Beside Myself is a literary thriller that had a lot of tongues wagging when it was released several months ago and it's not difficult to see why--the premise is utterly intriguing. Six year old identical twins, Helen and Ellie agree to swap places just for one day. But when Ellie refuses to swap back, the course of Helen's life is changed forever. While she watches her twin live a happy life, her own is filled with illness and addiction, and no one will believe her claims that she is Helen and not Ellie ...
This novel is complex and intriguing. It's also dark as hell and depressing. And, language warning everyone (and my sincere apologies to the author and publisher,) but that twist at the end is utterly fucked. Or brilliant if you look at it through the perspective of the complexities of human nature and ego. (Or the unwillingness of some people to admit they were wrong, and had been hoodwinked by a six year old, to the point where they were willing to cause significant harm to another person and their wellbeing.) There is no real sense of justice here, which may have been the author's goal, considering the underlying moral to the story. As a metaphor for sexual, physical or psychological abuse, it shows some incredible insight.
On a more positive note, Beside Myself raises some important questions about how a persons upbringing can shape their adulthood, and the serious damage that can be done when an adult chooses not to listen, or not to believe, a child when they tell them something important.
Recommended to readers who want to ponder big questions about how adults are shaped by their upbringing.