Truddi Chase (& The Troops) died March 10, 2010.
Click here to read their obituary and sign their memorial guestbook.
Personality? This Woman Had Plenty (92, Actually)
Reviewed by PAUL MARYNIAK, Daily News Staff Writer
Confusing Study Of A Psychological Disorder
"WHEN RABBIT HOWLS" BY THE TROOPS FOR TRUDDI CHASE.
E.P. Dutton. $18.95
415 pages. Hard cover.
No, there is no mistake in how the Daily News has identified the producers of this book.
There is no singular author.
In fact, there are 92 of them -- all personalities belonging to Truddi Chase, a Rochester woman who has been diagnosed as suffering from a multiple personality disorder -- a psychiatric malady in which one person is actually two or more people.
Unlike others who have been diagnosed as having this ailment -- and who have been the subject of books that include The Three Faces of Eve, Sybil, and The Minds of Billy Milligan -- Truddi Chase is in a class by herself
because, as her psychiatrist asserts, there is no "real" Truddi Chase.
Chase was so traumatized by sexual and other abuse by her father, starting
from the time she was 2, that, asserts her psychiatrist, the personality Chase was born with virtually has been obliterated. In its place are 92 personalities that come and go as easily and as frequently as the wind.
"The Troops of Truddi Chase" is the collective description for these 92 personalities.
That collective noun also represents the most annoying aspect about a book that deals with a rather fascinating subject -- but more on that later.
While the malady is difficult for psychiatrists, let alone for laymen, to understand, multiple personality disorders seem to exist.
They do not appear to be the product of someone's clever or diabolical imagination, at least to those professionals who have worked with people afflicted by the baffling disorder.
Chase's case is so fascinating because there are so many different personalities: The Rabbit in the title is a personality too young for speech but not too young to howl in anguish over unspoken torment.
The other 91 -- some male and some female -- all have their own handwriting, accents and even body postures.
In 1981, when Chase was 50, she sought psychiatric help. Since then she has been working with Dr. Robert A. Phillips, a staff therapist and consultant with the Human Sexuality Institute in Washington, D.C., and a consultant to the Chesapeake Institute in Kensington, Md. Phillips helped put together this book, which largely represents an attempt to have each personality speak.
There appears no question that Chase's life has been a living hell. But there doesn't seem to be a reason why this book has to be the same for the reader. In the attempt to present an accurate depiction of Chase's disorder, each personality is presented in the same come-and-go fashion in which each manifests itself in Chase.
Thus, one chapter can have Rabbit howling, followed by the sharp-eyed business voice of Ten-Four and then by Ean, an Irish philsopher and poet. It's maddening for the reader because the presentation becomes too confusing. Even a close reading of the material is apt to drive a reader wild.
The subject of "Rabbit" certainly makes for compelling non--fiction. Unfortunately, we will have to await a more coherent treatment of the material before any lay person can begin to comprehend the strange story of Truddi Chase.
Click here for our review of When Rabbit Howls
Read the New York Times review of When Rabbit Howls, July 6, 1987. Really uninformed, disbelieving and unflattering to the subject.
Psychology Today review of When Rabbit Howls
Washington Post article on Truddi&, July 25, 1987.
Brief Chicago Tribune interview with Truddi&, August 30, 1987.
Woman of Many Voices St. Paul Pioneer Press, Oct. 15, 1990.
Multiple Personality, Narrative in When Rabbit Howls Deborah Carlin looks at the narrative structure, examining how the Troops came to tell their story.
When Rabbit Howls at everything2.com
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