What The Word On The Street is Reading

I am in the middle of a book called Web of Angels by Lilian Nattel, published by Knopf Canada earlier this year, and what a fantastic read it is!

About the Book

On the surface of things, Sharon Lewis is a lot like any other happily married mother of 3: she is the beating heart of a house full of kids, cooking and chaos, the one who always knows the after-school practice schedule, where her husband put the car keys and who needs a little extra TLC. Her kids and husband think she’s a little spooky, actually, the way she can anticipate the tensions of any situation–and maybe they love her all the more for the extra care she gives them.

Life is definitely good until the morning Heather Edwards, a pregnant teenaged friend of the family, kills herself. The reverberations of that act, and the ugly secrets that sparked it, prove deeply unsettling to the whole family, and stir up Sharon’s own troubling secret: she has DID, or dissociative identity disorder. And the multiples inside the woman the world knows as Sharon seem to know what happened to Heather, and what may be happening to Heather’s surviving sister. Will Sharon’s need to protect the innocent cause her to finally come clean about her true nature with her family and friends, and not just in the anonymous chat rooms on the web where she’s connected to others like herself? Will a woman with DID be able to persuade her quiet and respectable community that evil things can happen even in the nicest homes?

 

This is a very engrossing read, very hard to put down once begun. I find the topic of this novel to be fascinating, especially as I didn’t know much about the disorder prior to picking this book up. There is only one main character in the novel, but so far I’ve met 6 of her personalities, each written with such a different tone and unique character traits. Throughout the novel, Lilian Nattel explores the past and present of the main character’s life, so the reader learns both how the character (Sharon) lives with this disorder and developed it.  Sharon had a very traumatic childhood, and the disorder became her way of dealing with it. Then she begins to see the same signs in her son’s girlfriend, and it’s interesting to see how all of her personalities react to this.

What I find really fascinating, is how the author writes the “switches” between personalities. These transitions are written so that the reader themselves can feel the switch — a moment of fuzziness and confusion to clarity. I don’t know how she does it, but it’s really cool!  I definitely recommend this book, especially to those who work with women with this disorder. I’m reading it with a friend of mine who does and she finds it very insightful and accurate.

– Kristen

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