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The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity Paperback – 1 Dec 1979
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Top customer reviews
Don't think you'll like the book if you liked the film. It's an in depth character study and lacks any feeling, allthough I seriously doubt Montagu didn't feel for the Elephant Man
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Though I respect the reviews of others here, I have to respectfully disagree with what some have said doubting the influence of his mother, for two reasons. The first and foremost being that Mr. Montagu gives more than enough information as to allow the reader to make their own informed decision, even if they do not agree with his views. The second reason being that the idea of Joseph's father being the shining beacon in young Joseph's life is very unlikely. Joseph Merrick's father let him be sent away to work at age 12. Keep in mind, a hip injury had left him practically lame, and he had almost no use of his right arm. One day his father beat him severely when he spent too much money, which money he earned himself, on food. There is no record of him making any attempt to recover Joseph when Joseph left home for good at the age of 14. (Mr. Treves thought Joseph's mother had sent him to the workhouses, however, Mr Montegu proves this assumption wrong) I would say that Mr Montegu places such importance on Joseph's mother simply because it seems quite impossible that such an importance could be ascribed to the father given the facts.
To this day, I can not fathom Joseph Merrick; by all accounts, after everything that happened to him, he should have been bitter and spiteful to the core, yet he was was instead a shining example of courage, dignity, and the human spirit. This book illuminates that undying spirit in a way that is hard to describe. I would recommend this book to everybody.
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