Sybil

( 71 )

Overview

More amazing than any work of fiction, yet true in every word, it swept to the top of the bestseller lists and riveted the consciousness of the world. As an Emmy Award-winning film starring Sally Field, it captured the home screens of an entire nation and has endured as the most electrifying TV movie ever made. It's the story of a survivor of terrifying childhood abuse, victim of sudden and mystifying ...
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Overview

More amazing than any work of fiction, yet true in every word, it swept to the top of the bestseller lists and riveted the consciousness of the world. As an Emmy Award-winning film starring Sally Field, it captured the home screens of an entire nation and has endured as the most electrifying TV movie ever made. It's the story of a survivor of terrifying childhood abuse, victim of sudden and mystifying blackouts, and the first case of multiple personality ever to be psychoanalyzed.


You're about to meet Sybil-and the sixteen selves to whom she played host, both women and men, each with a different personality, speech pattern, and even personal appearance. You'll experience the strangeness and fascination of one woman's rare affliction-and travel with her on her long, ultimately triumphant journey back to wholeness.

"...As a psychiatric adventure, Sybil is a fascinating book..." --Chicago Tribune Book World.

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Editorial Reviews

Doris Lessing
"Astonishing . . . It forces you to look at yourself and the people around you in a new way."
Doris Lessing
"Astonishing . . . It forces you to look at yourself and the people around you in a new way."
Time magazine
"Spellbinding!"
New York Review of Books
"A moving human narrative."
Chicago Tribune
"Illuminating . . fascinating!"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446550123
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 82,734
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Flora Rheta Schreiber was the psychiatry editor of Science Digest when she first heard about Sybil. She spent seven years writing this book. She is also the author of The Shoemaker. She died in 1988 in New York City of a heart attack.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Well Written and Astounding

    Although there is a lot of controversy behind the Sybil story regarding whether Sybil was exploited for Dr. Wilbur's personal gain I have to say I can not see how this is possible. From the time of therapy to the time of book release was 19 years not a grand master plan if you're trying to exploit someone. No I believe Sybil's story was real and that she was a truly remarkable and unique individual. The writing style of the author captured me instantly there wasn't too much of anything whether it is personal or textbook psychiatric information. It had the write balance and kept me intrigued from beginning to end. It also posed a lot of questions which I am sure have been asked in the past what causes people with two similar backgrounds to mentally handle things completely different why do some disassociate and others not. I can tell you this I had been waiting a very long time to read this book and I was not disappointed in fact it made me intensely aware that this disease can be so extreme. I can't imagine what this woman went through as the one woman who is supposed to love you unconditionally destroys your whole being. Great book excellently written I would definitely recommend.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2000

    Sybil, The Best

    I am only 11 years old and have read the book and loved it. It was the best book. It has twists and turns and so much more. Yes, it was harsh, but I can understand it all. I dont really recomend it to all younger kids due to the abuse and content. You should really read it, but belive me, you cant stop.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    Sybil

    I first studied Sybil in my high school psychology class. We watched the movie and talked about her. It interested me so much that I thought I would read the book. I thought the book was great, and that it was better than the movie. All of you who are interested in the mind should read this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2008

    Review

    Sybil is both interesting in subject matter and characterizations. The reader follows Sybil throughout her childhood and becomes witness to many of her abuses. The book puts vivid imagery into the readers heads of a horrible mother torturing her only daughter. The reader goes through feelings of anger and disgust towards the mother. Then switches to anger and disgust at the ignorance of her father. How could her parents treat their child like that? The book also aids the reader in understanding how Sybil broke into so many identities and how these separate identities had their own specific roles in her survival. Examples are like Peggy whom took over if Sybil became angry or frustrated. Or if Sid and Mike would appear to fix things. The reader can appreciate the long road that she had to go through to piece herself back together. How she could go from dropping out of school or not holding a job to being whole again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Difficult Read

    I found it very hard to read and really couldn't get into it..I put it down after the first chapter and then gave it to my Mom

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good insight to multiple personalities

    I was pleased that the book was not as graphic as I'd heard. After reading it though, I understand how this poor child was able to cope. A really good book, totally worth reading.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Recommended

    This book was in the exact condition that the dealler would said it would be. Will order from them..Great job

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    MUST READ!

