Reading List: Fiction about Personality Disorders

This is the third blog in my series on reading lists about mental illness. Previously published:

Young Adult books about Psychosis

Young Adult books about Depression (including Bipolar)

This one is the toughest so far! I have not limited it to young adult fiction, or the list would be even shorter. There are plenty of memoirs and biographies about personality disorders, and of course lots of non-fiction self-help or diagnostic type books, but very very little that is pure fiction.

As usual, I also tried to stay away from books that sounded so incredibly depression or gory that I wouldn’t read them. These books generally involve one of three personality disorders:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder/Traumatic Amnesia

I will again start with my own books featuring main characters (or their caregivers) with Personality Disorders:

My books that include main characters who may have personality disorders are:

mockup-1June & Justin

Justin had made a mistake. A big, life-changing mistake.

He already failed June once. He wasn’t there when she needed him, and because of him, their lives will never be the same. June is everything to Justin, and he must be everything to her. He must protect June at all costs. Justin is prepared spend the rest of his life keeping her from getting hurt again.

But it seems they are always falling behind, barely keeping one step ahead of the nightmares.

There is always one more hazard, just around the corner.

by-pass mockupBy-Pass, Breaking the Pattern #3

It’s better when she’s happy.

Bobby is a geeky teen who is convinced that his new foster home is everything he has ever hoped for.

His foster mom Katya is so different than any he has ever had; but as her behavior becomes more and more unpredictable and disturbing, he comes to realize that both he and Katya’s daughter Zane are in trouble.

The crazy thing is, Bobby doesn’t want to leave her, and new revelations from Bobby’s own forgotten past throw his quest for a real family into further turmoil.

steven mock-up-1Don’t Forget Steven

He never told what went on behind closed doors. But this time, he can’t remember.

Things never have been easy for Steven. He accepts that, and just makes the best of things. He might not have parents or a happy home. Or enough to eat most days. But at least he has a couple of loyal friends who stand by him and help out when they can. At least he has school, someplace he can go to escape the abuse.

But just when he thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did.

Steven is accused of murder. But that isn’t the worst part. The really bad part is not even knowing if he did it.

lion-mock-1Lion Within

(Not a YA book, contains graphic content)

Leo is a troubled young man, constantly on the brink of disaster. In the midst of his own emotional turmoil, Leo meets Elizabeth, single mom of a newborn, with a lot on her plate and a past that she won’t acknowledge.

Leo has always been driven to rescue others, and Elizabeth becomes the newest project to help him forget his own troubles.

Can Leo reach Elizabeth, and at the same time, come to terms with his own past? Or is he messing around with something beyond his ability to manage?

The other books that I have picked out are:

other people

Other People

Painfully shy and socially awkward, Ginny avoids engaging in a world filled with “other people” as best as she can. After a failed suicide attempt, Ginny is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and begins a journey towards improving her distraught life. In her quest to fit in among other people, Ginny studies the behaviors of her picture-perfect new neighbors, Jim and Nina, and tries her best to mimic their life skills. But, will Ginny’s attempts to be one of the other people help her fit into their world, or send her crashing back deeper into the dark, isolated world she is desperately trying to escape?

 

jekyllThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

An intriguing combination of fantast thriller and moral allegory, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities — one essentially good, the other evil — for the soul of one man. Its tingling suspense and intelligent and sensitive portrayal of man’s dual nature reveals Stevenson as a writer of great skill and originality, whose power to terrify and move us remains, over a century later, undiminished.

 

 

510ulSKtURL._SX347_BO1,204,203,200_

Both of Me

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.

her

Her

In many ways, Kristen Elliott is a normal, seventeen-year-old girl. Kristen loves her family. She works hard academically, and tries to please her mother. She takes on the additional responsibility of caring for her twin siblings, Nick and Alison. She idealizes her best friend, Lexus, who not only seems to lead the perfect life, but also catches the attention of John, the boy Kristen secretly loves. However, as is the case with many teenagers, Kristen feels frustrated, isolated, and confused.

In other ways, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She knows something is wrong with her. Kristen feels like an utter failure. She is unable to please her abrasive mother, and scared to confront Jack, her abusive stepfather. She is also unable to protect Nick from Jack, making her fell all the more helpless. Adding to her problems, she knows she will never be as beautiful as her best friend Lexus. Kristen finds solace in self-injury, and the company of Mr. Sharp, her imaginary friend who encourages her feelings of self-loathing.

After a failed suicide attempt, Kristen is placed in the Bent Creek mental hospital, where she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While in the hospital, she meets a group of peers suffering with their own mental illnesses, and a compassionate staff of doctors and counselors. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She discovers the circumstances that brought her to this breaking point, struggles to understand her mental illness, and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: her self-blame.

Kristen’s tale of endurance illustrates the complex illness of Borderline Personality Disorder. Readers – including those suffering from BPD and their friends and family – can glean insight into the illness from Kristen’s humanity. Her story is an example of how, if we try to push the past away, we are either doomed to repeat it or let it haunt us to our graves.

disaster

Beautiful Disaster

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

 

Tell me what you think!

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