Although The United States of Tara hasn’t premiered yet on Showtime, it is getting a lot of publicity. As Diablo Cody — who wrote the fine film Juno — is writing several of the episodes, and an expert (Dr. Richard P. Kluft) and a D.I.D. patient are consultants, I expect it to be done with some realism and seriousness. However, creating an entertainment program out of such a tragic situation is always difficult. When is humor in such a program proper or tasteful?
This review is encouraging:
If you take a look at the series and become interested in more material about D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personalities), I have read a book that I think successfully merges humor and entertainment values with telling a story of D.I.D.– in this case, a true story. It’s an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel (“comic book”), by Madison Clell, entitled Cuckoo.
It tells of her slowly discovering memories of the traumatic events that caused her to have the disorder, and then attempting to cure herself. It is harrowing but it is also told with enough humor that it does not overwhelm you. In fact I found it impossible to put down. Some of the drawings are rough, and some of the lettering takes a minute to decipher, but they reflect the mental state being conveyed. Obviously the content is not for the squeamish and not for children.
Cuckoo is more genuine and straightforward than United States of Tara is likely to be, in that there is no barrier between the author’s own experiences and the reader. She speaks directly to you. Whereas, the cable series Tara is a fictional show created by professional dramatists primarily to entertain.
Get the Trade Paperback of Cuckoo at:
Also, in an unplanned juxtaposition, Cuckoo has been turned into a play, with more material and Madison Clell in a small role, which will be performed on stage during the month of February at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco, just as United States of Tara premieres on Showtime.
Incidentally, Madison Clell, through therapy and her own heroic determination, has managed to cure herself of the disorder. The play of Cuckoo carries the story beyond the book, all the way to her final integration.