully was to inform us of what was going on during that time of him being a child. A lobotomy was given to those who had mental illnesses because the doctors thought that was the way to treat the illness. Even though Howard did not have a mental illness his step mom thought it was a good thing for him to have at the age of twelve. The type of lobotomy Dr. Walter Freeman gave was called the "ice pick", and he invented it himself. The theme of the book is that no c In the book My Lobotomy by Howard Dully was to inform us of what was going on during that time of him being a child. A lobotomy was given to those who had mental illnesses because the doctors thought that was the way to treat the illness. Even though Howard did not have a mental illness his step mom thought it was a good thing for him to have at the age of twelve. The type of lobotomy Dr. Walter Freeman gave was called the "ice pick", and he invented it himself. The theme of the book is that no child should ever get a lobotomy because it is so painful and who really wants something stuck in their eye moving around. This is the theme because Howard actually went through this by force. He talks about how it was arranged and how his step mom put him through this horrible invention. My Lobotomy is a descriptive book because it talks about his family, and the lobotomy he got, and how painful it was. Howard told the readers his mom died when she gave birth to her last son and his dad got remarried to what is now his step mom. She never really liked him that much and she would blame everything on him if something went wrong. Then months later she made an appointment for the lobotomy that he should not have really had. I liked the book. It was very good and entertaining. Also, it sent out a good message to everyone who was not around that horrible time of the ice pick lobotomy. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in past history and wants to learn more about it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    This is the most heart-breaking book I have ever read. In all honesty Howard story of a young boy who did nothing wrong and was always good and getting in trouble by his step-mother who hated him for no reasons or if she did had her reasons then we won't ever know them. I would highly recommend reading this whether or not your into reading mental-illness or wanting to go into the medical field or just for fun then read this book! --------------------------------------------- Before: My psychology t This is the most heart-breaking book I have ever read. In all honesty Howard story of a young boy who did nothing wrong and was always good and getting in trouble by his step-mother who hated him for no reasons or if she did had her reasons then we won't ever know them. I would highly recommend reading this whether or not your into reading mental-illness or wanting to go into the medical field or just for fun then read this book! --------------------------------------------- Before: My psychology teacher recommended this book to the class because at the end of the semester we are watching a documentary called 'The Lobodomist' and said that the author is in the documentary and that if we want we should read this book and well when someone recommend a book weather it for class or not I'm going read it no matter what

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