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When Rabbit Howls


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About the Author

Truddi Chase was the author of When Rabbit Howls, a personal account of her abusive upbringing and her struggle with dissociative identity disorder. She passed away in 2010.


The strange world inhabited by those afflicted with schizophrenia or multiple personality syndrome is virtually impenetrable. By illuminating these convoluted worlds, both books make major contributions to the understanding of mental illness. North began to exhibit manifestations of schizophrenia as a child. Desite her acceptance of ``voices'' and ``visions'' as reality, the reader can easily identify with her as she struggles through her schooling. She graphically descibes her breakdowns and traumatic hospitalizations during her college years and in medical school. Her eventual success in conquering her disability and attaining her goal of becoming a physician evokes a sense of exhilaration. Unlike North's book, which is clearly focused, When Rabbit Howls is disconnected, disjointed, fragmented. Written while undergoing psychotherapy by a woman who had been severely abused sexually as a child, the book shows us scores of personalities who do not even recognize that they dwell in one body. Amazingly, the woman who sought therapy was not considered abnormal by her close friends. Phillips, the treating psychotherapist, believes that many sexually abused children develop multiple personalities as a defense mechanism. The emergence of individuals with names like Miss Wonderful, Outrider, Nails, Tunnel, and Mean Joe, who submerge themselves so that only one image is publicly presented, makes for fascinating, provocative reading. Carol R. Glatt, New Jersey Bioethics Commission, Trenton

Phillips, a Washington, D.C., therapist, explains that ``The Troops'' are the multiple personalitiesapproximately 80 men and womenof the pseudonymous Truddi Chase, who first consulted him in 1980. He further maintains that the patient, a successful businesswoman now in her 50s, has been ``asleep'' since she was raped at the age of two by her stepfather, who continued to sexually abuse her for 14 years. The cluster of personalities, speaking through a troop member dubbed the ``Recorder,'' talk about their suffering for the primary victim who, it is also revealed, was mistreated by her mother as well. There are sensational episodes described by beings identified as social Alvira, hard Nails, alert Gatekeeper and others. Although the novelistic overtones in the text strain credibility, the book nonetheless proves to be a convincing, affecting case study. Author Tour. (June)

Praise for When Rabbit Howls

"Startling...stunning...powerful."--The San Francisco Chronicle "Perhaps the most extraordinary victim of multiple personalities on record. A nightmarish story the reader cannot easily forget."--The Chicago Tribune

"Horrifying, compelling...a shocking tale...extremely disturbing."--Psychology Today

"A fascinating book...unusual and very emotionally touching."--Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, the psychiatrist who treated Sybil "An extraordinary story. [When Rabbit Howls] is the reconstruction, through therapy, of the lost life of a woman so...abused by her stepfather that her only defense down the years was to shatter into the fewer than 92 different and autonomous personalities."--The Guardian (London) "Remarkable...alarmingly real and courageous."--Toronto Sun "Fascinating, provocative reading."--Library Journal "The first book authored by a multiple personality...When Rabbit Howls is a document that breaks the silence...a searing indictment of the crime of child sexual abuse...a truly moving and thought-provoking uplifting, inspiring story of a survivor."--Sojourner: The Women's Forum

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