Books About Dissociation and Identity

So one of the things I want to do with this blog it to generate some good lists of books for children and teens, so that librarians and bookstores that might want to beef up their collections in these areas can have a place to start. To follow up my last post, I’ve come up with a list of great books and stories that I feel are about Dissociation and Identity formation and some of the factors and types of abuse that cause them and some of the consequences of dissociating. If you all can think of any more, I’d love to have you chime in. There are some spoilers below, sorry.

  • The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean (her stepfather murdered her father and is violent–she becomes obsessed with a dead explorer)
  • The Savage by David Almond, Illus. by Dave McKean (his father dies so he draws a savage as a stand-in for his emotional state)
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (an ostracized outsider, he chooses a new “white” identity)
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation by M.T. Anderson (he’s the victim of an experiment to see if negroes can learn)
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (she’s raped and spends the book trying to admit it.)
  • Dancing on the Edge by Han Nolan (her caretaker has fed her a really twisted version of herself and reality her whole life, and she learns to be able to see reality more clearly with help.)
  • Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz (his brother kills his whole family and spares him, he is in a hospital learning to admit what happened to him.)
  • Stitches by David Small (his journey to be able to see and speak about the abuse that went on in his house.)
  • Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell (two siblings who are out of touch with reality in turn pull each other back up and back down.)
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (OK, this might be a stretch, but it’s about a girl who has never fit in and finds that she is part magic which explains the tantrums she had as a child. I’ve included it because violent tantrums and then dual identity are a sign of dissociation due to abuse and then identity issues–it feels like a really good metaphor to me.)
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (A girl is lied to massively by her parents to keep her from finding out what she really is.)
  • Inexcusable by Chris Lynch (a boy rapes one of his friends and cannot consciously acknowledge it.)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (a girl is emotionally abused by her stepmother and has a hand in killing her stepmother–she spends the book working towards remembering.)
  • And there is a book that I can never think of the name of that has post-it notes all over the cover and the girl spends the book trying not to know that she killed her mother who was wildly abusive.
Any you all can think of?

About pamwatts

Writer, Reader, and Children's advocate
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5 Responses to Books About Dissociation and Identity

  1. Good list, Pam! I’m writing my MFA critical thesis on two of these books–Last Night I Sang to the Monster and The White Darkness (btw, the murderer is a family friend, not a stepfather, and he is also responsible for Sym’s hearing impairment, which she only discovers when her own life is in grave danger). A third book in my thesis, Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby, has a main character who cannot remember the abuse at age 6 that led to her hearing impairment and that may help her understand why her mother doesn’t want her to learn American Sign Language. Hurt Go Happy won the Schneider Family Book Award in 2007 for its portrayal of the disability experience.

  2. Clara Sheffer says:

    Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd is about a 15 year old girl who runs away from her foster home in search of her birthmom.

  3. Pingback: 2013 Rainbow List | Strong in the Broken Places

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