Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls by Matt Ruff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was initially drawn to this novel because of my own interest in psychology and my years working as a social worker. I am specifically interested in multiple personality disorder after I counseled a woman who was diagnosed with MPD for about a year. Working with her was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
I wasn't sure if this book could live up to its premise as it focuses on not one but two people living with MPD. But, Matt Ruff simply amazed me with what he created in this novel. First and foremost, it resonated very closely to my experience with the client that I worked with who lived with this disorder. He obviously did a great deal of research while working on this novel ... it certainly rings true psychologically and emotionally. The novel is constructed in such a way that, when looked at as a whole, its amazing what the author has created with this novel. It's really a masterpiece of fiction in that respect. All of these threads come together throughout the book to make a fantastic story that came alive for me, taking me along for a ride that I never expected. There were twists and turns throughout. Each twist and turn was believable and resonated with me as a reader.
Matt Ruff is a good writer and his ability to take a complex disorder and make it readable and understandable is just not something that every writer can do effectively. Mr. Ruff excelled at this. The characters were also believable, understandable, complex and compelling. EXCELLENT character writing! I'm not going to get into the plot because one of the best things about the reading experience for me was discovering the plot as it moved me along. This is a book best read with very little information. It will grab you and not let go until the final sentence. It's that good.
This is a book that I didn't want to put down. So much so that I spent most of Sunday reading it despite having a TON to do around the house. I felt unable to do a thing until I'd finished the book. I couldn't do the mundane stuff of life while I had this amazing, incredible story waiting for me.
I definitely, without a doubt, recommend this book. Particularly if you are interested in mental health issues and the social and emotional impact of those mental health issues. This is probably my favorite read of 2011 so far ... one that you should definitely look into reading!
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