Email this review


A suspect narration of the therapeutic process of recalling blocked memories. purportedly written by a woman described as having a multiple-personality disorder as the result of childhood abuse by her stepfather. The preface by Robert A. Phillips claims that the book is a true personal account written by his patient, Chase, to expose the maiming effects of all child abuse. Despite this assertion, the maniacal extremity of the atrocities described here actually minimizes the real tragedy and cruelty in the large majority of cases of child abuse. Whether the original manuscript was vastly over-edited in an attempt to present the information in the form of a novel, or consciously contrived as a piece of fiction, When Rabbit Howls simply does not work as a report of therapy, as social commentary on sexual abuse of children, or as a story. Lacing the tale with crude and lurid imagery of sexual abuse, bestiality and a variety of sadistic tortures, Chase claims that the book was written by the many individual members of the ""troop"" of over 90 separate selves. Yet the underlying sameness of writing style, not only of almost all the patient's supposedly different personalities, but of the therapist's voice as well, makes this claim very difficult to accept. The blatant contrivance of ending each chapter with a few lines intended to create suspense, the eventually predictable one or two new horrors installed in each chapter, and particularly the inconsistency of continual descriptions of very specific details of thoughts, events, and dialogue that took place in the life of the therapist when the author was not even present--all undermine the assertion of documentary veracity. Hints of ESP, mysticism and heightened energy fields hardly strengthen claims of authenticity. If, indeed, Chase is an actual person who developed multiple personalities as the result of years of abuse, a forthright documentation of the experiences would have done much more justice to the declared purpose of raising consciousness on the issue.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1987
ISBN: 0515103292
Publisher: Dutton