Book Review- Twenty-Four Shadows

Sunday, 17 July 2016
Title: Twenty-Four Shadows
Author: Tanya J. Peterson
Pages: 394
Genre: Fiction, Psychology, Contemporary

Rating: 3/5

In her eye-opening and heartrending fourth novel, award winning author Tanya J. Peterson takes us inside the anguished mind of Isaac Bittman-an average family man whose mysterious and progressively violent mood swings, many of which he cannot remember, begin to unravel the lives of those closest to him. After a series of bizarre encounters, including losing his job and waking up half-dead in the wilds of Idaho, he begins treatment at a revolutionary mental health facility, where the childhood trauma he's repressed for decades leads to revelations that his personality has splintered into twenty-four shadows, or "alters." The novel intricately weaves together Isaac's internal angst and his wife and best friend's struggles to retain both a private and public semblance of normalcy. Stark and realistically rendered, Twenty-Four Shadows delves into the thought processes and erratic habits of a regular man dealing with life-altering mental illness, providing an empathetic, insightful glimpse into a misunderstood and often stereotyped condition. -Goodreads

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Apprentice House in return for an honest review.
This is Peterson's fourth novel, and I'll be honest I hadn't heard of her before I requested the novel, I thought the premise sounded intriguing and wanted to check it out. This was a very interesting novel, the topic was absolutely fascinating, the only thing that let it down for me a little was the actual storytelling. The science and information that the author told us was really interesting and also very well told, the problem for me was the story that she tried to weave around the information just fell through.
The novel revolves around a man called Isaac, who after going missing, is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, basically he has 24 personalities inside his conscious mind. This novel doesn't have much action, most of it is the characters coming to terms with Isaac and the disorder, especially his close family; his wife and 5 year old son.
The lack of action and slow pacing made this novel quite difficult to get through, and although the subject matter was really fascinating to me, I would have liked perhaps a little more action to keep me engrossed.
The only other aspect of the novel I was a little irritated by was some of the characters reactions. Especially in the beginning of the novel, where Isaac is experiencing long periods of time which he can't then remember, the characters acted very un-realistically for me. His wife and his best friend realise and acknowledge that he has these periods of forgotten time, and instead of thinking it might be early-onset Alzheimers or maybe a brain tumour, they instead decide to ignore it!! That seemed ridiculous to me, and at that point I did think about just putting the novel down, but I persevered through. I am glad I did, although the characters' reactions are un-lifelike at the beginning, the author writes some of her best work when describing their reactions to Isaac's diagnosis and his switching personalities. By the end of the novel the characters that Peterson had written were well-rounded and well-developed.
Overall I liked this novel, it introduced me to a fascinating subject that I now know much more about, and although the storyline could have been stronger, it was still an enjoyable read.
My thanks to Net Galley and Apprentice House.

Happy reading!!!

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