    I chose to read Sybil because I heard that it was a fascinating book about a woman who had acquired multiple personality disorder due to a childhood filled with horrific abuse. Although I am a high school student, the story really appealed to me. Even though it was written almost 40 years ago, this book was really good and was hard to put down! The story was very intriguing and, in many parts, disturbing. This book had me thinking constantly. I often tried to imagine what it would be like, as a little girl, to have to endure the things that Sybil went through. I also found myself wondering if my own brain would splinter into numerous personalities to cope with the pain and misery Sybil suffered. It shows that we really have no idea what those around us might be going through, or have gone through, in their lives. While reading this I had so much sorrow for Sybil and so much frustration and hatred toward her parents - toward her mother for committing the abuse, and toward her father for allowing it to happen by ignoring the glaring warning signs. The things that this little girl had to go through were horrible and sometimes were almost unbearable to read. One difficulty I had with the book was that there was a lot of technical terminology and psychiatric jargon in it, which made it hard to understand sometimes. Another problem I had with the book was that it was written from a 3rd person perspective, which I wasn't crazy about. I would have preferred that the book be written either from Sybil's perspective or from the perspective of Dr. Wilbur, her psychiatrist. The story was very interesting, even from a 3rd person perspective, but a 1st person perspective might have made it feel more personal and given more insight into the thoughts and emotions of Sybil and/or her doctor. Despite these drawbacks, I really enjoyed Sybil, and I think that all high school students should read it. I think that no one would even think about abusing their child if they read it. Sybil shows some of the horrible long term effects of abuse. This story teaches us that we shouldn't judge people, because we really don't know what's going on inside of their head. There are some mental disabilities and disorders in the world and I think that we need to be aware of them. It is also fascinating to see how complex the mind is, and the mechanisms it can use to protect itself from experiences that are too horrible to endure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting Read but Somewhat Confusing

    Sybil, by Flora Rita Schreiber, is an enthralling story about a young woman, Sybil, who has multiple personality disorder. This book takes the reader through the discovery of Sybil's sixteen personalities, and the psychiatrist who discovered them. Before I read this book, I had many questions as to who Sybil was and why she was such a famous case of this disorder. This book definitely explained it! She was the first woman with more than two personalities and the unbelievable part was that Sybil herself was not aware of any of them, but each personality knew of her and the others that occupied the body. They would all take over the body when they had something that they wanted to do. The way the author wrote about Sybil's story was very unique; she made sure she included all important facts and the little details of each personality, which became tedious at times. She included what the psychiatrist, Dr. Wilbur, was experiencing, which added to the overall depth of the book. This book was very interesting and I enjoyed learning the story of Sybil and her fifteen personalities. However, I have to say that I did not enjoy that the story took so long to develop. The first of new personalities was not even mentioned until a quarter of the way through the book, and the ones introduced after that took less time to be introduced than the first. I also felt that the book was hard to follow at points and that made me not want to continue reading. Overall, I feel that this book was a great read with an interesting story line and great plot, but can get quite confusing at many points. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys psychology!

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  • Posted October 2, 2010

    Great book for psychology lovers!

    Sybil is a book about a young woman with sixteen completely different personalities. Fifteen of these know about each other and know about the one true personality that is Sybil; but Sybil, herself, does not know that they even exist. They all have different names and are in denial to the fact that they are actually in the same body, they rather just think they live side by side with Sybil and each other. This book was very well written in a way that takes a somewhat confusing and hard to follow storyline and makes it very interesting and easy to understand. The style of this book is that with every chapter you get another piece to Sybil's puzzle by meeting another of her personalities; this starts to paint the puzzle of her past and helps you to understand her story. While wanting to stay plugged into the story, I couldn't put this book down. I really enjoyed reading it because I got to see into the life of not only a woman with multiple personalities but also the therapist trying to figure her out and treat her. This dynamic makes it really interesting. It reminds me of the book Girl, Interrupted, which is a modern day Sybil with a teenage protagonist. The one thing I didn't love about Sybil was how long it took for the story to get going and for the reader to start meeting the personalities, but with such a twisted life it takes some time to introduce this character and bring the reader to an understanding of where she's coming from. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys psychology, and likes to try to understand life through other people's eyes.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    FASCINATING

    The story of Sybil Dorset is sad yet very intriguing. At times I found myself close to tears as I read what she had to suffer through. It was really neat getting an inside look at the personalities and how they went about day-to-day life. This book is what sparked my interest for Dissociative Identity Disorder and encouraged me to my dream even more to become a psychologist. I highly recommend this book to anyone who aspires to be a psychologist or just wants a read that will completely engross you. The movie is pretty good too, starring Sally Field. So if you like the book definitely check out the movie!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An all-time favorite for me...

    I know that this book has received A LOT of criticism over the years & I can definitely understand some of the arguments behind it. For me, the easiest was to look at this book objectively was to view as a work of pure fiction. I have read this book now several times throughout my life; the first time being at a younger age than I probably should have been. This book has made me re-think the way that I look at physical and mental trauma, as well as mental illnesses. I get something different out of this book every time I read it, and I just really feel like this is one of those books that every should have to read at least once in their lifetime.

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  • Posted September 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    THE STORY!

    I HAVE TO BE HONEST THIS IS REALLY NOT TE KIND OF BOOK I READ AND I COULD NOT FINISH READING IT, NOT ENOUGH ... I DONT KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN IT (SLOW READ I GUESS) I WENT AND WATCHED THE MOVIE INSTEAD WITH THIS KIND OF STORY YOU WILL NEED VISUAL BUT WOW GREAT STORY SO HARD TO BELIEVE IT CAN REALLY HAPPEN

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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Movie?

