Depressed, suicidal, complaining of strange pains and loss of time, "Karen" is referred to psychiatrist Richard Baer. During her treatment Baer determines that Karen has multiple personality disorder (MPD). Lloyd James's narration is mesmerizing. His narration never crosses the line into prurience. He states details matter-of-factly, including horrific tales of exploitation, cruelty, violence, torture, and ritual sexual abuse in Satanic cults. After years of therapy sessions and hypnosis, 17 separate personalities emerge. This perspective is unique because it is told from the point of view of the therapist. James's sensitive narration allows listeners to share Baer's initial skepticism, his eventual acceptance, and his thought processes as he tries to help. Fascinating listening.
In 1989, Karen Overhill walked into the office of psychiatrist Richard Baer complaining of depression. She poured out a litany of complaints, but in the disengaged way of someone who has experienced a terrible trauma. Slowly, Baer began to peel back the layers, eventually learning that Karen had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse. As time passed, though, his patient worsened and began to talk continually of suicide. Details of her abuse accumulated until he saw, via hypnosis, the true dimension of what Karen had suffered.
Baer was at a loss to explain Karen's sanity, precarious though it was, until he received a letter from a little girl, Claire. One by one, Karen's "alters" began showing themselves: men, women, young boys, a toddler, black, white, vicious, nurturing, prim, licentious. And their "stepping out" confronted Baer with the challenge of a lifetime. Somehow, to save Karen, he would have to gain the trust of her alters in order to destroy them.
©2007 Richard Baer, M.D.; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"An important and insightful look into the world of a multiple." (Cameron West, author of First Person Plural)
"Vivid...loaded with fascinating details... richly rewarding." (Colin Ross, author of Multiple Personality Order and The Osiris Complex)
Since first reading Mary Higgins Clark’s All Around The Town, I have been fascinated by Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and have followed its transformation (through fiction) to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This audiobook marks my first audio experience with the topic, as well as my first non-fiction one... Well, other than Sybil, but since that has been revealed to be a hoax, I suppose that counts amongst the fiction now. But after finishing this listen, I must admit that I am not quite certain where to shelve it either...
Chicagoan Karen Overhill’s story is certainly a grim one - abused by every single male in her life. From her father, grandfather, priest, local undertaker, police officer and work buddies of other family members, she undergoes a terrible childhood. With even just one of these abusers, it would be no surprise that her psyche crumbles. And with the variety of torment, it frankly seems a miracle that Karen has coped at all to function as an adult in any way. But, her survival lays at her own feet - within which seventeen different personalities can use.
The details of her abuse are relayed here in nauseating detail. Even more frightening is not only the fact that every single male she encounters took part of this horrific abuse, but also at the knowledge and non-intervention of many of her female relatives as well. Even more alarming is the way Baer himself does not seek any sort of legal intervention when he witnesses the after-effects of abuse in Karen’s troubled marriage. His entire relationship with Karen has hints that it is not entirely above-board, with little details like her nonpayment for treatment, and later when the appointments take place within his home. He also allows Karen to romanticize her own death at length, which adds to the darkness of the tone.
But the deeper into the story, the more unrealistic it seems. It somehow manages to drag on as each individual personality undergoes their own ceremony of transmutation and furthermore. It feels almost routine. And when after viewing the movie Primal Fear, Karen suddenly recounts her own experience with a priest - directly similar to the film. And with these hints about Baer’s own life, it seems like readers are missing the whole story - perhaps the graphic details of the abuse blindside many readers to consider this as anything other than true, but unfortunately this book has stretched my limits of credulity. It simply doesn’t seem plausible that one person underwent this much abuse, but still grows up to be married with two children and displays “textbook” DID...
As for the narrator, the female voices blur together but otherwise, it is a fine performance.
I probably will listen to this book again. I think that there is a lot that could be missed in the first listen that I will probably try to catch next time around.
The narrator was amazing. He switch voices seamlessly and really made each of the personalities really come to life. You can really tell a difference and feel the emotions of each one.
