I was approved Beside Myself by Ann Morgan on NetGalley, and was quite excited to start reading, and I must say it did not disappoint! An interesting storyline concept written exquisitely well!
Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:
About The Book
‘Beside Myself’ by Ann Morgan
Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people’s expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex.
Beside Myself could fall under many genre categories, the main ones being contemporary thriller, mystery and psychological, with sub genres in mental health and drama. Set in England (we all know I love a good novel set in my home country!), Beside Myself follows Helen and Ellie, identical twins who decide to swap places, just as a game, and see if anyone will notice. It was only meant to be a game, but Ellie (playing at being Helen) doesn’t want to swap back. With alternative chapters showing us what happened before and now, we get the idea that a swap back never happened, and how this affected both twins in different ways. Ellie (playing Helen) or ‘Hellie’ succeeded in almost everything she did, and grew up to be a successful TV star. Helen (stuck as Ellie) on the other hand, spirals into the horrors of mental illness; depression, self harm and bipolar. She got tired of trying to explain to the people around her that she wasn’t who they thought she was, but it all gets too much. The storyline is quite complex and strange, as the concept seems quite unrealistic, but the way it is written makes it seem like it could happen everyday. This makes everything quite unpredictable, as everything comes together at the end for a climactic finale. This novel is fast paced, with a well thought out plot, and characters that will keep you captivated throughout.
My favourite character is difficult to pinpoint, as it was hard to connect with the main characters because of the psychologically complex events happening to them. I found that I had sympathy for Helen in the beginning when no-one believed her when she told them she was not Ellie, and this soon grew to anger with all of the other characters who no longer believed the truth. Despite the concept being hard to deem as ‘realistic’, the writing helped the characters come to life and that was a factor that made the book see more like it could happen.
My favourite part of the book was towards the beginning, when the complexity started to really unfold, because I think that’s when the emotions were felt the most, anger especially. These were particularly well written, as it can’t be easy trying convey a character swap in a novel without confusing the reader! I was completely gripped throughout the book, a definite page turner!
I would recommend this book to all overs of contemporary fiction, especially thrillers, mystery and those with psychological twist. Some scenes have the involvement of drugs, sex, mental illness and swearing, which makes this book unsuitable for younger readers.
My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5
Where To Buy
If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):
Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)