Lauren’s relationship with male figures is currently directed towards Dr. Neu. Dr. Neu is Lauren’s pediatric doctor who performs her procedure on her brain. ” He had long talks with me in the hospital cafeteria, telling me I would his patient for years to come” (94). From Dr.Neu talks with Lauren, she began to create this future with him. Lauren would go into details about there visits, thinking she was the only one in his life and they would fall in love with each other. Lauren created these thoughts about Dr.Neu before the day of her surgery where she realized Dr. Neu was not the only one in his life. After facing the reality of Dr. Neu’s family Lauren was shocked and began to release some of her emotions,causing her to cry.
Lauren had an imaginary mind that seeks the attention to be loved. She even thought of steeling a baby, to become a baby.
” I didn’t want the baby, but to be the baby” (85).I think Lauren wanting to become a baby is from wanting to be loved. Babies are young, fragile and get attention from any and everyone. Babies also need people to depend on in order to live and survive. Lauren wanted to be the baby, to get all the attention and love, she wanted and missed from her mother and father. Lauren father was absent for most of the story and her mother was there but was to overwhelming with emotions causing friction between Lauren and her mother.
Finally Lauren reaches out to get help. I was actually happy for the narrator Lauren as towards the end she became more of herself. She sort of embraced the fact of who she was. Because Lauren went to the AA group of alcoholics she helps me as the reader understand that her illness was much more than an illness. It was definitely a comparison to what everyday people go through whether or not it’s a disease just like stated “everyone in AA was battling against this disease of alcoholism as I, too, had battled against the disease o epilepsy” . As the narrator starts off chapter eight she starts off with “I was born from nothing and to nothing I will return.” (169). As I states before I believe this is just her coming to terms that who she is what she will always be.
As I finished the book it basically left me with the terms of Lauren epilepsy being the definition of her wanting to gain attention. Whether she received the attention and then losing it, it was what caused her everyday trouble.
When Lauren visit the psychologist and he told her that the paper was a lie (176) “this, he said, this paper , he said , is not real” brought to my attention that it was one of her routines of where she thought she could once again gain attention from but it failed her. The book in my opinion was about her trying to get attention because of the fact she lacked it from the people who meant the most to her.
At newcomers’ night at the AA meeting, Lauren is urged to tell her story to everyone. Lauren wants to finally tell everyone the truth that she is not an alcoholic, but she is afraid of the risk of doing so. She don’t want to disappoint them or make the angry. She’s afraid of changing how the group sees her. She gets so scared that she “relapsed, just like an alcoholic” (204). She instead uses her words to tell the truth but bury it in the words with metaphor. She tells her story whole story but instead of epilepsy, she says she’s an alcoholic.She main point during her story was that “it’s a disease of relapse” (206). She is motivating/inspiring everyone in the group and helping them not to relapse, when she is relapsing by lying much more.
When Lauren does finally tell the truth to the group, she gets angry and feels “hate” (214). She feels this way because the group doesn’t believe her and thinks that she is just in denial about being an alcoholic. It infuriates her because they will never get to know the her real self.
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.