Our Town: The Truth About Sybil

Written by Mark Peikert on . Posted in Books, Posts.

The case of Sybil, the pseudonym for a young woman suffering from 17
multiple personalities as the result of some Gothic child abuse at the
hands of her monstrous mother, became a cultural touchstone almost
immediately upon the 1973 publication of Flora Rheta Schreiber’s
nonfiction account of her treatment.

Sally Field became an actress to reckon with in the 1976 made-for-TV movie, breaking free from the shacklesof The Flying Nun. Women everywhere suddenly remembered, with the help of their eager therapists, childhood abuse and “fugue states,” in which they lost all memory of
what they did or said. But in Debbie Nathan’s compulsively readable
Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple
Personality Case, the whole thing is proved as a massive fraud
perpetrated by an ambitious therapist, a lonely young woman and a
determined writer. —

To read the rest of Mark Peikert’s book review, head to Our Town