An engrossing, often disturbing, look into the inner life of a paranoid schizophrenic, The Voices of Robby Wilde has greatly advanced the popular understanding of mental illness since its first publication in 1987. Robby Wilde heard his first "voice" when he was nine years old--a man's voice clearly saying, "I've got you!" With increasing frequency and intensity, such hostile uttering would vex Wilde for the rest of his life, distorting his behavior and shattering his self-esteem.
Some ten years before his death at age fifty-three, Wilde asked his friend Elizabeth Kytle to write about his affliction. Ranging in time from Wilde's youth in rural North Carolina to his impoverished last days in Columbus, Ohio, Kytle chronicles the slow unraveling and final breakdown of a life. Different views of Wilde, his illness, and his struggle to live and work as a "normal" person come forth in a series of twice-told tales; accounts based on Wilde's own recollections alternate with sometimes vastly differing reports of the same incidents by friends, family members, coworkers, and others who knew and cared about him.
Wilde's story, heightened by his longing to be understood and his acute grasp of his own situation, will challenge readers to new levels of respect and compassion for the mentally ill.