The most I knew about Walter Freeman, the neurosurgeon who popularized the use of lobotomies with an ice pick, was that he once held a conference in which he poured out a box filled with Christmas cards from the families of his former patients. He did this in response to criticism about his techniques and inquiries about whether lobotomies were actually curing ailments or merely reducing people to a vegetative state.In true dramatic fashion, Freeman shook the cards out of the box and demanded to know if any other doctors in the audience got as many cards from the families of their patients. What I didn't know is that Howard Dully was on the stage with him, along with other Freeman patients, and the uproar that led to the card demonstration was that the other physicians were appalled that Dully, then a twelve year old child, had been lobotomized.Dully was a typical child, but his stepmother despised him so much that she arranged for his lobotomy, and afterward Dully spent his life in asylums and prisons for most of his life. He describes his wayward time as a feeling of perpetual helplessness:"It was like you were in a river, caught in the current, and you were going whatever way it took you. You knew you had no control over your own destiny. So you didn't dream, and you didn't plan. There was no reason to plan. You knew you had to survive what you were going through, and the way to make it survivable was to try to have fun."Dully's idea of fun landed him in jail numerous times, and it wasn't until he was an adult that he started to wonder why he had his operation. His research lead to a program on NPR, which was so popular that the incoming emails crashed the NPR server, the first time that had ever happened. The prose isn't good. Most of the book is unnecessary background, and writing like this:"They had a look in the glove compartment. They found the gun. Then they looked in the trunk. They found some tools. It was probably just pliers and stuff. But to these cops, they looked like burglary tools. So they arrested us on a bunch of charges, including robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property, and possession of buglary tools."Still, I think it is worth a read because of Howard Dully's story. It's a heartbreaking one for me, as a stepchild, stepparent, and person with mental illness. Dully's courage to discover the truth and confront his father - and forgive him in his complacency with the operation - is nothing short of inspiring.