Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.

OCD has a very particular reputation in popular media. With shows like "Hoarders" and "Intervention" and "The OCD Project," I know that the general thought is that people with OCD are psychotic, or crazy. I've always known that not to be true, but I've read books where that's the assumption, and so I was skeptical of a book that centered around OCD.

However, when I attended the launch party for OCD Love Story, author Corey Ann Haydu said something I'll never forget. [Paraphrasing] "I had always thought of OCD as a psychotic disorder. But when I was doing research and found out that it was an anxiety disorder, I knew that I could understand it, and that I wanted to write about it."

That being said, this book is painful in the most exquisite way possible. Following Bea--a girl who has both phobias and severe OCD with a hint of denial thrown in--we get an inside glimpse into someone's psyche who's suffering from this disorder. At the same time, we empathize with her. Never is there any kind of outside 'judgement' of the character that's coming through subconsciously from the author. All there is, is a broken girl who doesn't think she's broken.

One of the biggest things I can say about OCD Love Story is that it has stayed with me. Vividly. I read this book awhile ago, and still it has left such an impression on me that I still feel I can write about it without having to go digging for the details.

Warning: If you read this, you will be uncomfortable. This isn't an easy book, because dealing with anxiety in its various forms never is. However, it is an important book. I think that issues like this need to be written about, so that the people facing them can be open about them too, and not hide, which can make things so much worse. (As we see for Bea)

I encourage you to read this love story. You'll ache, you'll panic, you might even cry, but I promise that it's worth it.

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