Jessica: The autobiography of an infant

Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D.

Book Cover

GENRE

BIOGRAPHICAL DRAMA MEMOIR OTHER

    Core Theme

    THERAPIST DESCRIBES THE THERAPEUTIC PROCESS OF A WOMAN WITH ISSUES REGARDING HER SENSE OF SELF.

    TIME PERIOD

    1940s & '50s,1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE BELL JAR (1979)

    CHARACTER LIST

    JESSICA. NEWBORN TO 30'S. LEAD. SELFLESS, EMPATHETIC, DISTANT, UNSTABLE.

    JEFFREY. 30'S. THERAPIST & STORY NARRATOR. EMPATHETIC, INTUITIVE, SELFLESS, BOLD.

    DOROTHY. 20'S-50'S. JESSICA'S MOM. DISCONNECTED, DISTANT, CRITICAL, IMMATURE.

    ROGER. 20'S - 30'S. JESSICA'S EX-HUSBAND. ROMANTIC, SHALLOW.

    MELISSA. JESSICA'S DAUGHTER. TENDER, JOYFUL.

    Logline

    The journey to recovery by a woman traumatically scarred by fateful events from the first weeks of her life.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Female Leaning

    Setting

    Various locales in southeast (of Detroit) Michigan.

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: iUniverse

    Year Published: 2009

    Starting Description

    Jessica was terrified that the unthinkable had happened when she had been โ€œmade-up.โ€ She had no sense of the โ€œIโ€ part โ€“ the needing, wanting part โ€“ of her psychological make-up. She was forced to imitate a real human being. After two years of little progress, she asked for four hours of therapy a day, several times a week. We met this way for many months.

    Ending Description

    Jessica reconnects with the โ€œIโ€ part of her psychological make-up by travelling back in psychological time to her infancy. It is the most fascinating client experience in the history of psychotherapy. Just like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-0595857630

    Mature Audience Themes

    Sexual Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Jessica

    Age: newborn +

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jeffrey Von Glahn

    Age: 37+

    Gender: Male

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Educated,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Skillful,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Dorothy Thomas

    Age: 20s+

    Gender: Female

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Blunt,Complex,Desperate,Insecure

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    Genre

    DRAMA

    Brief

    After experiencing some signs of mental illness, Jessica decides to give therapy a shot. The writer applies diverse methods on her and finally manages to guide her mentally towards the day she was born, making Jessica fully understand the origins of her disorders.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It does, but I believe he could improve the profile by adding a development pitch.

    Draw of Story

    The book begins with the scene in which Jessica remembers the day she was born. It's a fascinating way to start a story.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The therapy sessions can sound somewhat repetitive, but if we insert memories, flashbacks, and Jessica's life among these meetings, the story could feel less repeated.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    It explores mental health through a professional's point of view. It gives the book a more complex and credible tone. Mental illness is also a very relevant theme nowadays.

    Fanbase Potential

    Not a large fanbase, but this story could definitely draw the attention of people with mental disorders, people who have friends or relatives with mental disorders, and also people who are curious about the subject.

    Awards Potential

    It does have the potential for that. It explores the deep secrets of our minds, and how some facts, that firstly seem inoffensive, can change a person forever. If well developed and directed, with a cast of talented actors, it has potential for Awards.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    A DANGEROUS METHOD - A FILM IN WHICH CARL JUNG APPLIES SOME NEW METHODS TO TREAT SABINA'S HYSTERIA. IN TREATMENT - A SERIES ABOUT A PSYCHOLOGIST WHO CONDUCTS THERAPY SESSIONS WITH HIS PATIENTS.

    Whatโ€™s New About the Story

    The fact that we listen to Jessica's memories from the moment she was still in her mom's womb. It's intriguing because it's a phase of our lives that we have no memories about.

    Lead Characters

    Jessica is a standard woman who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. She has a not very loving mother, and it makes her even more likable. Jeffrey is the author and the character of the book, which gives him complex and believable characteristics.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Not a rare gem, but it can be turned into a good film/series if well structured and if the adaptation gives the story even more dramatic intensity.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Streaming, Film - Indie, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    The author knows his subject very well, and this is a very good start. It gives the story a complex exploration and makes the book more credible, even with its controversial final method. The author also writes well and is able to create a well-structured story. The theme - mental health - is highly relevant. It could draw the audience's attention because a large portion of society make use of therapies to solve their disorders, and people like to see representativeness on screen. The psyche is also a source of curiosity for many, so having a story based on the exploration of memories and the studies of the mind seems a good way to attract the audience. The characters are also well defined, yet portrayed according to the therapist's point of view. They look and sound natural, and it gives the book a familiar tone as if we were reading the story of a friend. The dialogue is as simplistic as the story demands. They are all common people who work, look for help, and struggle. They sound even more realistic this way. Having a therapist as the author is great since he could serve as a personal source of research for the adaptation. He could assist the Screenwriter, Director, and the actors to reach a more realistic result. I just think the adaptation could be more "dramatic." The author is a good writer, but the story could have more tension, more conflicts, and be told in a more cinematic way.

    Brief

    A deeply engaged therapist recovers the path of the outstanding therapeutic process of Jessica, a selfless and apparently cold woman going through frightening episodes of panic crisis.

    What We Liked

    This is a highly philosophical narrative in which the audience is able to follow Jessica and her therapist in their findings regarding her own upbringing and childhood traumas. It is also a prolific window in which audience is invited to consider how the deepest sense of self is built in humans since very early formative moments.

    Film: It would also be an amazing adaptation for film because both main characters, patient and analyst, are profoundly complex and have great story arcs. Turning points in the process are exciting and unpredictable.

    TV: It would be a great adaptation for TV as the steps that comprise the long therapeutic process of Jessica are surprising and often unpredictable, as well as the Jeffrey's methods to get to this apparently unreachable patient.

    Key points: Philosophical narrative; meaningful message; complex characters; unpredictable storyline; relatable female protagonist.

    Synopsis

    Jessica is a selfless and compassionate young woman who struggled to help everyone and never bring worries to her demanding mother; but when she is increasingly suffering with panic attacks and unable to be by herself without getting carried away by overwhelming fear, she is forced to look for help. That is what takes her to Jeffrey's office, a young therapist beginning his career.

    Even though Jessica is looking for help, she is also unable to open up and provide insight into her internal life. After having visited other therapists throughout her life, she was ready to portray everything was fine and leave therapy, but the commitment of Jeffrey to her case leaves her little option but to begin opening up.

    After a series of plateaus during the therapeutic process and a visit from her mom to the therapist revealing that there was more to her life than she was showing, advances are made and Jessica begins revealing some of traumatic passages she has been through during her life, including a sexual abuse when she was only 6 years old.

    Even though those traumatic revelations seem to be the real reason for her crisis, talking about it doesn't seem to help, and those reveal to be only the tip of the iceberg - which were many factors involved in her upbringing.

    As both patient and therapist begin a deeper process when they engage in sessions of many hours several times a week in Jessica's house, including physical manifestations of her healing, Jessica reveals astounding memories which would surprise the most experienced therapists. She reveals details - which were lately confirmed to be real by her mother - of her birth, her life in her mother's womb and other episodes involving her formative moments, even as a newborn.

    This discloses not only the reason for her difficulty in voicing her needs and understanding her fears, but how Jessica deprived herself of her humanness in order to survive.

    The revelations of the process enable Jessica to find a path to recover her sense of self.

    About The Author

    Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D., has been a psychotherapist for 45 years, and counting. That experience has been, and continues to be, more exciting and fulfilling than he had ever imagined.