Twenty-Four Shadows
by Tanya J. Peterson
Apprentice House

"As it always did to him, the depression pressed down from every angle imaginable and, ruthless, it didn't stop on the outside but penetrated him in every way possible."

Isaac Bittman has had "episodes" his whole life, moments gone from his memory preceded and followed by intense, crushing headaches. Lately, though, they've been getting worse. The fifth birthday of his son and the breakup of his best friends, followed by losing his job, are the last straws that send Isaac down a road toward discovering a truth that will change his life—and the life of his loved ones—forever.

Isaac's experiences paint a realistic portrait of what it's like to live with a mental illness, especially a commonly misunderstood one. Although the story itself is fictional, the content and disorder is clearly thoroughly researched. Twenty-Four Shadows reads like a dramatization of a real-world case of Dissociative Identity Disorder, thanks to Peterson's skill at humanizing the disorder while maintaining scientific integrity. Peterson seamlessly jumps between Isaac's different personas and shows the world through his eyes, as he struggles to come to terms with his diagnosis and the demons of his past. Peterson does not romanticize the causes of the disorders (a significant childhood trauma). She instead focuses on the experience of identifying the disorder and beginning the journey toward rehabilitation. More importantly, Peterson surrounds Isaac with loving and supportive people who want to help him get better, weaving a crucial support system for Isaac while highlighting the importance of their positive support and love.

There are no "bad guys" in this novel; the antagonist is Isaac's own mind. This is a must-read for anyone trying to come to terms with a loved one's mental illness or interested in learning what it's like to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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