Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Beside Myself - Ann Morgan - Review AND Giveaway
And that's the premise behind Ann Morgan's new book - Beside Myself. Helen and Ellie are twins. Helen is seemingly more intelligent than than Ellie. One day, Helen decides that it would be fun to switch identities for a day to fool people. But when the day is done...Ellie decides that she has no intention of switching back. And no one believes a word Helen says when she insists she is Helen, not Ellie. Turns out Ellie was a little smarter than Helen gave her credit for.
But...."If I keep just keep being Helen, I tell myself, then sooner or later the truth will be there for everyone to see." Or will it?
When I first saw the synopsis, I was intrigued - I love psychological twisty thrillers. But Morgan's story unfurled in a way I hadn't predicted. The driving force and voice behind Beside Myself is that of the original Helen, now an adult. We are treated to flashbacks of childhood and of original Helen's life as the years go by, told in an erratic timeline.
Helen has lived her life as Ellie - the twin not expected to amount to much, with her limited intelligence and her emotional and mental instability. Now living life as her twin, Helen manages to fill Ellie's shoes, descending into a life of drug abuse, mental illness and poverty completely alienated from her family.
In the present day, original Ellie is in a coma and her husband is desperate to find her sister, hoping that will help to wake her up. And so the twin's lives will cross paths again. Will the truth ever be revealed?
Beside Myself isn't really a thriller, but instead is a exploration and descent into the madness and mind of a severely damaged woman. I found many of the scenes and circumstances difficult to read. Helen is not the only damaged person in her family - Mom has her own issues. This is a dark read, with language and situations that suck the reader into the murk that is Helen's mind and world - a truly scary place.
Readers will have to be on their toes in the beginning of the book to keep straight who is talking - it it Helen - or is it Ellie? And you might need to take a break from the intensity of Helen's madness - I had to. But I'm in awe of Morgan's writing and depiction of a mind in chaos. Morgan throws in a nice twist at the end that was unexpected.
And if you'd like to own a copy of Beside Myself, I have one to giveaway, courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.
"Ann Morgan is the author of The World Between Two Covers, based on her year-long journey around the world via books from every country. She continues to blog about her adventures with world literature at ayearofreadingtheworld.com. Morgan’s writing has also appeared in The Independent, The Financial Times, The Scotsman, BBC Culture, and The Guardian, among many others. She lives in London." You can also connect with Ann on Twitter and like her on Facebook. See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.