By Dale Bick Carlson
Published by Atheneum in March 1977
: Grades 8-12
This is a story of a young teen boy who has Multiple Personality Disorder (known now as Dissociative Identity Disorder). It’s a young adult version of Three Faces of Eve. There are, unfortunately, many flaws in this book.
The main character in this story is Paul, a high school student who lives in a beach town. He is the son of an alcoholic mother and a father who is mentioned as psychotic, but only around occasionally over the last seven years due to divorce. His parents blame him for this little brother’s death, which he witnessed when he was only six years old. Paul blames himself for his parents’ divorce. Paul has two other personalities, Mike, and George. He does not know this. He has blackouts when these other personalities assert themselves. He finds himself confused often, as people tell him he did or said things he does not remember, and that he acted differently. His mother calls him “moody” which Paul does not understand.
Paul befriends John Marsh, a neighbor who is studying to become a psychiatrist. John recognizes the nature of Paul’s disorder and it is through John Marsh’s efforts that allow Paul to begin psychiatric treatment. Paul/Mike/George have two friends their own age. One being Frank, and the other being a girlfriend, Claire.
The author simplified this disorder too much in this book. The appearance of the other personalities is too convenient. Paul is too suggestible, even for a mentally ill teenager. His response to therapy is too simplistic as well. This book is worth a read but is rather disappointing in ways. This disorder is much more complicated than how this book portrays it.