Monday, March 21, 2011

Boy Book Review - Compulsion

CompulsionCompulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was difficult for me to read and difficult to like but it did pull me into its world. I've given it three stars because of the reason I found it difficult. This is an in-depth portrayal of the life of Jake, a young man with OCD. Heidi Ayarbe brought me deep into a disturbed mind that knows his life is not normal and feels his only hope of becoming normal is "magic." The magic of prime numbers and the hope that winning his third soccer championship will break their control over his life. Keeping himself a secret grows harder every day, as does his fear of what will happen if anyone figures him out.

I don't have OCD, I don't know anyone who does. Compulsion truely took me to a foreign state, and I totally recommend this book to anyone trying to understand this insidious illness. Watching Jake was uncomfortable for this so-called "normal" person. I knew his belief in magic was wrong but prayed with every page I turned that maybe in his case I was wrong. That is the power of this book, I had to root for this boy compelled to do things I could not understand and hope he would succeed.

Jake is compelled to look at clocks, knowing that some time were good - those he could manipulate into a prime number like 7:31 where 7-3-1= 3. Other times were bad and left him literally frozen in place while friends and family complained until the clock changed. This is not MONK, Jake needs more than just to have the shampoo and conditioner equal. One of the most compelling scenes occurred after well-meaning friends disturb his morning ritual and he is forced to risk loosing his spot in the all-important game because he has no choice. He MUST leave school and go all the way home and back to bed so he can start his day over again correctly.

The story also covers his best friend Luc, a young man suffering anger issues after living with an abusive father. We also meet Jake's younger sister who is sometimes forced to assume the role of mother because their own mother has her own form of OCD but really just wants to beleive that jer brother "has her back". When his father tells Jake he needs to help keep the family together and promises he won't ask the impossible of his son, it was hard not to cry as Jake thinks,
"You already have."

The weakest part of the book was an attempt to go into the past and offer an explaination for Jake's OCD and obssesion with clocks and time. I didn't care why. it simply was, and as a reader I was content with that. I just wanted to know what would happen to him and his family next.

This book comes out in May, 2011. It does not contain the conventional "happy ending." But it does offer hope, and for that it deserves to be read.

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Boy Book Reviews

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