Monday, November 18, 2019

The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung

The Eighth Girl The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful. Damaged. Destructive. Meet Alexa Wú, a brilliant yet darkly self-aware young woman whose chaotic life is manipulated and controlled by a series of alternate personalities. Only three people know about their existence: her shrink Daniel; her stepmother Anna; and her enigmatic best friend Ella. The perfect trio of trust.

When Ella gets a job at a high-end gentleman’s club, she catches the attention of its shark-like owner and is gradually drawn into his inner circle. As Alexa’s world becomes intimately entangled with Ella’s, she soon finds herself the unwitting keeper of a nightmarish secret. With no one to turn to and lives at stake, she follows Ella into London’s cruel underbelly on a daring rescue mission. Threatened and vulnerable, Alexa will discover whether her multiple personalities are her greatest asset, or her most dangerous obstacle.

Electrifying and breathlessly compulsive, The Eighth Girl is an omnivorous examination of life with mental illness and the acute trauma of life in a misogynist world. With bingeable prose and a clinician’s expertise, Chung’s psychological debut deftly navigates the swirling confluence of identity, innocence, and the impossible fracturing weights that young women are forced to carry, causing us to question: Does the truth lead to self-discovery, or self-destruction?

ebook, 480 pages
Publication Date: March 17th 2020
Publisher: William Morrow


“The girl would see, in the locking of her mind with Freud’s, how cruelly her own understanding had deceived her.”
-Philip Rieff, Introduction to Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, by Sigmund Freud

The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung takes a perceptive look into the heart of mental illness and even more so into Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). While I was expecting more of an in-your-face psychological thriller, I was captivated with the way the story progressed.
The Eighth Girl is most definitely a suspenseful thriller but the underlying issues of Alexa’s DID makes for a more compelling read and although Alexa’s ‘flock’ of personalities makes her an unreliable narrator, it really worked for this story. I was fascinated by the interactions between Alexa and her new therapist, Daniel along with the past history Alexa had of trauma and abuse that lead to her dissociative disorder. It’s absolutely heart-breaking and as the author points out in the book there are many in the world that will take advantage of someone in this scenario.

I think this is an eye-opener of a book that explores the pain of mental illness in a setting that could be all too real.

A big thank you to Netgalley, Harper Collins Publishers, and William Morrow for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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