Tess, a medical doctor, to escape fear, pain, manic depression, and hallucinations, dissociates, becoming ‘alter’nate personalities. Her life, heartrending in sadness, constantly unravels. “Shattering” is her constant fear. We hear her cry from the darkness, tears we cannot stop, but we hold on to what we can—hope.
“5 stars. Shifting to Freedom is one of the most well-written books I've ever read. The author brings the reader along for the ride as the character unravels her multiple personalities. It seems to be an extremely realistic portrayal of the condition.” —Clare Appezzato, WordWorks magazine, Federation of BC Writers.
“5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Mosaic!” —Reviewed by a verified Amazon review.
“Shifting to Freedom is a wonderful tale, artfully recounting the struggles of Dr. Tess Elliot, from her childhood in the Canadian Prairies to her life as a surgical pathologist in Vancouver. The author has an easy and fluid style, vividly pulling the reader into the events and situations Tess experiences with an attention to detail that masterfully bring them to life. Glimpses into Tess’ childhood in the Prairies and her innate affinity with the ‘Indians’ are particularly poignant. Events from Tess’ childhood are eclectically juxtaposed with glimpses into other aspects of her life, leading the reader through a unique experience seen through Tess’ eyes. The story is carefully crafted piece by piece, building to finally unveil a stunning mosaic which sheds some light on the pain, chaos and tragedy of mental illness. 5 stars. We often define a person by their disease. What makes Shifting to Freedom wonderful is that it is a story of a sensitive, intelligent, and accomplished woman …… living with mental illness. It is story of someone worth knowing, and a persuasive book worth reading, as it reminds us that under the veil of mental illness, there is a person, A Life.” —Angela Quek, architect, verified Amazon review
“5-stars for Shifting to Freedom-—A private window into mental health trauma. Shifting to Freedom feels like reading Tess’ private journal—both voyeuristic and riveting. The anguish of her memories and fears helps us understand how life’s trauma can become deep disturbances. How many around us are suffering silently? I thank Marlene Cheng for bravely writing with such honesty and exposing the dark shadows of trauma.” —Cheryl Bancroft, a Mental Health advocate, Amazon literary review.
“5.0 out of 5 stars. I think we all have a little Tess in us.” —Diana, Reviewer
“The author drew me in from the start with Tess' poetic life on the prairies. Then kept me flipping pages as she delved further into the complications of her adult life... Wonderfully written, engaging and certainly highly recommended!” —5-star Review for Shifting to Freedom.
“Wowsers! Chapter 38 sees me in floods of grief for the family...amazingly powerful and so well-written! Wowsers again! I wasn't expecting 'that' to happen! I won't ruin it and tell you what 'that' is. It really is unexpected. Just finished and I'm stunned at the sheer brilliance of it. It's a must-read by everyone and a well-deserved 5 stars from me.” —Amanda G reviewer for Book Buzz, NetGalley.
“It was amazing. A painful story highlighting a difficult issue, that of mental illness in general and of Multiple-Personality Disorder in particular. I read the book in a very short time because it’s difficult to put down and, if you’re like me, you’ll want to know what is going on, exactly. The narrative jumps between episodes of the narrator’s life, but feels disjointed in some way; obviously the reader doesn’t expect a blow-by-blow account of every event in the life of the protagonist, but this feels as though some essential information isn’t there. This isn’t bad writing, far from it and quite the opposite, indeed; there is a reason for the gaps, but it’s not for me to tell you why here. All will become clear, but you’ll need to read this excellent yet disturbing piece of work for yourself to find out. 5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read!” —Marlene F. Cheng
“Western society is awash with troubled people doing bizarre and sometimes violent things which make the sensational news cycle. This novel brings us Tess, an M.D. with a very troubled past. She is a sympathetic and likeable heroine, and the author warns us at the beginning that it is about multiple personality disorder, so if it is disquieting and sometimes difficult to follow as the various identities pop up and then disappear, that is to be expected. It does, however, make for an exciting read, and suspense builds as new characters enter and exit. As a reader, I found it to be a page-turner, wanting to know what came next. The action shifts between early childhood on the Canadian prairie with some traumatic events, and modern-day Vancouver and its medical community. Being of 'a certain age' myself, I could relate to the comfortable images of the wood stove with attached water tank, and fragrant bread rising atop the warming oven. I also related to the snippets of then-popular songs which made their appearance, and which were very familiar to me, helping me to relate to Tess and her tense, lonely journey through life. The writing and descriptions are high quality, and the knowledge the author has of various areas of life are amazing. Was some of this material autobiographical, I wondered? This is not your usual novel of family life, love, etc. but rather, about a high-powered professional individual trying to hold her life together. It was a compelling read, going deep into the psyche, trying to find the base for the syndrome the heroine copes with in her life. She is resilient and crafty in her shape-shifting, seeking to elude a deeply buried childhood incident. I would recommend it highly to everyone who wonders why some individuals behave in such strange ways, and hopefully feel more compassionate for those who are different, realizing that there may be a reason for why they are the way they are.” —Reviewed by Diana Jewell in Canada
“Marlene writes with great facility. Her writing is intelligent; her prose is poetic. In my practice, I’ve treated patients with Multiple-Personality Disorder. It would be unprofessional of me to give a definitive diagnosis without interviewing Tess and the ‘alters.’ However, there is no doubt that Tess has dissociative episodes. To survive the horrific traumas of childhood, she would have had to develop an escape mechanism, and dissociating was probably, the only way.” —Dr. David Yeung MBBS, FRCPC.
“I can’t help but think, because of the explicit detail, that this story is, at least in part, autofiction. Or else, the author must have known Tess, intimately. Her story is painfully acute, deeply sad, riveting, and all engrossing. It brings awareness to Multiple-Personality Disorder that I could never have imagined. To help rid the stigma that surrounds mental illness, Tess’s story needs to reach a broad audience.” —ML from Vancouver, BC., a beta reader and severe critic during the early throes of Tess’s story becoming a book.