M's Reviews > Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls

Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff
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Jun 10, 2010

it was amazing
Read from June 10 to 15, 2010

Five stars?? When's the last time THAT happened??
Set This House in Order, a bizarre tale of not one but two people suffering from multiple personality disorder, takes you deep into the more frightening corners of the psyche, revealing an unlikely story of hope and renewal.
An often misunderstood and Hollywood dramatized disorder, MPD is one of the more intricate and sophisticated coping mechanisms that a person can develop. What is most amazing about this tale in particular is how touching it is to see how much a person can be his own best friend - and worst enemy, at that, and sometimes simultaneously. We are hell bent for survival and protection at whatever cost, and this story reveals the layers that exist within every person, some of which are only pronounced through trauma. Let's just say, you think YOU'RE complicated?? Think again.
The story is narrated - mostly - by Andrew Gage, who does not have MPD as much as he is one of the personalities who is occupying a body. He has been assigned the task of controlling the body and the souls therein, in keeping with a method inspired by a rather innovative therapist, Dr. Gray, who insists that rather than integrate or expunge all the personalities, it is far more efficient to let them all coexist, but with a strict sense of order. The co narrator is Penny/Mouse, a severely traumatized woman who also suffers from MPD but doesn't know it.
The two meet and an adventure ensues as a lot of unresolved and long denied experiences begin to unravel, emphasizing Ruff's overall thesis - we need to deal with our stuff, no matter how tough (sorry). In fact, while the personalities are celebrated as allies, they are also withholding important information that, without ever confronting, will always hold a person back.
This one has it all - there is romance, mystery, suspense, horror and humor. It is fascinatingly original, thought provoking and gripping. The dialogue is real, the characters (all shmazillion of them) are well sketched, and I was always excited to pick it up again. For once a story was not too long.
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Reading Progress

06/12/2010 "So far this has the makings of a five star-er ..."
06/13/2010 "gaaaah!!! did NOT see that coming!!! gaaaah!!"
03/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7)




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message 7: by K (new) - rated it 5 stars

K Sounds amazing. Too bad I already ordered a ton of books from the library for Saadia's return; I hesitate to order anything else at this point. Maybe next time...


message 6: by M (new) - rated it 5 stars

M It's a good one. Audio?


message 5: by K (new) - rated it 5 stars

K I already tried to find it on audio. No dice, although I see that the collection of downloadable audiobooks at Brooklyn tends to change so maybe they'll get it in. It's always nice to have a good recommendation for next time, though.


message 4: by Zehava (new)

Zehava I am SHOCKED by your review. SHOCKED. I am comforted by the fact that you will inevitably decimate his second book. Looking forward. :)


message 3: by M (new) - rated it 5 stars

M Did you not like this one?


message 2: by Zehava (new)

Zehava I didn't read it, but maybe now I will. :) I'm just shocked that you loved a book.


message 1: by M (new) - rated it 5 stars

M It DOES happen, ok? Not super recently perhaps but it happens ...


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