This part of the story really changed my views on Lauren. I used to think that she blew things out of proportion, but now things have changed. “I handed him Dr. Neu’s paper. He read it, and then he looked at me. In my opinion, he read it very, very quickly, like maybe thirty seconds, a minute tops, so keep that in mind. ‘This,’ he said, ‘this paper,’ he said, ‘is not real.’ ‘It looks real to me,’ I said. I had absolutely no idea what he meant. ‘I think you should understand,’ he said softly, ‘that I am confrontational in style. And so it is entirely within my style to say that there is no way this paper was written by a doctor, or anyone even remotely related to the medical profession.’. . .’I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘but there is no Dr. Neu. What I mean by that,’ he said, ‘is that there is no Dr. Neu anywhere in the world who would perform a corpus callostomy on a patient with TLE. It’s just not done.” [175-76] When I read this I just said wow to myself. The fact that Dr. Neu might be a made up character. This brought me back to the paper we read in class about Hayward Krieger, and how he was a made up character.And whats ironic is how this made up character is also related to science about how and why people act the way they do.
“I’m sorry, but there is no Dr. Neu.” (178) At this point I was really shocked. Not at the fact that she lied or anything, but at the possibility that Dr.Neu really might not exist. I felt like if Dr. Neu didn’t exist, then she was once again using an escape goat; her way of expressing what she feels. Instead of outright saying well I have this and that disease, she used a doctor figure, someone who is trust worthy and has credibility, to portray what she supposedly had, because then us a the readers would believe her more. Instead, Dr. Neu was just yet another of her lie. The doctor tells her “…therefore, you were only being true to yourself.” (202) I feel like this is Lauren trying to justify and come to terms with herself about her lying. Saying that she was not lying because she was simply expressing her personality, and at the end of the day she was being true to herself.
The whole alcoholics anonymous situation was very interesting to me. I feel like although we know that she was there for the attention that she got and the “welcome” (180) that she felt, there was a lot more to it. When she is giving her drunk-a-logue and she calls what she has a disease she connects this with her epilepsy. However, I feel like she meant that her true disease was the lies that she told. When she ‘relapses’ is when she once again goes back to lying even though there are certain instances when she wants to tell the truth ” I want to tell it as it really was and have them love me, ” (204) That quote to me expressed what most of the novel is about. Lauren just want to be loved and accepted and paid attention to in ways her mother and father never did. She feels as if the only way that she can receive this love and affection is by being different, by having epilepsy, by being a fake alcoholic, and by exaggerating the truths in her life. “I couldn’t think why in the world i should go to classes. They were all in the lecture halls and I was not noticed… no one though me special.” (172) Lauren is constantly needing the attention from all the people that surround her. In reality I think this is what she suffers from, lack of attention and love. Not epilepsy not TLE not Munchhausen, just simply loneliness.
I think that the afterword left me thinking about this novel and how it truly doesn’t matter if what she was saying is truth or not it only matter that this is her story and what she perceived as reality. She author tried to write this story and the only way that she can make us readers truly understand her perspective of her situation is through all the lies and the diseases. I really think that its interest how the author was able to write this memoir as a huge metaphor. I was really left of feeling her loneliness and it all felt like a crazy ride of up and down emotions and it didn’t matter if she was lying or not. If this is what the author was trying to accomplish then I believe she succeeded.
is this book Laurent’s reality or what she wanted to be real? Does Dr. Neu exist? The article she showed to the psychologist was Dr. Neu’s paper. And the psychologist says it’s fake that Dr. Neu was another lie of Lauren “is that there is no Dr. Neu anywhere in the world who would perform a corpus colostomy on a patient with TLE. It’s just not done” (176). This whole book was made in order to fill Laurent’s void, created by her mother. She steal things, feint illness, played with words, lies and cheap. Everything, in order to close that whole within her “perhaps I’ve just felt fitful my whole life; perhaps I’m using metaphor to tell my tale, a tale I know no other way of telling, a tale of my past, my mother and me” (192). Laurent talks about the gift again, and says that she didn’t became what her mother wanted her to be “a gift. And in that mirror we saw who I had not become, the gift I hadn’t given her, so I gave it to her then”(191)
In the last part of the book, I can see that Lauren is trying hard to change herself and not try to tell lies anymore. When Lauren joined a group called the “Alcoholics Anonymous” (180), where she lied to the people in the group that she is a alcoholic but which it wasn’t true. Through the group, she met many different kind of people that helped her changed. When Lauren decide to tell everyone in her group the truth that she isn’t an alcoholic and that she has epilepsy. In the end, she couldn’t do it because it was hard for her to tell everyone that she lied and she says “I felt very bad” (208), and “I felt like a liar” (208). When she was had another chance to tell her group that she isn’t really an alcoholic, everyone in her group told Lauren to not talk about it. Lauren felt “furious” (213), and then she leaves because they were not listening to her and won’t believe what she says.
