Friday, July 26, 2013

The Mythical Bill: A Neurological Memoir, by Jody Macauliffe. University of Iowa Press, 2013

In WW2 Bill Macauliffe developed torticollis; two days after surgery to correct it, he tried to kill himself. He spent the last 20 years of his life fighting mental illness ultimately dying unattended and possibly not reported for at least a day. He is called weak and told to just get himself together, but in reality he was a very strong man, holding it together to work and help raise a family, falling apart on weekends and pulling himself back together Sunday nights. He embarrassed, frustrated, and scared his family, but Jody, his daughter, never stopped loving him.

This book is Jody’s memoir of what it was like growing up with Bill as a father, and of her search for answers. It jumps back and forth in time, visiting Bill’s childhood, his time in the military and his death in a hospital and right into the present as Jody talks to doctors, trying to find out what Bill really had. Did the surgery for the torticollis do something to his mind, or did he have preexisting mental illness? His surgery took place on the day she was born; she never knew her father as a man without mental illness. It’s a touching book.  

The above is an associate link. If you click through it and buy the book, Amazon gives me a few cents. 

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