anne heche has outed herself once again. The talented actor -- known for her very public love affair with Ellen DeGeneres and a recent breakdown that left her wandering around the California desert in her bra waiting for the alien mother ship to take her home -- has written an autobiography that lets everyone know she was crazy but is now fine. After reading Call Me Crazy, though, I'm not sure she should be referring to her insanity in the past tense. This a purge bio, an emotional work written to expel demons that in Heche's case are frighteningly destructive. In an excitable, conversational tone, Heche reveals that she was sexually abused as a toddler by her closeted gay father, who died of AIDS when she was 13. She describes growing up poor and emotionally cut off from her mother, and she's convinced it was her mother's rejection of her memories of abuse that pushed her over the edge, opening the psychological rift that left her believing she was the reincarnation of God, an entity called Celestia who came from the fourth dimension.
Don't expect juicy details concerning Heche's love affairs with Steve Martin and DeGeneres, although she does explain the reasons she fell in love with them and the reasons she split up with them. She's more interested in cleaning the slate, and thinks she's healed herself by writing this book.
But this kind of zealous "I'm a survivor" mentality is dangerously naive. Yes, Heche has crossed over into insanity and returned to tell us all about it, but true mental health doesn't manifest itself in one fell artistic swoop. The world is full of creative people who spend their entire careers using their talent to work through issues. You get the feeling Heche's book is only the first step in her journey to wellness.
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call me crazy by Anne Heche (Simon & Schuster), 288 pages, $38 cloth. Rating: NN