"At some point in my ramblings through the book stalls of New England I found a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition- Revised). This was the famous DSM-III-R that had been waved, quoted and thumped at Wayne Lo's criminal trial.

I don't remember where I was when I found it. Bookshops, to a hardworking book scout, can be like saloons to a man on a bender. After a while all the saloons turn into one big saloon. Nor can I recall exactly when I found it, except that it was a used book by the time it came my way, meaning it had probably been supplanted by DSM-IV.

I do, however, have a clear recollection of what it felt like to discover the book. It was in a box of paperbacks, and the yellow lettering jumped out at me from the blue background of the cover. DSM-III-R! I paused, trying to recall what meaning that designation had for me, and then it all came back in a rush, knocking me from the comfort of my book scouting routine into the painful days of Wayne Lo's criminal trial. Here it was, the "premier diagnostic instrument," a big, fat paperback, 600 pages long. It would be my key to the knowledge of the shrinks, and it only cost me $10.

I took it home and put it on my desk, where it sat, untouched, for a year or more, until a process of elimination brought me back to it."

from Chapter 23, A NARROW MADNESS.

return to photo album index