Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan

Sybil Exposed

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan was so much more than I expected!  Do you remember Sybil?  You know, girl with 16 different personalities?  You probably read about her in psychology class or maybe even have seen the Sally Fields movie?

If you haven’t read Sybil, I highly suggest you do so (I reviewed it recently!), and then I suggest you grab Sybil Exposed as a sequel.  Just so you know, if you haven’t checked out Sybil yet, you can still read this review because it’s not going to give away Sybil spoilers.

Debbie Nathan dives into research about one of the most famous cases of multiple personality: Sybil.  She uncovers facts that show that the nonfictional story of Sybil is a fabrication.

And while this might not seem like it would be interesting to all of you, it was very readable and high interest.  Nathan delves into the pasts of the three main characters of Sybil: Sybil herself, Dr. Connie Wilbur the doctor, and Flora Rheta Schreiber the author.

If you’re a nonfiction/psychology buff, then this book should top your reading list.

As a side note, I was reading Goodreads reviews about Sybil Exposed and came across this one from “Sybil’s closest living relative.”  She tried to make Debbie Nathan sound like a liar, but Debbie was awesome: she shot back without insulting, and stuck to the facts.  Seriously worth checking out the conversation.

Have you read about this famous case of multiple personalities?  What do you think?

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Interested in getting your own copy? Check it out on Amazon & IndieBound. I get a small percentage if you purchase from those links, and it doesn’t cost you any extra.

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29 thoughts on “Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan

    • Yeah! Sybil is a “nonfiction” book. But after its publication lots of stuff came out about it being fictionalized. Sybil Exposed’s author Debbie Nathan delves into the truth about it. It’s sooooo interesting!

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  1. I haven’t read Sybil, but this book sounds fascinating! I love the idea of getting the real story and learning more about psychology; I never got around to taking a psych class in college, so I want to try reading about it!

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    • This is a good place to start! Except I highly advise you treat it kind of like a series, with Sybil being book 1, and then Sybil Exposed being book 2. I think you’ll enjoy it, too, Leah, knowing the kind of things you like to read about.

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  2. I read Sybil years ago. I have not heard of this book, but I am going to have to read this. I find the idea of Dissociative Identity Disoder (Multiple Personality Disorder) to be extremely fascinating. I am in grad school for clinical psychology, and I have heard mixed opinions about this disorder.

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    • I hope you enjoy them. I encouraged both my sister and mom to reread Sybil and pick up Sybil Exposed bc they both like psych stuff, too.

      I wasn’t sure how Syb Exp would be, but it was way better than what I expected!

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  3. One night during a sleepover my BFF and I watched most of the Sybil movie, but then it CUT OUT and we never found out what happened! Apparently we didn’t care enough to seek it out… Or to explain to our parents why we wanted to rent Sybil at Blockbuster…

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    • Hahaha. . . does Blockbuster even still exist? The movie isn’t on Netflix, I’ve never seen it but according to Sybil Exposed the movie took a lot of liberties with the actual Sybil book, which is kind of funny since the Sybil book took liberties with the story of the actual Sybil girl. Oy. Complications.

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  4. Hi Rebecca!
    I have never had psychology as a subject, so I suppose that’s why I have never heard about Sybil. I have read your review of that book and I’m interested, so I will give it a try. Perhaps then I will read this one. It sounds really like sci-fi – 16 personalities!

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  5. With a psychiatric nurse for a Mom and having spent 3.5 years working as a mental health worker myself, I find multiple personality disorders very intriguing. I even had an aunt who was treated for it at one point; also, I’m a non-fiction nut, so I DEFINITELY would be intrigued to read this book. Thanks for sharing…and for piquing my interest! (Also, perhaps a good Christmas gift for my reader of a Mom?)

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    • Yes! I easily convinced my mom and sister to get copies of both Sybil and Sybil Exposed. I do think that thinking of the books as a series (even though one is saying “this is true” and the other is saying “um its not”) is a really good way to go about it. Rereading Sybil before reading Sybil Exposed was very helpful for me, so it might be helpful for your Mom, too, if you choose to do it as a gift.

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    • It is. . . but only to a point. Sybil had serious mental issues, but Debbie Nathan and research seems to point to the fact that Sybil felt like she needed to conform to what her doctor thought she had in order to keep her attention. So it’s kind of a fictional-nonfiction.

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