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Media Reviews : Books

The Disappearance of Lyndsey Barratt
by John Wilson
Pap Ed: ISBN (0-06-109771-3)
Pub: Harper, $6.50
Review by Rebekka.


The Nitty Gritty:


Lyndsey Barratt is the core here. She's party to:

Lyndsey Barratt, the sugar sweet intellectual who suffered the trauma.
Linda Marshall, the typical villainess. Serial killer and sexual sadist. Yawn. Bet she kicks puppies too.
Deborah Lambert, the essential front who took over for the day to day matters while Lyndsey hid away. Unaware that the others exist, she actually even aids in the investigation against Linda.


"'After her trauma, Lyndsey didn't just retreat into a limbo or coma like some people do; she created other personas who developed their own separate lives, with their own plans, their own reasons for living.'
'That makes no sense at all, Bill.'"

Well, no. It doesn't.

Lyndsey supposedly formed her other selves--which are continually and consistently treated like only 'alternates' who would never be healthy without integration--due to the trauma of a gang rape. Now, that's fine, and it can and does happen. But to give credulance to this book would mean ignoring a huge list of contradictory base qualities. For a personality to be that strong, such habits should have been formed early in Lyndsey's youth--instead of when she was already a young woman, having literally just graduated college. (Yes! Now *everyone* can fear turning into a psychotic dominatrix killer whenever they have a bad day, at whatever age!) Otherwise you wouldn't have the amnesia and strong identity separation--and what was that gratuitous scene in there where Linda molests Lyndsey? Thanks! I want to be known as a person who goes around randomly feeling up my sisters.

Yes, there are hints to her 'latent' tendancies--her supposedly incredible acting talents, and her ability to create in-depth characters. And there are people who have those abilities, or who don't, or whichever, who are mid-contiuum or partially multiple or whatever term works best. They can go through life unaware and mostly together, and they can have happy lives regardless. (ed comment by Sparrow: Then they're more mid-contiuum? Right. No big deal.)

But does Wilson expect us to believe that Lyndsey is a sleeper multiple? Let's face it--even with all those elements and allowances combined, it is incredibly rare to have that high a level of disassociation occurring if the first instance of splitting occurs that late in life. (ed note by Reb: Having said that, I've probably offended a number of multiples out there who have had that happen.) Memory bleedover occurs. People don't always stay down. And Lyndsey is supposedly completely amnesiatic for over seven years while Linda goes skipping about. At the very first sign of existence.

If accuracy would count here--not that it seems to matter to Mr. Wilson--then Lyndsey would still be the primary personality, and would have the very strong presence of the other two in existence. They might even take over every now and then, or coexist with no time limit. But this? An excellent example of a wee bit too much extrapolation over too little information. And, also by the sound of it, every single multiple out there is just inches away from landing themselves into jails as vindicative--or not so--murderers, even if they're as cutely unaware of it as Lyndsey was, and that any single trauma automatically means that a person runs the risk of completely full-blown multiplicity. Just like catching a disease! Great!

Final Result:

This book left an utterly indescribably bad taste in my mouth. Do yourself a favor. Don't even look at it twice.