But after she joined the group, Lauren’s relationship with her mother have changed. When Lauren went to visit her mother and father, she had a conversation with her mother where they were spending some mother and daughter time together. After she visited her family and ate dinner with them, their relationship grew closer because Lauren says that “we all laughed together in a nice way, a little bit close, a little warmth” (191). Overall this book is great because it shows how Lauren change from the beginning to the end of the book.
In the final part I find it harder to believe the Lauren has epilepsy. She gives more information about her lying. She made up different lye just so she can fit in with other. “this, he said, this paper, he said is not real”(p175). The doctor note also makes it clearly that she did not have epically. When the school doctor read the note for dr.neu, it was very clear that she need attention. When the doctor said the note was fake and medical note for doctor is not written that way. Her creditably when out and all her story become lies.
At the end of the novel the mother comes to play another important factor in her lying. “you are becoming just like a daughter to me” (p187). She finally found someone that she can rely on to be a mother. Even though she look up to Elaine as a mother whom she lies to in the novel. She meets someone who she can be honest to but is lie. This makes it harder to know if she has epilepsy.
Overall the book is interesting to treat. It is very difficult to tell whether she have epilepsy or not. The was parts where she try’s to convince the reader that she really have epilepsy and some part that she did not have epilepsy. She told lye after lye that created many problems for her.
finally it ends, i feel like Lauren finally found a place. in the beginning it was a bit confusing to me. i was drawn to the psychologist’s statement of Lauren hallucinating everything that happened to her. he made it sound so realistic that i gave into it. but i m still a bit confused whether the psychologist was right or Lauren was right since she did say she exaggerates.”we should probably talk, he said, about why you need to tell this story, what it really means…. i think i said, i am going to have a seizure right now. what happens to you, he said, when you have seizures? he look concerned….ptyalism is never a symptom that accompanies seizures”(pg176). this is the only part that got me. i couldn’t decide whether this person is pretty much telling the truth or he is trying to scare Lauren and trying to be a pervert as Lauren stated.
even though it seems Lauren finally got to bring out how she feels and that helps her grow even more. especially due to the AA group and her sponsor Amy. now AA group was pretty much for those that were addicted to Alcoholism. Lauren uses this in a way to her advantage, she pretty much lies but i feel at some point this was the beginning of where she found herself and begins to change.”Amy said, it’s okay to cry. you have to feel your feelings. i can’t stand my feelings, i blurted out….my words surprised me….because what i had said was true”(185). the fact she is able to open up to someone and find so many similarities to her childhood and to her mom, kind of give a sense that she is home, or that how i see it.
I am glad to see that, by the end of this novel, Lauren is getting the help that she needs. After reading about her fake interview (from pgs: 172-174), I really thought she lost it, especially when she left her number, expecting people to call her.(pg: 174) When she finally checked herself in “Alcoholics Anonymous”, I thought that she was doing something right for once.
When she finally opens up to her group, not only did I see a change in Lauren but, I also managed to see a change in her mother too. This becomes more apparent when Lauren decided to visit her parents and she notices this change. This long quote provides a good explanation of said change, “Usually her stiffness hurt me, but not tonight. Maybe because of AA, or Elaine, or Amy, or my higher power, or maybe just because I was happy she was happy, a burden off my back, I didn’t mind.”(pg: 189) This shows that Lauren has become more happier and less problematic than she usually was, and that her mother isn’t as aggressive as before. Now that Lauren has seemed help from AA and has practically turned to God(pg: 194), her epilepsy seems to be occurring less and less.
Even though Lauren may have lied many times in her memoir, she claims that “Lying is a book of narrative truth”.(pg: 219) Whether we, the audience, should believe her or not, she claims that what she says is the truth. Whatever the case may be, Lauren’s memoir is sure an interesting one, full of metaphors and “truths”, and it’s uniqueness only adds to it’s mysteriousness.
Lying has finally reached its end and Lauren has been through a difficult journey that she feels will begin as it ended, “I was born from nothing and to nothing I will return” (169). She has been through many dramatic experiences that have changed her and that have molded her into a unique individual. Although it has been years since her epilepsy has affected her physically the effects of her ailment still troubled her mentally.
