There’s an old joke: How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but only if the light bulb wants to change. Denis Murphy, the protagonist of Dan Mooney’s Me, Myself, and Them, is a light bulb that does not want to change. He’s fine, thank you very much. Seven years after a devastating car crash that killed his sister and best friend, Denis lives an isolated life. He has severe OCD, can’t bear to touch anyone, constantly blames himself for the accident—and cleaning up after his four roommates who may or may not be manifestations of his emotions.
Denis might have continued to live his rigidly confined life if Rebecca hadn’t walked back into his life near the beginning of the novel. There mere sight of her released emotions that he’s been suppressing for all those seven years. In addition, Rebecca is not like his other friends and his mother. She refuses to let him keep his restricted life. Suddenly, he loses track of his routines, can’t concentrate on work, and starts to argue with his destructive “roommates.”
Me, Myself, and Them is a memorable story of a man recovering from a devastating trauma because of those roommates. One is an anthropomorphized hairball named Deano. Another is a cat woman named Penny O’Neill. The third is a zombie named Professor Scorpion. The last is a sinister clown called Plasterer. While the first three roommates might be willing to go, Plasterer is violently stubborn about maintaining the status quo. Somehow, Denis has to find the will and strength to overcome his dysfunctional coping mechanisms. As usual for fiction, this is easier said than done. Denis has been living this life for seven years and the memories he has to face are terrible.
I really enjoyed the way Me, Myself, and Them handles mental illness and recovering from trauma. Nothing is easy; if it was easy, it would have seemed facile and superficial. By making Denis’ emotions actual characters helps us understand what Denis is going through. It’s not just grief that he feels. He feels anger, regret, guilt, sorrow, and more. We see not just the depth of Denis’ feelings, but also the breadth. This is a sad book, but offers a unique perspective for readers who want to read stories of recovery and forgiveness.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration. It will be released 19 June 2018.