MH@H Book Reviews

Book Review: You Will Never Be Normal

book cover: You Will Never Be Normal by Catherine Klatzker

You Will Never Be Normal by Catherine Klatzker takes the reader on a journey of discovery with her as she learns that she has dissociative identity disorder and Parts inside of her have been holding trauma she hadn’t even been aware that she had experienced.

The book opens in 2009 as she’s having a talk with her Parts during the drive to work as a pediatric ICU nurse. It then jumps back in time to 2002, when a distressing experience while meditating prompted her to seek therapy to try to figure out what had brought on such a dramatic response.

The author takes the reader through her growing awareness of the Parts inside of her. She noticed what seemed like other people’s writing in her journal. When her therapist encouraged her to connect with her inner child, the idea of Parts became clearer, although she recognized that what her therapist talking about and what she was referring to were different things.

As therapy work progressed, she became aware that her Parts had protected her from memories of childhood sexual abuse. Rather than regaining knowledge, memories came through feelings in the body as if the past was happening in the present. Meditation played an important role as “my training ground for allowing body memory.”

I thought Catherine did an excellent job of expressing how difficult it was to have this knowledge while the abuser was still alive. Different Parts had very different feelings towards the abuser, and silencing was the norm in her family.

It was fascinating to see the process by which Catherine gradually came to know her Parts, communicate with them, and identify each individual part. She described the different physical sensations she experienced when other Parts were coming out. I always find it very cool when people with DID share the architecture of their inner world. Catherine described a house on the inside where the Parts would stay in the playroom for the day while she was at work.

It was also really interesting to see the relationship with her therapist grow. It took years of therapy before she was actually able to connect with her parents, and it really underscores the need for slow trust-building in the therapeutic relationship when there’s been complex trauma. She had the same therapist throughout the book, and she describes how he spoke directly to her Parts and validated them during sessions. Besides her husband, the book is dedicated to “my extraordinary therapist for midwifing courage, and hope, and wholeness with unfailing kindness.”

Eventually, she and her therapist began working on integration. I found that quite interesting, as it’s not something I’ve read about before; I know a number of bloggers with dissociative identity disorder (DID) or other dissociative disorders, but integration hasn’t been the focus of their therapeutic work while I’ve known them.

This book does an excellent job of cutting through stereotypes around DID. It normalizes it as a response to complex trauma, and emphasizes the role that each Part played in keeping Catherine safe. I think that approach is likely to make it understandable and accessible for readers who may have no point of reference to understand dissociation.

At about 350 pages, this book is longer than what I typically read, but it held my interest and attention throughout. The scenes during therapy sessions in particular stood out for me.

This is an excellent book, and a valuable contribution to furthering awareness and understanding of DID.

You Will Never Be Normal is available on Amazon.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

You can find my other book reviews here.

This post contains affiliate links, which let you support MH@H at no extra cost to you.

41 thoughts on “Book Review: You Will Never Be Normal”

  1. This is super interesting, I definitely need to read this book as it sounds quite different from other DID books I’ve read. K started off talking about integration but tbh that always sounded really sad and made parts angry that the goal was to ‘get rid of them’ (even though I know this is not really how it works, it’s what it sounds like to them), so we moved to a focus on unification and co-consciousness. I’m interested to read about this person’s integration process though. Thanks for posting this!

    1. Her description was really interesting, and it sounds like she was able to do it in a way that really embraced the parts rather than trying to suppress some of them.

  2. I’m so glad to see books bringing more awareness to mental health issues. So many are struggling and just knowing that someone is out there, that you’re not alone, can make all the difference in the world.

  3. Ordering this book today. Thanks for the review. There are many parts to us all. Trick is to love, receive, accept, help each facet. Fascinating read. Loved the post.

  4. Great review, Ashley. I don’t know much about DID, so it’s cool to get a little education here. It sounds like a very challenging disorder to live with.

  5. I’ve known a couple people with DID and some whom I’ve suspected would be diagnosed that way, including a family member. I want to read this, it sounds fascinating.

  6. It’s refreshing to know there are books depicting the true reality of did and not demonizing it. I’m so over it being a fiction book or movie to explain bad things… you know what i mean?

  7. In all honesty, in the very beginning of my mental health journey, I was led to believe things about DID that I now know are simply false. I chalk it up to there being assholes in every profession, hobby, etc. of life. I guess it is possible that, as a society, we’ve also learned more too. But, the assholes in every element of life thing is still true.

  8. I knew something was wrong with my day! I didn’t get my fix of your blog! How could I forget to come here?! πŸ˜€ Glad I figured it out!

    Interesting book review! I like the approach of integrating her Parts with the help of the kind therapist! I’m inspired by the therapeutic relationship therein! I bet the author’s a great pediatric nurse! She probably really cares about kids and does good work with them! I loved how she leaves her Parts in a nice, comforting playroom when she’s at work!

    The “other people writing in her journal” thing was interesting. Sonya swears that my “voice” changes when I’m in a paranoid rage. She’s more objective than I am–it all seems like “me” to me (not that it isn’t me, but you know–different aspects, and all that), but you have to wonder what it all means!

      1. You gotta love Sonya! I’m not sure it’s ever been directed at her, but I think she’d still fight for our relationship! Sonya wrestles with unmedicated OCD and anxiety, and she uses those to empathize with other mental issues, which is just one thing that’s so amazing about her! (She calls her anxiety “paranoia”, but I never correct her about it. I guess different words could have different meanings! And it’s a bonding point that we both have paranoia [as it were] in different ways!)

  9. This sounds like an excellent book on an interesting and still misunderstood topic. I am adding it to my reading list. Thank you Ashley.

  10. Sounds fascinating. I read When Rabbit Howls quite a few years ago now but I still remember it as just mind blowing. She had one of the most horrifying cases of child sexual abuse I’d ever heard of, which seems to be a tragic common factor for people with DID!

  11. We had to stop reading your review because someone got upset and shut off our hearing (we don’t have to hear to read but it’s a signal we use). Is the book one where we could learn or is it more of a memoir?

    We never forgot our trauma but different people held different pieces away from each other in order to avoid our putting it together to be seen at once. It took several in-patient visits over a few years to be able to understand and survive the full scope of it

    1. It’s written as a memoir. I think it would be challenging to read, but what could be useful is hearing how she was able to lovingly and respectfully integrate all of her me’s in the present.

  12. I’m going to get this book. Integration and fusion are commonly misunderstood. For me and my other personalities, we want Integration into a stable and functional multiplicity rather than final fusion into 1 sense of self.

      1. Apparently I thought I’d noted down the title on my smartphone notes but never did. So your comment reminded me, thank you! 😊

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