She still craves to have attention put on her and will refrain from any setting that does not provide what she desires, “I stopped going to classes. They were all in lecture halls, and I was not noticed. No one thought me special” (172). This lack of attention and drive pushes her into a form of depression that prompted for serious soul searching. Her sole peace now in her life was the single institution that has raised her spirits in the past and that has been the Catholic Church, “I visited churches, because they were soothing to me and could possibly take the place of professional counseling” (177). With the help of a church she is seen to have received the help that she truly deserves. All her life Lauren wanted compassion, attention, and freedom but from a positive influence. Sure throughout the story she has received these pleasures and more but as a result of lying, “You know, Dr. Neu, all those seizures I had right before the operation? I brought a lot of them all myself, because I liked the attention” (201). Thanks to the church she learned how to let go and fall so that way she can rise to be a better person an honest true person, “When we give up our desires, when we are willing to sit in emptiness, our new beings are born” (195). Overall this was a beautiful story of how a person can overcome their own struggles to live a life worth striving to have that is better than what she started out with.
The last part of Lying, Lauren finally broke down the paper for our better understanding. She juxtaposed her illness with that of the AA group of alcoholics. She does this by giving reasons has to how the two are the same and how her use of metaphor was really the large part of her book. Lauren I felt was born an attention seeker, someone who always wants to be seen and she was a victim of her own disease which she defined in the book has epilepsy. Not to be taken literal as she states over and over again but its a stand in for her real sickness being a loner and constant attention seeker.
throughout the whole book, Lauren rarely describes her personal characteristics but seem to pay major attention to the causes of epilepsy and and in depth analysis of the disease. I felt she did this because both epilepsy and her desire for attention falls hand in hand. It was ironic how it played out because epileptics crave alot of attention and because of pity they are usually receivers of all the attention and Lauren personally was not getting that. She had kept it all in and this was her way of saying how neglected she was and how she wanted to be noticed. This whole book at first read could be considered a book about a persons physical state but metaphoircal it is something much deeper as we see.
Whether or not the scenes in the book are real or not, matters little because thats not the purpose of the memoir. In fact I think Lauren has she has said many times found it convenient to lie about certain scenes but the results are the same. Fact of the matter is I feel this memoir is not a typical memoir. It has a message, not just a boring life story as regular memoirs.
Interesting way to end her memoir, I think. But this definitely helped me clarify some things i wasnt to sure about. Her encounter with her psychologist at Brandeis brought me back to the time when Lauren had a “seizure” in the supermarket. “this paper […] is not real”(175) we are allowed to see her so called “illness” through the P.O.V of somebody else, just like the cop. Just like the instance in the supermarket with the mother and the cop, Laueren refuses to accept the fact that there never really was any surgecial procedure performed on her. However, she needs to believe there was a surgery performed on her, for her own sake. Which Dr. Neu helps her understand that exageration and trickery is in her personality profile, therefore although she cant help but lie, she is in some sense being true to her self. ” Ive been diagnosed with ptyalism many times”(176). Which is amussing becuase she probably has never heard that medical term ever in her life, but she knew she had to prove the psychiatrist wrong.
I finally realize why she uses metaphor, to “act as if.” Therfore eventually what you “act as if” will become a truth. Which in turn allows me to understand why she so desperately wants her book to be known as a work of Nonfiction. Furthermore I now also agree with Lauren in that the historical truth, isnt always fact because things change and what might’ve been fact at one point in time might not be in another. But the narritive truth is all so sweet becuase it is “bendable and poltically powerful”(afterword). Which is why she lies because she can bend it and play around with it inorder to fill a void, which even after reading the book cover to cover im still not sure what that void is.
Although I felt the memoir had no actual ending or a sense a of closure, I believe that’s what Lauren actually was aiming for. “When all is said and done, there is only one kind of illness memoir I can see to write, and that’s a slippery, playful, impish, exasperating text, shaped, if it could be, like a question mark”(221). An amazing ending! Which I believe is perfect because truly im left with a bunch of questions that have yet to be answered and I knkw won’t be answered. So therefore everything is left to interpretation. The tale ends and yet I wish it hadn’t. Like humbert she created a mental prison, but through her use of words she successfully escaped. Even though humbert never said it and now it might totally be irrelevant but through their writing they both gained a sense of peace and serenity. ” I have told it all and it is a relief. A relief to put it to rest”(220).