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The Beauty of the End
Debbie Howells

from FictionZeal.com re: Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself - Kelli Ann Morgan

Who am I again?  I’m Ellie.  No!  Maybe I’m Helen.  Are you all confused yet?  Well, don’t be.  Helen and Ellie are twins, although Ellie was painfully shy and Helen was ‘the boss’ of the two.  Ellie always followed along with what her sister wanted to do and obeyed everything she told her to do.  So, when Helen instructed Ellie to act like her to see if they could fool people, Ellie paid attention and actually got it right.  She got it so right that it began to be difficult even for Mom to tell them apart.  Now, Ellie kind of liked being in the place of Helen, the smart one and the popular one, and decided that’s whose identity she would keep … with devastating consequences for Helen.  After the girls are grown at the outset of the novel, one is mentally challenged, to say the least, and the other is in a coma.  Will you be able to tell which one is which?

 

At we read, we’re understanding things primarily from Helen’s perspective.  The chapters alternate between when Helen and Ellie were six years old to some twenty years later.  It begs the question of children being molded into the role of how they are labeled by parents; family; adult friends; and teachers.  For instance, if we are called ‘lazy’ or ‘clumsy’ when we are children, do we make those labels fit as we grow up?  Perhaps the extent to which Helen was changed, as a result of their identity switch, is a bit overdramatic but the concept for fictional purposes makes this a very gripping and interesting psychological thriller.  The author, Ann Morgan, does a great job of getting into the head of Helen and making us believe it is all possible.  Rating: 4 out of 5.