Newest Review: ... incident, the 'victim' catches up with her later intrigued by her behaviour. He introduces himself as Seamus, and the two begin a passiona... more
A comedy about OCD?
Addition - Toni Jordan
Member Name: cerys82
Addition - Toni Jordan
Advantages: Well structured and written
Disadvantages: Humour is a bit broad in places
Grace is in her 30s has a problem that counts, in that she cannot stop counting. Every element in her life is determined by numbers, mulitiples and measurements. It has slowly destroyed her life, leading her to lose a job she loved as a teacher and being a source of worry for her although she remains surprisingly upbeat about the situation. The only people who seem to understand her are her misfit niece and the theoretical 'ghost' of Nikola Tesla, a scientist who appears to share Grace's obsession with counting.
Grace's life is further thrown askew when she has an embarrassing encounter at a supermarket checkout involving her obsession, a bunch of bananas and a perfect stranger. Having thought she had got away with said incident, the 'victim' catches up with her later intrigued by her behaviour. He introduces himself as Seamus, and the two begin a passionate relationship which forces her to look closely at her disorder and the events of her past that have possibly driven her to this point.
I found this book to be very entertaining. A book about a woman suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder does not exactly sound like a barrel of laughs, however this story is a real joy. Grace is never portrayed as a victim as such, she is somewhat aware of the effect of the disorder has on her life but displays the behaviour of someone who has learnt to live with it and almost attempts to persuade the reader of the reasoning behind her obsessions. She is acutely self-aware, often to the point of arrogance, in particular she sporadically mentions that she is very attractive!
Her tentative attempts at a relationship with Seamus are really quite charming and very, very funny as he seems very intrigued by her disorder and does not necessarily want to change her at a person but encourages her to get help.
The love scenes between them are surprisingly explicit but work well because they form another area of her life for her to get obsessive about.
Given the subject matter, it is actually quite surprisingly funny not least in how Grace views herself and the things that go on around her. The fact that her compulsions make her an unreliable narrator is an interesting approach which sets this book a cut above. That said there are the occasional moments that whilst entertaining, the humour becomes a little too broad and messes the tone of the rest of the story - in particular where Grace encounters the more conventionally known sufferers of OCD or as she calls them 'handwashers' where it leaps into slightly farcial areas where it becomes a little reliant on stereotypes.
All things considered, I believe this to be a very entertaining novel with an interesting and well carried out premise. It is quite a quick read which is not a criticism in any form as it does not feel rushed and you still have time to get involved with the characters. It gets the point across without being patronising or preachy or even oversentimental which is quite an achievement actually as there are some plot developments that take place that could have easily tipped it over into melodrama at any point. I really recommend this book as a solid but not overly taxing read.
Summary: An interesting premise done well