TELL ME WHO I AM BEFORE I DIE by Christina with Ted Schwarz Peters


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The grabber device in this serf-pitying account is the fact that the narrator is a multiple personality, but those who conjure up visions of Sybil and I'm Eve had best leave their visions outside. Unlike Sybil and I'm Eve, which invited identification, the main interest (?) here is a string of sensationalized lower-depths incidents prior to the author's treatment. Christina ""died"" at the age of five in a graphic rape scene with her father (described as his ""final outrage""); in her place emerged ""Marie,"" who was capable of love, hard work, and commitment; ""Linda,"" whose violence, alcoholism, pill-popping and man-hunting made her feel so unwanted that even prison seemed like ""love"" by comparison; and ""Charlene,"" who endured countless outrages with stoic calm. ""You see,"" we are told in hushed tones, ""I was the victim of one of the most shocking and unusual forms of insanity known to man."" But after nearly 30 years of wrist-slashing, incest (she was also the object of her brother's ""lust""), attempting to drink her own vomit for its alcoholic content, and kicking babies across rooms, all shock impact is expended, and her life story seems little more than frenzied dreariness. Ultimately she is reunited with Christina and the alter-personalities fall obediently into place (courtesy of a johnny-come-lately ""orchestrator"" personality named ""Michael""). A hard luck story whose disguise is as thin as the insights it has to offer.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Rawson--dist. by Atheneum