The whole story was very moving. It is a very sad story and does speak a lot about child abuse and sexual abuse in a very extreme manner. If you don't have the stomach for that kind of thing then do not listen to this book. If you are interested in psychology or the coping mechanisms of people who deal with extreme abuse then this is a very good book for you. I felt so sad for Karen throughout the whole story and honestly can't bear to think too hard about the fact that this is supposed to be a true story. It is just too sad that this kind of thing happens in the world.
It is amazing to me the pain that some people can live through. I just want to emphasize again that this book is not for those who have a weak stomach but it is very encouraging to hear about someone who lived and moved past such a hard life. This book was so interesting to me that I could not stop listening. I think I finished it in 3 days which is pretty good for a 15 hour book.
With subject matter such as this it is helpful to cover it in audio to grasp the characters especially with a larger number.
I found it realistic to know what the professional was thinking and feeling about his patient
as their therspitic relationship developed.
I don't believe I have.
No. I enjoyed it a bit everyday.
The slow build up of the true story.
Wonderful even tones
Apparitions of others trying to get out
This story is great
I'll not slam the author or the character in the story. However, I found the book too harsh and disturbing. I believe there is a way to tell the stories of those with DID without going into such graphic details about the abuse.
Also, at times, I noticed inconsistencies in the doctor's therapy notes and a few things I found difficult to believe from the character. Again, that is my personal opinion and I developed that opinion from my own experiences.
I do not recommend this book to anyone who is interested in truly learning about DID.
I also strongly do not recommend anyone with DID listen to this book.
The graphic nature in describing the abuse of the character
It depends how you like to spend your time. This book is very interesting. It's hard to imagine that a person could go through such horrific things in life and continue functioning. It's also amazing to hear how our minds can go to such lengths to protect us. The on-going description of all the terrible experiences this woman endured does take a toll on the reader. Toward the end it also felt a bit monotonous.
Sure, I'd read another book from Richard Baer. I like his personality. He is business, funny & caring.
There were WAY too many to choose from. The performer that read this book was great. This book would certainly make it challenging, trying to keep all the personalities strait.
Yeah, it's worth the time if the psyche interests you, and if you can handle the horrific details included (I almost could not).
The reason that I gave this book a lower rating than the performer + story would equal, is because I HATED the logistics of how it was set up on Audible. The book is about 13 hours long & is broke into only two parts. That's it. If you lose your place on the ipod by bumping it or whatever, like I often did, good luck finding your place. It was very frustrating. I almost didn't finish the book because I was sooo tired of fast forwarding though literally half the book. Common' break it into chapters!
Enjoying audiobooks daily!
It engrossed me and appalled me because of the levels of human depravity and compassion.
The relationship between the doctor and patient was complex.
I suppose so. It was done fairly well.
No. It was too brutal at times to want that.
Only read this book if you have the stomach to relive the protagonist's miserable past.
This subject interested me and I was amazed at how each moment captured my attention. I was so touched how this story was true for a young lady who was a victim of her environment but came through the best she could handle. My hat is off to you Dr. Baer for your years of commitment and compassion with this doctor/patient relationship in doing what is best for the patient. I understand now how someone with multiple personalities deals with life's toughest challenges and how our mind develops safety nets to get us through. Wow! I am honored to have experienced this audible book.
This was one of the best books I have ever read. Multiple Personality Disorder is a fascinating topic by itself, but going on this journey with the author - the treating psychiatrist - and his patient (Karen) was a real insight into the disorder. From the opening lines to the closing epilogue, I was swept into Karen's world and felt her pain, sadness, and ultimate healing. The book is not for the faint-hearted, but well worth the time put into listening. A testiment to the human spirit.
I am going into psychiatry and even I could not handle this book. I only got through the first 10 chapters but it was soooo depressing. I understand that this is the woman's life, but I can't handle it. Just FYI--it's very graphic and distrubing.
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