It’s a nonfiction novel, but not a popular scientific study. It’s not quite like journalism or biography. This is the maximum extent possible, detailed and honest story of Billy Milligan, a man in whom coexisted 24 personality. And I believe that in the assessment of the book cannot be ignored and form of presentation of this story.
I had not previously encountered a similar phenomenon (although Billy was not unique, there are books and movies about other people with the same disorder), so it shook me. At first it was hard to believe such a thing is possible. But the more I read, the more you know Billy and all his “neighbors on the body”, the more likely this is all hard to believe. But. Nearly 600 pages of text, which is a description of Billy’s life. The book is in three parts: first, the story of how the world learned about the existence of Billy Milligan, as he was accused for crimes committed personalities in his head.
Then the history of these individuals and the life of Billy from birth to accusations – all that he could remember. And finally, what happened after the verdict until the release of the book in the light. Because it is not novel, the text was too simple and unemotional. A simple, almost sterile description, the most detached from the personality of the author. As the author wrote only what he had heard from Billy and the other participants in its history, the selection of facts, how do I put this mildly… odd. And then from the account drop whole days, months, years, because they author doesn’t know anything (but they are important for the integrity of history itself!), and however the reader’s mind falls mass of unnecessary details.
From what mustache were a police officer who arrested Billy, and so on until the very end of the story. Details, details, details that overload the head, all the while wondering why I know about this mustache, why do I need to know the names of the police who arrested Billy, he met with him six times, what’s the difference? And yet I want to know – how did this or that person, why it occurred, what function does that feel Billy himself (in any incarnation), when there was an event that he was thinking of his family’s perceptions of his behavior? Answers to such questions is almost there, the author was nowhere to learn.
And since this is not a scientific work, nothing about the phenomenon of the reader do not know. Is that a guess, making their own conclusions from the history of Billy. Now scientists think about this phenomenon? What is the psychology of personalities living in one person, are there any regularities typical for most patients? Do you know how there are characters of different personalities, where are their names? Keyes, of course, it is unlikely he well versed in these matters, but would be better if he interviewed the psychiatrist Billy than asked any cops about any mustache.
So, artistic expression is no disclosure of the characters – no, scientific information – no, and the whole history either. Everything rests on the personality of Billy, if he did not exist in reality, the book would be at the very bottom of the literary sludge. Billy cool, and a book to love for what?