Noble’s story of living with dissociative identity disorder and of being misdiagnosed, misunderstood and adrift in society.
The author’s powerful memoir begins right from the dedication: "This book is dedicated to our much-loved daughter Aimee, the sunshine of my life, and our wonderful therapist for her footsteps in the sand." Noble isn't referring to a husband or partner with "our"—she's referring to herself. More specifically, herselves: Noble has more than 20 identified personalities, 14 of which are individually renowned artists with their own distinct styles and strengths. Throughout the book, the author switches between “our” and “my,” heightening the connection of readers to the story. Growing up, her parents struggled with their own problems, as individuals and as a couple, which added to Noble's struggle with being overlooked while she found ways to compensate for the growing discord in her head. As the difficulties of adolescence compounded her challenges, the compensations became inadequate and she found herself—the self she identified as her primary personality at the time—awaking in the hospital more frequently. But little came of the hospitalizations. As Noble began to tentatively form connections with others, she found the ground under her feet shifting constantly: Who had she met? With whom did she do this activity, or that one? Which personality was responsible for the teenage misbehaviors? These and other similar questions form the core of the narrative.
The main question is whether Noble was better served in the mental health system, or outside of it, and the answers she reaches trying to grow into adulthood and motherhood are at once jarring and deeply moving.