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The Boston Globe


Book Review

‘Dora: A Headcase’ by Lidia Yuknavitch

Ida Bauer, the 18-year-old hysteric Sigmund Freud called Dora in his first and most famous case study, came in for treatment in 1900. She couldn’t speak, perhaps from the indignity of having reported the advances of a family friend to parents who didn’t believe her. She found Freud off-putting and stopped seeing him after less than three months.

Lidia Yuknavitch, author of the memoir “The Chronology of Water” and founder of experimental publishing house Chiasmus Press, has updated Ida for the Internet era and made her the narrator of her debut novel, set in Seattle. In “Dora: A Headcase,” Ida has a foul mouth, a fondness for prescription pills, and a real knack with high-tech recording equipment. She’s also a cutter. These attributes qualify her as a Scary Young Person, the kind to which “60 Minutes” might devote a special report.

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