Beside Myself

Beside Myself

Book - 2016
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Six-year-old Helen and Ellie are identical twins, but Helen is smarter, more popular, and their mother's favorite. Ellie, on the other hand, requires special instruction at school, is friendless, and is punished at every turn.

Until they decide to swap places--just for fun, and just for one day--and Ellie refuses to switch back. Everything of Helen's, from her toys to her friends to her identity, now belongs to her sister. With those around her oblivious to her plight, the girl who used to be Helen loses her sense of self and withdraws into a spiral of behavioral problems, delinquency, and mental illness. In time, she's not even sure of her memory of the switch.

Twenty-five years later, she receives a call that threatens to pull her back into her sister's dangerous orbit. Will she take this chance to face her past?

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2016
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781632864338
Characteristics: 319 pages ; 25 cm
Call Number: MORGAN, A


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A pageturner, but in a way that makes you feel like you almost don't want to keep reading . . . but can't stop yourself.
I found Helen to be a very compelling character, even though I would read and cringe at the same time. She gets caught up in an awful kind of life, and her mother is an absolute monster. As the story progressed, I couldn't be sure what was going to happen next, but I liked that. The book was strange, and disturbing . . . but I couldn't look away. Is it a book for everyone? Definitely not. But if you're looking for a different kind of psychological thriller, with a potentially unreliable narrator, this is your kind of story.

Feb 23, 2016

What a great read and a brilliant first novel. It took me a while to get into it as it was a bit slow to begin with and I found it a little messy while it was laying out the premise of the twin sisters who swapped identities as a joke -until one didn't want to swap back. This continued through into their adult lives with all the consequences that came with it. It became quite unsettling, strangely disturbing and full of surprises.

ChristchurchLib Feb 09, 2016

In a bid to get attention, identical twin sisters Helen and Ellie decide to swap identities. Helen's always been the golden child, while Ellie's the difficult one, so when Ellie pretends to be Helen, she finally gets the positive attention she craves. She refuses to switch back, and eventually grows into a successful young woman. The original Helen, however, fulfills her mother's expectations of Ellie, and exists on the margins of society. Told in two timelines from Helen's point of view, this is a fascinating exploration of nature, nurture, identity, and mental illness.


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