Imagine growing up smart, ambitious, and queer in a home where your father Sigmund Freud thinks that women should aspire to be wives and calls lesbianism a gateway to mental illness. He also says that lesbianism is always caused by the father, and is usually curable by psychoanalysis.
Then he analyzes you.
Ultimately Anna Freud loved Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham (heir to the Tiffany fortune) for 54 years. They raised a family together and became psychoanalysts in their own right, specializing in work with children. But first Anna had to navigate childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood in a famous family where her kind of romantic longings were considered dangerous.
What was it like to grow up the lesbian daughter of “the great Sigmund Freud”? Aside from Anna’s sexuality and from her father’s intrusive psychoanalysis of her, what were the Freud family's most closely closeted skeletons? What is it about the birth of psychoanalysis that even today's psychoanalysts would prefer to keep secret? How did Anna defy her father so thoroughly while continuing to love him and learn from him?
Weaving a grand tale out of a pile of crazy facts, Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story lets the pioneering child psychologist freely examine the forces that shaped her life.