Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#BookReview: sounds like crazy - Shana Mahaffey

"Six more hours and I, Holly Miller, could mark off another milestone - twelve Christmases spent alone. Well, technically not alone if you counted the Committee."

College grad Holly Miller can't seem to hold a job for more than three months. She's waited tables at every greasy spoon imaginable and is about to get fired yet again when a chance encounter with a personal assistant changes her life. When he hears his dowdy waitress speaking in a voice straight out of Gone with the Wind, Michael is determined to get her in front of his boss, who just happens to be working on a new animated series. Everyone falls for "the voice" and Holly doesn't have the nerve to tell them that it's not really her speaking, but Betty Jane. Holly Miller has five people living inside her head.

The most explosive of her voices, Betty Jane is a spoiled southern belle. While the other members of "the committee" would love to see her go, Holly isn't ready to give her up. Thanks to the voice of Betty Jane, Holly is able to upgrade her life, but when Betty Jane asks for full control, Holly's world is turned upside and the last straw is a meltdown on national TV.

Forced back into therapy, Holly begins to discover the reasons Betty Jane, Sarge, the Silent One, the little boy and Ruffles entered her life and must make the decision to keep the Committee with Betty Jane in charge, or take charge of her own life.

I really liked this book. There were so many layers to peel back and in discovering Holly's child hood, it wasn't hard to figure out why her different voices emerged in an attempt to protect her. I was shocked at the way her parents treated her as a child and even more at the way she is kept at a distance even as an adult, being told not to come home for the holidays because she's too much to handle.

In her debut novel, author Shana Mahaffey, does an excellent job of capturing the ups and downs of someone living with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Unlike multiple personalities, which were highlighted in book and on screen in Sybil, where people lose track of time as other personalities take over and is usually unaware that these other personalities exist; with DID the person is well aware that another personality is in control, but does not have the ability to stop them. While this is a serious matter, sounds like crazy approaches this disorder with just enough humor to keep the reader interested.

367 pp
Published: October 2009

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