Tuesday, January 14, 2014

OCD, The Dude and Me by Lauren Vaughn

Danielle is obsessive compulsive, probably adhd and an outcast, at least in her view.  She is in counseling, yoga for relaxation, social skills therapy and is a senior in high school.  Early on the reader knows something precipitated all this but until Danielle is ready to share we do not know exactly what or how traumatic it was.  She describes all her compulsions and her obsession with hats. One such is her crush on a guy, Jacob, who treats her rather badly. She actually spends a lot of time doing this in the story.  Here is the cast of characters that see her through what looks like a terrible senior year but turns out perhaps not to be so much so.  Aunt Joyce is incredible in her wisdom and ability to see the better side of things.  She makes costumes for Lebowski Fest.  She tells Danielle she will be just fine on the Senior trip to England and insists that Danielle go, for instance.  Marv, the school counselor who is willing to let Danielle to do therapy through notes back and forth.  He is fairly wise in this.  Justine, a very elderly tour guide that Danielle meets on her Senior class trip. Ms.  Harrison, English teacher who assigns many essays and gives wise criticism.  Many of the essays, which are part of the story, have references to Shakespeare plays but not done in a way that requires one to have read and understood them.  Daniel, the boy she meets and become friends with from socials skills.  The story is told in letters to Aunt Joyce, Justine and missives to Marv.  It is told in her essays for Ms. Harrison and her journal writings.  That makes this an episodic plot with focus on problems not characters so this isn't my favorite kind of book.  But it reads quickly and Danielle comes to appreciate herself and move forward from the trauma that so affected her.  Teens who enjoy realistic fiction dealing with serious problems would undoubtedly enjoy it.

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