By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated March 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

There’s something vaguely trashy in using a pseudonym to write an autobiography about dissociative identity disorder, and then appearing on Oprah to promote the book. During the show, Winfrey showed a videotaped therapy session in which one of West’s alternate personalities popped out — for the cynical viewer, that’s an eye roller akin to watching a simulated UFO landing. But what was missing in West’s TV appearance is his extraordinary storytelling ability. There are weaknesses here — West’s wife is portrayed as an unquestioned saint, his writing can be overblown, and yes, there are 24 personalities to keep track of — but West’s courage is palpable, and First Person Plural is a page-turning journey through hell. B-

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