Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors

Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors

by Louis R. Franzini, John M. Grossberg
     
 

An engrossing look into the heart of twelve of the strangest psychological disorders known to science

In a book reminiscent of Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, psychologists Louis Franzini and John Grossberg take us behind the tabloid headlines and media exposes to tell the real-life stories of emotionally damaged men and women driven to

Overview

An engrossing look into the heart of twelve of the strangest psychological disorders known to science

In a book reminiscent of Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, psychologists Louis Franzini and John Grossberg take us behind the tabloid headlines and media exposes to tell the real-life stories of emotionally damaged men and women driven to horrific extremes in their efforts to gratify their basic human needs for love and attention.

Writing with compassion and offering many profound insights into the human condition, the authors provide rare, often wrenching, glimpses into the tortured worlds of necrophiliacs, who make love only to corpses, and "werewolves" who commit unthinkable acts of mutilation and cannibalism; of men paralyzed by the terrifying belief that their penises are disappearing into their bodies, and compulsive hair pullers, who pluck every last hair from their flesh; of paranoids who believe they are being stalked by their evil twins, and those convinced that everyone close to them is an imposter; and many others.

All of the stories contained in Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors are based on actual case studies. Throughout, Drs. Franzini and Grossberg discuss, in terms that general readers can understand, both the known and conjectural causes for the strange disorders they describe. And, in many cases, they recount the stirring details of how patients were ultimately rescued from the eccentric and bizarre patterns of behavior in which they had become imprisoned.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though it bills itself as a work in the tradition of Oliver Sacks, this uneven, objectifying collection is more like a turn-of-the-last-century compendium of medical curiosities. Half of this catalogue focuses on sex, with chapters on erotomania, autoerotic asphyxia and necrophilia, among other titillating topics; the remainder deals with provocative subjects including Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy and trichotillomania, the desire to pull out one's hair (a chapter on vampirism seems strangely out of place). The writing throughout is choppy, but the book's most disturbing aspect is its tone, which wavers between professional and pop-psych. The authors fail to humanize these behaviors, and they slide repeatedly into descriptions that are insulting, if amusing. Thus the reader learns that ``a surprising number of penis injuries occur as a result of establishing too close a relationship with vacuum cleaners.'' More insidiously, the murderer Prasenjit Poddar is called ``a rejected lover'' (which he was not), sloppy language that imputes some responsibility for her own death to his victim, Tanya Tarasoff. Though each chapter concludes with a smidgen of theory and a passing note on treatment, these seem strangely disconnected in mood and style from the rest of the contents. The volume's intended audience is unclear, but it will probably appeal most to those whose knowledge of the variety of human experience comes from talk-show experts who substitute the display of oddities for a modicum of human compassion. (May)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471545200
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
05/08/1995
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.59(d)

Meet the Author

LOUIS R. FRANZINI, PhD, and JOHN M. GROSSBERG, PhD, are professors of psychology at San Diego State University. Both have contributed extensively to psychological literature.

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