Genre: Mental Heath/Realistic YA
First Published: March, 2013
Source: Library – Borrowed
Wow, I have been incredibly MIA the last few days. I’ve been trying to party like I’m in college again and wow does that not work once you get older. So, I’m sorry I haven’t been posting.
But, I’m going to get back on track before the week is officially over. Today I’ll be posting 2 reviews and then I’ll do my Friday Favorites post tomorrow. Sorry to bombard you all, but I really need to stay on top of my reviews. I’m already way behind on them.
So, here’s review #1 for the day!
Danielle Levine has never really fit in throughout her life. Even more so after a tragic accident that happened in her past. She’s been repressing some memories ever since at the expense of her mental health.
(That’s really all I’m going to say for this synopsis, because this plot is a mess.)
Click HERE for Book’s Goodreads Page
I was really angry after I finished this book, and I’m not really so proud of my original review on Goodreads. I was mean and ruthless. I still harbor the same feelings towards this book, but I’ve let most of the need to bad mouth it profusely go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still thoroughly disgusted with how mental health was tackled in this book, but this review won’t be as mean as my original.
Where to even start? I guess we’ll start at the beginning. I have OCD. I’m lucky that I have a mild case of the disorder and for the most part it doesn’t inhibit my every day life extensively. Concerning The Big Lebowski, I had never watched the movie until recently and I instantly fell in love with its crazyness. So, when I found out this book existed, it seemed like something I definitely had to read.
I really wish I hadn’t.
Our MC doesn’t even really have OCD. She basically has every mental disorder other than OCD. She clearly suffers from PTSD, she suffers from Anxiety, she (most likely?) suffers from ADD (she takes Adoral – which is most definitely not an OCD medication), on top of anxiety she also suffers from social anxiety, she appears to have a bit of a sensory disorder, and (last but not least) she appears to be somewhat autistic (based on her personality and her writings throughout the book). I don’t even know why OCD is in the title, because it’s basically the only thing she doesn’t have.
It’s very irritating because the characteristic of OCD I could find in our MC were the utterly stereotypical ones–such as liking even numbers (not even generally true. I also appreciate many odd numbers, especially multiples of 5) and alphabetizing things. (Yes, I love alphabetizing, but that’s not solely what OCD is. A lot of people like alphabetizing things.) If these were the only two things that my OCD entailed, I would be ecstatic. I was hoping for a book actually exploring the disorder, not just something that people joke about it.
The only thing the main character actually obsesses about is her weight. She’s only a size 8 and she’s something like 5’8″, yet consistently refers to herself as a cow. I’m pretty sure she’s not…at all.
I’m also very angry because the author seems to think she can substitute OCD in for PTSD. PTSD does not equal OCD. They are two incredibly different things. I have and do suffer from both; I should know the difference. She should too, for how educated on this issue she seems to think she is.
While we’re on the subject, OCD does not equal anxiety or social anxiety. One of my closest friends has anxiety and our disorders are so incredibly different. They share no similarities. Also, one who has OCD does not have to have any type of anxiety. I’m a very outgoing person. I don’t get anxious around other people. I’m incredibly independent, and I don’t worry much (I’m literally the chillest person on this planet). These disorders are not the same thing and should not be treated as such.
Ah, what should I criticize next? Lets talk about Daniel. And, well, basically, Daniel is a psychopath. He’s honestly just a really scary and unsettling person. What the fuck was this author thinking? He was not endearing at all. But, of course he had to be included because the main character obviously needed to be “cured” in some way. So, why not include a boy to do that.
And, of course, he had to be an outcast, like her, from the school she used to go to before her parents sent her to her new “special school.” Which doesn’t even seem that special because it’s crawling with jocks and cheerleaders that, of course, all hate Danielle and her mental issues, even though she’s supposed to be at a special school for people with mental issues. Where is the logic?
Also, Daniel’s gay, (let me just insert here: Daniel and Danielle…really? freaking really??) but of course he’s the stereotypical gay person from like the early 2000s with no shred of personality. It was very clear that Vaughn is uncomfortable with queer people but wanted to include the character to up her book’s (so-called) relate-ability among the young folks. It was ridiculous and uncalled for.
And, of course, Daniel is the one obsessed with The Big Lebowski, which, we aren’t even introduced to until page 160. This movie is in the title of the book and we don’t see any reference to it at all until page 160. I’m so confused.
A better title for this book would have been PTSD, Shakespeare, and me.
And, while we’re back on the topic of PTSD, let me introduce you to my biggest problem with this book. Our MC’s OCD, after meeting Daniel, IS SLOWLY BEING CURED. I can’t even begin to tell you how ridiculous this is. Her OCD is being cured. This is the tipping point that proves Vaughn knows nothing about OCD. You can’t cure it.
Here’s the premise of the book:
Danielle developed OCD after a traumatic incident in her life and now it’s slowly going away as she recovers. (Which, happens to be the definition of PTSD, right?)
But, OCD is not something that you “suddenly” develop nor is it something you “recover” from. I was born with OCD and, by God, no matter how hard I work to keep it in check and do everything I can to attempt stoppering it from affecting my life I will have OCD for the rest of my life. It doesn’t just go away because you meet people who accept you and are good for you. What actually happens is that you meet wonderful people who accept you for who you are and learn to live with you and love you regardless of your “ticks.” (This is spoken from personal experience. I have some wonderful friends and they have not changed me but have, instead, done everything in their power to accommodate my disorder and support me.)
But, you know, our MC stops taking her Adoral because she feels better now, so she must be cured. *rolls eyes until they fall out of my head*
So, I guess it turns out that I’m still pretty damn angry over this book. Woops. Definitely do not read this book. It’s insensitive, not at all accurate, and not even fun to read. It’s a waste of time, and, as someone with OCD, I implore you never to read this book.
Up Later: Review of Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with an Extraordinary Man