Saturday, February 21, 2015

'Both of Me' by Jonathan Friesen


It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.

When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

The backstory of the characters is fascinating. They have heartbreaking backstories. 
Elias had terrible things that happened to him. Poor Elias. I can't believe the trauma of that experience. I am surprised he didn't fall deeper into his 'Salem'. That was actually really interesting to see how he ended up coping with the incident. It is interesting how his fictional Salem aligns with the real world. The Keeper. The lighthouse. The drawings. (If Clara didn't see the drawings as representations of her story, she could have seen the truth. But people can be selfish and vain. I know I am.) The fact that it is called Salem. (This is a huge hint. Maybe Guinevere could have given the poor boy an explanation. Or given Clara an explanation. After all, it was HER husband. And she KNEW they were in Salem. [Not the fictional Salem, guys.] It was confusing why she DIDN'T say anything. She knew about Salem. She maybe knew why he kept thinking about a fictional place called Salem.) 
And Clara. Man. Her backstory. I can understand why she would blame herself. It does seem like she's to blame. But her father went to jail for hitting a police man. Not for anything else. Little T was an accident. She couldn't have stopped it really. She couldn't have. She didn't have to blame herself. But she did. That's how she coped. To protect herself. To condemn her father yet also preserve him as her fun, amazing father. We do those things. Why? Who knows. 

I like that the characters finally reach their acceptance. That was great. Once faced with a problem, one must decide which path to follow. This results in a moral debate within the characters. Clara has to accept the past. And thankfully she does. She accepts what happened. She accepts her father. (That's evident in the epilogue.) 
Elias...not so much. No one understood Elias. Either one. The 'normal' one or the Other One. People just saw that Salem was a beautiful place. Without the tethers to this world. Because he didn't accept the truth, he crumbled. 
Accepting your past and the truth of it is important. Very so. It's important to face the facts. Even if you want to be in Salem. 

The ending is bittersweet.  I liked it, though. It isn't satisfying. You want  it to all be a dream. You want it to be not real. The ending is such a surprise. You would never expect it. It just happens. It's a bucket of ice thrown at you. 
That's just too surprising. And you have a few pages left, and you're hoping that it's not true!
But things happen to the best of people. Things happen. 
I think that's what the ending is saying. Things happen. You can't help it. People pass away in their sleep. People are mugged, shot at. People crash in planes. People fight. People cry. You can't stop it. It's part of humanity. 
Admittedly, I am like many who are wishing, so bad, that the story isn't over. It wasn't a bad adventure. I just wish there was more. 

I liked the emphasis of the psychological illness. DID has been painted into a terrible light. People might have that disorder but not have it noticed. Others might get the diagnosis but not have the disorder. 
As a future psychologist, this disorder is quite interesting. I liked seeing it in this book. It was quite interesting how it was portraying. It was portrayed as falling into a crack. And not being able to come out. That was quite interesting. I liked that. 
The cause of Elias's DID will definitely explain the Salem part. The thing that happened to him... As I mentioned, it is a terrible thing. But also...the event that caused it explains a lot. Truly. 

I disliked the romance. Clara was taking advantage of Elias. And Elias wasn't thinking right when he said those three precious words. I'm not sure about that. 
There doesn't seem to be a lot of chemistry. And the reason they met? An accident. And Clara seeing the drawings. (If she hadn't...who knows where the plot would go.) I feel like that isn't the best way to start staying with someone. (I'm sorry. Staying at their bed and breakfast? Without paying? Hm...I call serial killers. Kidding kidding.). 
I don't see why they grow closer. I feel like while the Other One understands Clara (sorta)...there isn't a reason for Clara to grow closer to Elias. Other than maybe physical attraction. Or something along those lines. 
It wasn't cute either! Clara was using half of Elias. And he was using her too. Man. Those people are kinda rude. Getting close for your own motives? Well...I know people do that. But it seems rude nonetheless. 

The plot wasn't the best. It seemed to be a bit dull. At moments where we could have gotten a fight, we got a quick resolution. We didn't have too much drama until the ending. We don't have anything happening until the end. I wanted to have more. Maybe a fight between Elias and Clara. That happened. But they stayed together. They never fought for long. (Except for when they reached Salem.) 
There could have been something interesting. Something more interesting. The story was mainly of the backstory...

I also didn't like how we were given Izzy. Then she just disappears. If you're introduced, you have purpose. Izzy is the supposed guard. But other than a shotgun and the ability to drive, she has not much of a purpose. Why is she introduced? It doesn't seem like there is a reason. I didn't mind Izzy. She seems like a good character. She isn't expanded on, though. I wanted her parental problems. What's with that? Why do they want her in Harvard? I don't know! I want to know, though. I really do. 

Did anyone else notice that both main characters had father issues? Like their deep-seated issues are from problems with their father. Or problems that involved their father. I was quite intriguing by this. It does seem a bit odd, but I feel like this could reflect the author's life or the lives of many. It quite depends. 
(I feel bad for psycho-analyzing that... It could just be nothing.) 

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain

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