The Fifth Sally by Daniel Keyes

It was exciting to get acquainted with Danel Keyes from this book. Without any doubt, the topic of multiple personality is very difficult and always made the reader nervous and anxious, but the book was fascinating and if anxiety did appear, it was extremely rare.

The fifth Sally is a story about a woman with an ex-husband, two children and four other personalities in her head.

The main character is a drab waitress, divorcee and loner in the big city. But, though she is unaware of it, she is also four other, quite different people: Nola, the cold independent artist who has a studio in Greenwich Village; Derry, the happy-go-lucky tomboy; Bella, the sexpot with a talent for singing and dancing; and finally Jinx, the hate- filled killer.

Whenever events put too much of a strain on Sally Porter, she feels a headache and a new character takes over. If there is a man to be fascinated, she will become Bella. If there is an intellectual problem, she will become Nola. As happens in the opening scene of the novel, if there is a rapist to be dealt with, she becomes the vicious Jinx. You need to get to know Jinx, Derry, Nola and Bella in order to understand what Sally’s woman really is.

It is the task of the wise and patient psychiatrist, Dr. Roger Ash – a man who nevertheless has severe problems of his own, to deal with this case of multiple personality and, through painstaking therapy, to try to fuse the four disparate personalities into “the fifth Sally.” It is catching to watch how she goes to Dr. Ash, who helps to “piece” her together, while the doctor also has mental disease. His struggle and near disasters become the major strand of the story.

Author Daniel Keyes played with our minds and intrigued each of us. Which personality will survive? Can they stop Jinx for creating chaos everywhere? Can Bella stop getting into troubling relationship with men? Oh, not to mention that Sally and Nola contemplated suicide few times before….

Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve are a bit similar to this one. They also deal with the theme of multiple personality. I give this book 4 stars just because of the ending.

October 11, 2020

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