Twenty-Two Faces by Judy Byington

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     Referring to journals written throughout childhood, Twenty-Two Faces: Inside the Extraordinary Life of Jenny Hill and Her Twenty-Two Multiple Personalities documents how as a five year-old, Jenny overcomes ongoing abuse by turning to prayer while utilizing her alter states to compartmentalize trauma at the hands of a master mind-control programmer from Nazi Germany. After suffering deaths of a high school sweetheart, plus her only girlfriend, she somehow completes Army medic training, receives a nursing degree, prepares for a church mission and becomes a mother. Simultaneously led by sex-addict Head Alter J.J., intrepid alters assume frequent control, engaging in larceny and prostitution. With her children, her lifeline, the increasingly desperate nurse escapes a drugged-out pimping husband, blacks out in a job interview, comes to nine days later as an inpatient headed for the Utah State Psychiatric Hospital and only then learns what her life has really been.  (synopsis from the author)

      Reading Twenty-Two Faces was a challenge for me because of the violent nature of the book.  Some of the details of Jenny’s torture and abuse are very graphic and vivid and I could only read so much at a time before I needed time to process what I read.  It’s hard to imagine that Jenny Hill was able to survive and live through what she did as a child.  It is truly amazing that she has lived into adulthood.  It is also amazing to me that she was able to get a nursing degree and pass her boards with 22 different personalities inside of her.

      At first I thought a lot about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.  It was a horrible experience for her but it also made her feel loved.  However, living in the house had to have been hell on Jenny because her mother pretty much hated her and those feelings showed in how her sisters treated her as well.  As she grew older, Jenny continued to be in mentally, sexually, and physically abusive relationships.

      Thankfully when Jenny was in her 20’s she was finally admitted to a psychiatric hospital where a doctor recognized her as having multiple personalities.  She was treated in that hospital for a year and many of her personalities went dormant at this point in time.  

     This book is an in-depth look at what sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and ritual abuse can do to a child and how Jenny Hill was able to deal with it.  It’s a sad and horrifying book but the strength Jenny shows throughout the book is remarkable.  It’s a must read for anyone who is in the medical field, knows someone with a mental illness, or works with people who have mental illnesses or multiple personalities.  

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  

**Disclaimer-this book contains graphic details of sexual assaults and violence.**

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