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Lowering Stigma: Mental Health Novel Receives Top Recognition

Twenty-Four Shadows has received honors from top book review companies. Kirkus Reviews awarded Twenty-Four Shadows a Kirkus Star, a rating reserved for “books of remarkable merit.” Additionally, the US Review of Books has given this novel a Recommended rating, also an honor reserved for a select few books. I couldn’t be more thrilled, but the reason might be different than what people may think.

Sure, as a writer of course I’m ecstatic that my work is Star- and Recommended-worthy. It’s validating to have one’s hard work and effort acknowledged as well-done and recommended to people to read. Beyond that, it’s wonderful that the US Review and Kirkus reviewers loved the topic. My novels feature characters whose lives are affected in one way or another by mental illness. That’s not always a popular topic.

Peterson possesses this rare talent.
Novels can increase understanding of even the most controversial topics, including mental illness. Novels inform, which is part of what I set out to do. Novels also entertain. They allow readers to let go of their own lives for a while and step into someone else’s. Reading novels lets us think and feel deeply and enjoy doing it. Reading is a wonderful pastime.

To me, the Kirkus Star and the US Review’s Recommended rating mean that Twenty-Four Shadows is a story worth reading. This story about an ordinary family man who has been diagnosed with a disruptive mental illness, his wife, son, and best friend can entertain readers, give them something to enjoy reading, and help people understand mental illness and those who live with it a little bit better than before reading Twenty-Four Shadows.

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“Magnificent Sense of Hope”

This selection from the Kirkus book review includes a passage from Twenty-Four Shadows:

“On being admitted to a specialist mental health facility to undergo a revolutionary form of treatment, Isaac asks the doctor: “But Dr. Charlie, what if they don’t? Get better, I mean. What if things just keep getting worse because I’m here? What if I find out things I really shouldn’t know?…I’ll be lost in a new way, a way that’s way worse than ever before.” Peterson’s language captures perfectly the uncertainty of patients facing a mental illness where all solid ground becomes unstable and threatens to give way beneath their feet. The doctor’s answer reflects the magnificent sense of hope captured in the remainder of the novel: “There are answers. Not always obvious or easy ones, but answers nonetheless.” The book proves to be dazzlingly analytical and delicately sympathetic in equal measure.”

Twenty-Four Shadows — knowledge and emotion

  • “The book proves to be dazzlingly analytical and delicately sympathetic in equal measure.” — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Educational and affecting; the importance of the author’s ongoing mission to demystify the world of mental health care should not be overlooked. ” — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Isaac’s experiences paint a realistic portrait of what it’s like to live with a mental illness, especially a commonly misunderstood one.” — US Review of Books
  • Twenty-Four Shadows reads like a dramatization of a real-world case of Dissociative Identity Disorder, thanks to Peterson’s skill at humanizing the disorder while maintaining scientific integrity.” — US Review of Books
  • “This is a must-read for anyone trying to come to terms with a loved one’s mental illness or interested in learning what it’s like to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder.” — US Review of Books

I give my heartfelt appreciation to the reviewers at Kirkus Reviews and The US Review of Books for honoring Twenty-Four Shadows with a Star and a Recommended status, respectively. To me, it means that this novel is entertaining to read–worth readers’ time–and creates understanding of a mental illness and empathy for those whose lives are touched by it.

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