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Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind Paperback – 1 May 2009

103 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 028307101X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283071010
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Alice's book, Today I'm Alice, is a compelling account of the strategies she has used to survive more than two decades of grotesque sexual, physical and emotional harm... Her book tells this story in the manner of a curtain being drawn back.'
-- Times Online

'This isn't a misery memoir, but an account of mental illness that's so beautifully written it reminded me of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Jamieson survived 100 overdoses, alcoholism and cocaine addiction to find love with a church warden. You won't be able to get her story out of your head.' -- London Lite

'an intelligent, first hand account of mental illness, written by a remarkable woman still learning to live with herself.'
-- Financial Times

Review

'Alice's book, Today I'm Alice, is a compelling account of the strategies she has used to survive more than two decades of grotesque sexual, physical and emotional harm... Her book tells this story in the manner of a curtain being drawn back.'

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. J. D. White VINE VOICE on 16 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am really struggling with what to write as a review for this novel, I finished it nearly a week ago and have sat down to review it half a dozen times and failed each time....

The novel itself is amazingly well written, its humorous and tragic, thought provoking and terrifying. But at the same time I felt that I couldn't really connect with Alice, in some ways I think the disconnect was the horror of what had happened to her and simple manner of fact description of the sexual abuse, which I found in no way prurient or sensationalistic. In some ways the descriptions where to clinical/dispassionate for me, I found many other parts of the novel to be far more emotional such as the descriptions of her travelling and her relationship with her grandfather and mother.

Reading other reviews I have seen many mentions of 'misery memoir' and feel that isn't a label I would apply to this book, in no way does the author dwell on her pain or suffering (although it often mentioned) that isn't the focus of this novel, that was her mental health problems and her relationship(s) with the NHS and various health professionals, which is where my biggest criticism of the novel comes in, I wish a little bit more time had been spent on this and the book had investigated how and why she reacted to the various professionals in the manner she did. I don't mean this as a criticism of her actions but more to enlighten as to the problems she faced and how she thought/thinks things might be improved.

At the end of the day this is a horrific tale of the struggle of a girl/woman to come to terms with what was done to her, its her personal tale and not a case study / medical text book. My heart goes out to Alice, which is how I would expect any reader of this book to react.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Wright VINE VOICE on 14 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Reading the title of Alice Jamieson's book, "Today I'm Alice: A memoir of multiple personality disorder," I thought that this book would focus mainly on MPD. However after reading Alice's story, mainly centred around sexual, physical and emotional abuse, I have realised that MPD is a coping mechanism Alice developed from the age of 2 to protect her from the pain of the abuse she suffered in the hands of her father, which lasted throughout her childhood years. Jamieson along with Clifford Thurlow sensitively explore Alice's life from horrendous suffering to self-harm, alcohol and drug addiction to finding love.

Although this book would be in the category of "tragic life stories," Alice does not seek symapthy or focus on her suffering but explains her memories simply, clearly and in a matter-of-fact way. From reading this book I have a clearer view of MPD and mental illness and I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in the subject or who would like to read a powerful story of struggle and survival.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. White VINE VOICE on 3 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Personally I found this book to be a very moving and sometimes blunt account of what can happen when a child is sexually abused from such a young age. The whole way the tale is structured keeps you compelled to carry on reading and I was rather sad that my busy schedule of late meant that I have had to read this over a month, where-as usually I am an avid reader and would finish this within a week or a long weekend.

This 'story' hit me particularly hard (especially since I attend Huddersfield University) and after every session would leave me feeling sad. Obviously Alice's circumstances and what she had to go through after are much worse then anything I have been through, yet the way it is written draws similarities and idea's that are easy to draw parallel to your own times of feeling down and therefore makes Alice seems much more real and understandable.

Alice's alters are also rather entertaining, if not sometimes shocking such as one who is angry and harm himself (an therefore Alice). I did especially like Billy however, a 5 year old who likes Lego.

The reason for the lack of five stars however comes down to the ending, which I feel was rushed and was almost as if now the timeline was coming up to how Alice is today she felt reluctant to explain aspects of her life. I felt very connected to her all the way up until you find out that she does drugs and then with the rushed ending I suddenly found myself not caring at all how she has turned out today. It is written is such a brief way that I don't really get much of a sense about how day-to-day life is for her now, which annoyed me.

Still a very very compelling book and I believe one that everybody should read to gain a better understanding of a lot of mental issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The above quote for my review comes from the book "Multiple Personality Disorder" by Colin A. Ross. This book, which is quoted by Alice Jamieson in her memoir of MPD, succintly put in words for Alice how her multiples came into being.
TODAY I'M ALICE is a very personal memoir of the most horrific abuse a parent can inflict upon a child. Reading it, obviously, is often harrowing and sickening - knowing that a person who is meant to protect a child abuse that in such a dire, malignant way makes for very uncomfortable reading. However, Alice's memoir is not just a 'misery memoir'. It is a way of trying to explain how it feels to live with such a chronic condition as multiple personality disorder (also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder). Before she was properly diagnosed, Alice suffered years of anorexia, self-harm, alcohol abuse, OCD, nightmares, flashbacks and insomnia. She does not put blame on the professionals who helper her but failed to make the proper full diagnosis - instead, as she points out herself, there were often times throughout her various therapies where she decided how much to give, how much to let the counsellor / psychiatrist into her internal world.

As someone who works in the field of sexual abuse, I found TODAY I'M ALICE an interesting and valuable way of learning about a very complex disorder. The majority of the book is the examination of Alice's life; her family as she is growing up and how the memories of her abuse slowly came back to her over the oncoming years. The memoir is the unravelling of her story. How she got from being regarded as a distant, moody teenager to a very damaged adult, and the affirmation that she was not mad but actually suffering from years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
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