    My account, John Galt JH, got locked, so the review under that name stay the same [Hattie's still a bleeping schizo, yes]. I recently saw the 2007 movie, and thought it a bit odd, dyt? Anyways, just wanted to note that the two accounts are one and the same.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    A creepy, moving book

    I am reading SYBIL right now. Oh my gosh. This book is creepy as hell. It was actually a really great book and one that I rather liked--until I got to the part about Sybil's mom. She was a demented freak and I hope she rots in hell. Seriously, SYBIL made "Carrie" look like "Winnie the Pooh."<BR/>Aside from the schizophrenic b-word, I sort of enjoyed this book. The way it was nonfiction but read like fiction was gripping and a tiny bit entertaining. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, scary, nonfiction read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Sybil Book Review

    The book Sybil, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber in 1973, portrayed a horrific story of one woman¿s journey through life fighting what seemed to be the impossible. Sybil Isabel Dorsett was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder at the early age of 22. By the age of 22 Sybil, without being aware, was housing at least 8 other personalities. A total of 16 personalities would be identified throughout her life. When Sybil was diagnosed by Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur there were only 10 other medically recorded cases with multiple personality, seven women and three men. Each personality saw themselves as a separate individual from Sybil, but trapped in her body. Sybil¿s mother, Hattie was abusive toward her daughter during her early life. These abuses are believed to be the cause of her dissociation. Each personality was known to have its own appearance, strength and weaknesses, abilities, and emotions. The differences in appearance ranged from blonde hair, dark and light brunette, ash-blonde, and red hair with olive skin to fair skin. The eyes that matched these diverse appearances were blue, brown, grey, and hazel. Surprisingly, their attitudes differed too they ranged from assertive and self-assured, to very timid and immature. Every personality was described in exquisite detail. The first half of Sybil described how she was raised as a child, which also explained how she dissociated into multiple selves. Sybil was not raised like any normal child. Willard, her father, kept himself at arms-length with Sybil while growing up so they did not have a close father-daughter relationship. Hattie, Sybil¿s mother was thought to be in a catatonic phase, for a brief time, and was diagnosed as schizophrenic. It was also discovered through many psychoanalytic sessions that Sybil¿s psychological problems were linked genetically on both sides of her family. Unlike the second half of Sybil, the first half clearly explained Sybil¿s background along with each self¿s theory of their life. The second half of Sybil explains the day by day journey through integration back to the ¿waking Sybil.¿ As Sybil was becoming one person, she faced many challenges like suicidal thoughts or attempts and Mary¿s extreme depression. Some of those challenges were troubles the other personalities faced, which affected the others as well. Most of the others did not agree with Dr. Wilbur as she tried to get them to integrate themselves. Two of the personalities, Sid and Mike wanted to become separate individuals and wanted no part in Sybil¿s healing. After all of the `blackouts¿ she faced everyday, Sybil eventually had to drop out of school. When all the personalities finally integrated, Sybil was able to finish school and become a successful teacher with the help of her friends. Throughout Sybil, Schreiber did an nice job describing and explaining all the medical terms. If the terms she used were not clearly defined, somewhere later in the book she would give an example of the meaning. Various methods of treatment were used to help integrate Sybil¿s multiple personalities. Hypnosis turned out to be the most successful method of treatment that helped make her shattered personality whole once again. Anyone who is interested in the study of multiple personality disorders should read this true story of how dissociation occurred and her struggle of integration back to one personality. Sybil is a very recommendable novel to anyone interested in multiple personality disorders. The book describes in very graphic detail what some may find disturbing however it is a very interesting topic to read and learn more about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    sybil

    Sybil is a interesting book that leaves the readers wondering what is going to happen next to poor Sybil. It tells of the long and tedious process of pschyoanalysis and the trauma that people with MPD go through. It is a chance to almost be in the shoes of someone with MPD and be grateful that they are not infected. This book should be recommended to everyone who is mature enough to comprehend the magnitude of the disorder and be thankful they are mentally sound.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    TH.

    Schreiber presents the book to the reader as a story and makes it very readable. She does not use many medical terms that confuse the reader. She introduces the reader to Sybil when Sybil is seeking help from Dr. Wilbur. Then she takes the reader back in time to Sybil¿s younger years when the multiple personalities began. Schreiber holds the reader¿s attention because she creates an interest in what is going to happen next. Even when things are so horrible that the reader thinks the book must be put down curiosity as to what will happen next prevents the reader from putting the book down. The strengths of this book are that it is well written and easy to understand. It is apparent that the author genuinely cares about Sybil and her well-being and never blames her for the abuse that she endured.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2008

    Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

    The outstanding journal of Sybil, who has multiple personalities, to become a whole person. After years of trauma Sybil finally decides it is time that she find herself. The journey to become one Sybil is full of loneliness and despair. Her past holding so many traumas that the journey is ruff. When she finally becomes one she has a since of completion she'd been longing for her whole life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    Sybil Book Review

    The book Sybil is highly recommendable. It is a very fascinating and interesting book. The book will keep the reader wanting more and more. The book is recommendable for high school reading level and no lower. The style of writing, for the most part is understandable. Although, there can be come confusion with all the psychological terms which can be hard for the reader to understand or comprehend. It does take time and focus to read but it is well worth it. Sybil is defiantly recommended as a must-read.

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