LISA AND DAVID/ JORDI/LITTLE RALPHIE by Theodore Isaac Rubin

LISA AND DAVID/ JORDI/LITTLE RALPHIE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Three case histories open readers' eyes to true psychopathology in children. ``Lisa & David'' is a classic, made memorable in the film about two institutionalized teenagers whose developing relationship helps each begin to heal. ``Jordie'' is a composite portrait of a childhood schizophrenic, also previously published. ``Little Ralphie'' is a new study of a teenager who exhibits symptoms of you-name-it: catatonia, schizophrenia, multiple personalities. Rubin (``my friends call me Izz''), the compiler of these portraits, is a well-regarded psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and author of fiction and nonfiction, including self-help books. The stories of the extremely disturbed children presented here are vivid and compelling, but it's not always entirely clear, especially regarding Ralphie, that drama doesn't overshadow the reality. Little Ralphie arrives at the treatment center as an unidentified young man who doesn't speak or react, offering no information about his past or his feelings. His psychiatrist attaches to him and fights to keep him off electroshock and drugs. But there are long sections in which we enter Ralphie's mindat one with a colony of ants, at sea with a school of whaleswhere his ``Self'' separates from his body and runs to hide. The reconstruction of these inner states is dramatically effective yet dubious. Part of Ralphie's story includes the musings of Izz, who speculates whether love might not be more important than psychoanalytic objectivity in helping this patient. Ralphie eventually has a dramatic breakthough and reveals the tragic cause of his psychosis. Lisa, incidentally, still hopping, skipping, and rhyming, reappears as a minor character in Jordie's story. Each story ends with doctors' notes about the progress and prognosis of the patient, optimistic in all three cases. A curious and mostly redundant collection.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86372-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998