THE FLOCK by Joan Frances Casey


The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality
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 Casey's thoughtful account of the formation and integration of her 24 separate personalities. Diagnosed in 1981 as a multiple personality by therapist Wilson--whose case notes intersperse Casey's narrative--Casey initially resisted that finding, but slowly acknowledged her many selves. Among them were brilliant scholar Jo, worldly art lover Isis, and people-pleasing party girl Renee, with these relatively enviable personalities coexisting next to others who were childish, frightened, and suicidal--created, as multiples always are, to deal with abuse: in this case, from a raping father and a cold, demanding mother. Reconstructing the origins of the personalities forms the heart of Casey's touching story. As depicted here, the characteristics and motivations of all the personalities are straightforward and affecting, although Casey does not succeed in giving each an individual or even realistic voice. Rusty, a boy personality charged with placating Casey's father, talks like someone cut from an Andy Hardy film, while Renee seems decidedly down-to-earth for a self-described flirt. Of high interest also are Wilson's notes, which will probably appall orthodox psychiatrists as they detail how she broke every treatment rule in the book to heal Casey. Wilson and her husband, for example, always commingle their lives with that of a patient, and became in Casey's instance surrogate parents to all the personalities. The trio's first session together typifies the intimate therapy style: Wilson's husband ambled into the office, shucked off his jacket, and sat on the floor. A compelling psychological odyssey offering unique insights into a nightmare world.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-56842-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991