Book Review: Twenty Two Faces

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Judy Byington

Twenty Two Faces by Judy Byington

Biographies tend to get a bad rap. I think it mostly stems from all the ones we were forced to read in high school. But I can guarantee, you haven’t read anything like Judy Byington’s Twenty Two Faces.

Twenty Two Faces chronicles Jenny Hill as she struggles through a gruesome existence. The aforementioned faces refer to 22 distinct personalities residing in Jenny’s mind.

We begin with her as a 5 year old kindergartener. As Jenny’s alter egos begin to emerge, we get our first taste of how Jenny must cope. At the beginning, you’ll find a list of each personality’s name. You may need to reference it from time to time.

It is incredibly difficult to read most of the abuse this child endures. You wish you could reach through the pages & tell her it’s not her fault. It’s good to mention that if you have a weak stomach, this book is going to be tough for you. A lot of times, I pushed through for the sake of the review. I would have stopped reading about 70 pages into it.

It is truly astonishing that no one reached out to help her early on & that her mother was so oblivious to what was going on. But, she did survive & only God knows how. But I really must reaffirm that this book is not for the weak of heart. It is one thing to read fictional violence and quite another when it’s a true story-even if you know the person made it through.

I have chosen not to rate this book as I normally would. On one hand, it is well written. On the other hand, it’s horribly frightening.

You will have to draw your own conclusions. Whether you read it out of curiosity or in support of Jenny, you can choose your own rating. Honestly, this book disturbed me a great deal. I appreciate that Ms. Hill was so transparent with her story & willingness to break the stigma of sexual abuse survivors. Hopefully, her voice will strengthen others in their time of need.

You can find retailers & more information about Twenty Two Faces by visiting the publisher’s website.

I received one printed copy for review purposes. No other compensation was provided.

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  1. This actually sounds pretty cool to me. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing

  2. Marti Parks says:

    I definitely want to read this. I sometimes have a hard time reading about violence inflicted upon a child, but the fact that she makes it through almost makes me feel like I owe it to her to know what she went through. Not sure how much sense that makes, but thanks for the information. :)

  3. This book sounds like something I would really like to read. Psychology and the human mind really fascinates me, I will have to check this one out.

  4. wow- this sounds like quite a story. it sounds like ‘Cybil’- which I never did read; it was hard enough watching the movie! I’m not sure if I will read it but it does sound interesting….just not sure if I can handle the emotional aspects. I appreciate the review though.

  5. Betsy Barnes says:

    I love books of this subject, split personalities. On my list “to read” :)

  6. Your review just gave me chills. I have to read this… I forget the name of the one we had to read in high school but i remember the book. Pinning so I wont forget

  7. i know it will be hard to read but would dtill like to try to get through it

  8. The title of the book intrigued me enough to read your review.. I’m on the fence about reading it though based on your review. Like you said, some may not be able to stomach it? I’m super sensitive and I’m not sure if I personally could read it through and through. If I were to get it for free like you did for review purposes I would but to buy it , hmmm not so sure :)

  9. Mark Thurman says:

    Not a big reader myself. I love comics though.

  10. Sherry Compton says:

    Sounds interesting. I like to read but haven’t read a lot of biographies. I have read several books involving child abuse…”Child called It,” for example. Such hard, emotional reads. You want to snatch the child away and give them a big hug.

  11. Mary :D says:

    This is a very unique, interesting book that will make you think more deeply about life.jk

  12. i have never heard of this book but i might go read it this weekend now

  13. Oh, this is right up my alley! I love psychology! I’m about to start getting my Masters in Counseling and I have always been fascinated with D.I.D. Have you read Cybil? Not sure on spelling but it’s also a great read.

  14. I’m not so sure I would read this book, since I read for pleasure and this does not sound very pleasurable. I’m sure it would be good for those who have been abused, to maybe see that you can make it out and survive, but as for me not so much. Nice review.

  15. Marysa N. says:

    Sounds like a very intense book. I can imagine it might be difficult to read something like this, but also eye opening.

  16. Courtney Sanchez says:

    Never heard of this, but I do like biographies. Sounds really interesting.

  17. Jessica Snow says:

    This sounds like a very interesting and in depth book.

  18. I’d never heard of this book, as a social work graduate this book review caught my attention as something that would be very interesting to read. I love the front cover graphic too, it definitely caught my attention.

  19. This book is a work of fiction, upon doing some background research all “credible” sources are widely discredited in the scientific community it is important to stay aware and mindful of the horrors of child abuse, however, this book is NOT true. Educate yourself before reading.

  20. Doc Wallace says:

    As a young child, Jenny Hill was abused to the extent that she never achieved normal integration of her personality. Those parts of her personality that did not integrate were isolated and through the years developed their own sense of identity – not personalities of their selves of course, but one personality so compartmentalized that it was unable to function as one unified personality. Those isolated parts of her personality often did not know of other parts of her personality or if they did know, they still would not know of many of the events that took place when another was in control. This process helped her endure years of abusive rape, torture and attempts to control her. The trauma memories held by many of these parts of her personality (such as Angelic and Vannessa) remember the abuse because they were the part of the personality that was conscious at the time, but often the parts of her personality that function to live day to day life did not, simply because those parts of the personality were not conscious during the traumatic event. This is the way that Dissociative Identity Disorder works. Jenny, like many with DID found ways to ignore the pain in their head such as drug abuse. Others use eating disorders, cutting, etc… Unable to function as a drug abuser, a different host needed to take over – this was to be Vanessa. Those with DID will have more than two parts of the personality that act as host in their life-time, such is the case in Jenny’s story. The author Judy Byington appears to have done her homework – spending 20 years working with Jenny as well as working with other abuse victims.

  21. Kirsty Lander says:

    Wow, great review. This looks interesting.

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