Monday, May 14, 2012

Web of Angels (Lilian Nattel, 2012)

The Heroine: Sharon Lewis, the suburban mom of a teenage boy and two young girls. With a knack for finding things, keeping her family on schedule and numerous sewing projects, Sharon's super-mom facade hides a deep secret from the outside world. Sharon has dissociative identity disorder, otherwise known as multiple personality disorder. Caused by childhood trauma, her body is home to a multitude of personalities that occasionally force themselves out. Sharon's secret is threatened when a neighbourhood girl, Heather Edwards, commits suicide and Sharon begins spending time with Heather's younger sister Cathy, whose curious behaviour hints at a dark secret of her own.

The Highs: While I know a little about DID (dissociative identity disorder) from a course I took in psychology at my university, I still didn't really understand the reality of someone who is DID until I read Web of Angels. The author Lilian Nattel handles this complicated disorder with skillful ease, painting what I believe to be an accurate portrayal of someone with DID. Impressive and fascinating, I was completely swept up in Sharon's story and inner life.

Heather and Cathy's story really touched me, especially Cathy's efforts to take care of her sister's baby daughter Linny. I felt very emotional at many points of this book, as Sharon, Cathy and Heather had all been through hell and back. Again, the author handled these sensitive topics and scenes with the appropriate balance of realism and tenderness.

I loved the surprising plot twists and element of mystery in the story. The author has a real knack for pacing, slowly revealing necessary information and secrets as needed through the course of the plot. This kept me reading well into the night!

The Lows: I would definitely slap a warning on this book for scenes and topics of a sensitive nature. This book may not be appropriate for everyone, especially younger readers. I actually found I had trouble sleeping on this night I finished this book as I was a little disturbed by some of the things that went on in the story.

I also had some issues at the beginning of the book with understanding what was going on in Sharon's inner world (the parts labelled INSIDE). At first I found it quite confusing! Thankfully by the end of the book I finally got a grasp on what was going on.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed Web of Angels and would definitely recommend it to a friend. I hope to read another book by Lilian Nattel soon.

Rating: Web of Angels earns eight knitting needles out of ten.

Connect with author Lilian Nattel here
Photo from here

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