Sunday, 27 December 2015

Review - Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Title: Beside Myself
Author: Ann Morgan
Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release date: 14th January 2016

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Helen and Ellie are identical twins – like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isn't true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back...

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself – until eventually only 'Smudge' is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sister's dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Beside Myself is a compulsive and darkly brilliant psychological drama about family and identity – what makes us who we are and how very fragile it can be.

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and NetGalley*

2/5 stars

Helen and Ellie are identical twins but while they may look the same they have different personalities - Helen is a leader. Ellie isn't.
One day they decide to swap places. Then Ellie refuses to swap back.
Helen's life starts to spiral out of control as her friends and mother refuse to believe her when she tells them that she is not Ellie.
Years later, Helen (really Ellie (aka Hellie)) is a TV star and Ellie (really Helen who goes by Smudge) is struggling to get by.
Then Hellie is involved in a car accident and put in a coma. Smudge finds herself drawn back into family life.
Can Smudge forgive Hellie for what she did?
Will Hellie wake up?

Beside Myself is told from the past and the present in alternating chapters and I found it interesting to see how Smudge had become who she was.
The premise was interesting - twins who swap identities and then one refuses to swap back - and I found it creepy and felt sorry for both of the twins; it must have been horrible for Helen to have her life taken away from her but Ellie was the least favourite twin (their mother was really mean to her) so I could kind of understand why she did it.
There were some serious themes in the story - suicide, rape and manic depression. I thought the author handled the topics very well but I did find the rape scenes hard to read.
The plot was okay but I lost interest several times and at times found the writing style hard to follow but that was probably because of the manic style.
I didn't enjoy Beside Myself as much as I thought I would.

Overall this was an okay but slightly disappointing read.