Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review - "I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side Of OCD" by J.J. Keeler

TLC Book Tours asked me to write a review of J.J. Keeler’s book, “I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD,” which was published in 2012 by Paragon House, St. Paul, Minnesota. This book is a memoir dealing with Ms. Keeler’s experience of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it is 173 pages long in soft cover format.

I have a read a few memoirs on OCD, and this is one of the better books on the subject. It is an easy and relatively quick read. This does not mean that the book is simplistic or filled with fluff. Rather, Ms. Keeler’s writing style is accessible to the average reader and very relatable to people afflicted with OCD, regardless of the particular types of obsessions and compulsions burdening them.

The book follows a somewhat chronological order of Ms. Keeler’s life, from childhood through adulthood, though it does jump back and forth some. The author also tries to separate the chapters by particular obsessions, hence the reason why it sometimes jumps around time-wise. It is not hard to follow.

I appreciate that someone without contamination OCD has written a book about their struggles. Too often, OCD is known only as the washing disease, and this can lead to misdiagnosis and a misunderstanding of this tricky illness. Even Ms. Keeler herself at first rejected the notion of having OCD because as she said in her own words “I can’t have OCD. I hardly ever wash my hands,” (pg. 156). Specifically, the author struggled with checking compulsions, violent/harm obsessions, hyper-responsibility/hyper-morality, and Hit and Run OCD.
J.J. Keeler

I also liked the positive, upbeat nature of the book. Ms. Keeler is witty, and I even giggled out loud to myself at a few of her comments. This is not to say that the author downplays the fear, torment, and pain of OCD. It is very clear from her reminiscences that she has suffered tremendously. I applaud Ms. Keeler because she does not seem to dwell on what she has lost. However, I would have liked to get a little more insight into the author’s recovery process as it was glossed over rather quickly.

Scattered throughout the text, there are cartoonish-style side notes that Ms. Keeler terms “Random OCD Facts,” which are helpful tidbits of information about OCD. In addition, she finishes the book with a chapter entitled, “Dear Friend,” where she provides some basic information and encouragement to fellow sufferers to give them a bit of guidance through the maze of mental illness.

The only disappointment I had with the book is that there is a handful of profanities (roughly ten or so times), generally located in the first few chapters of the book. They are mostly f-words and one very crude term for a body part. Completely unnecessary in any book, in my little 'ole opinion.

Naughty bits of language aside, I liked “I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands.” It is an honest portrayal of someone living with the horrors of OCD, and yet it is not depressing or hopeless in any way. I believe most people with OCD would connect with Ms. Keeler’s struggle, and moreover, I think this book would be a good primer for those uninitiated to the world of OCD.

My only compensation was a free (autographed!) copy of “I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD,” in exchange for my honest book review.

9 comments:

  1. I'm in the middle of the book now, Sunny, and will be reviewing it next week.......so far, i agree with everything you say! Nice review.

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    1. Thanks, Janet! I'm looking forward to hearing your take on it.

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  2. I hope this is available on Kindle..I am ready for a new book so I am going to check out amazon. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Your welcome, Krystal Lynn. : ) I believe it is on Kindle, so you're in luck!

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    2. That's supposed to be "you're" welcome. Duh!!

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  3. Well-written review! I felt the same way about wanting to know more about Keeler's recovery/treatment process. I loved the last chapter, "Dear Friend." I found it very helpful.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, Tina, I too thought the last chapter was good. I would have loved to hear more about Ms. Keeler's recovery because I'm always trying to learn from other sufferers' success. I especially love her attitude.

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  4. I'm glad you found JJ's story readable and upbeat!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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    1. It was absolutely my pleasure, thanks for the opportunity!

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