I have read a lot good things about this book, the subject matter and story outline were fascinating, too. At long last I got a chance to read and review the book myself.
Clare Thorpe’s need for order and symmetry governs everything she owns – from tins and toiletries, to cushions and clothes.
Yet she has always managed to hide the compulsions dominating her world. Until now.
When long-distance boyfriend Tom proposes, her secret life begins to unravel. How can she share a future with the man she loves, if she can’t even share her space?
And when the only way forward brings a threat greater than any compulsive behaviour, do they have a future together at all?
A poignant and humorous story of love, family, secrets…and military precision.
Here is my review:
This book is truly oustanding. It handles the subject matter of compulsive obsessive disorder very well. The young woman, Clare, who tells the story, is a perfect character to let us into her world of compulsions. I was in awe of the many small ways that her disorder about disorder (vague quote from the book itself) is shown to us readers.
We get some idea about her family background and why she has developed the disorder and how she coped with it until she accepts Tom’s proposal. He is almost too good to be true and for a few chapters I struggled with him as her fiance. She hasn’t told him about the problem, in fact, she only now begins to look for a solution.
Things don’t exactly go smoothly from here: There are family problems and many other factors that complicate the path to the book’s ending.
It feels as the novel has been researched really well, everything is believable and the background characters fit into the mix very well, too.
The year is short but this is a strong contender as one of my favourite reads of it. The book flows naturally and shines with sensitivity. It never feels as if you are being taught or educated, and yet, you are. I absolutely loved it and want to thank the author for writing this marvel.
She began her working life as a journalist on the Express & Star evening newspaper in Wolverhampton, and has written for the lifestyle magazine, Complete Wellbeing, and for the mental health charities Mind and OCD Action. She blogs as The Reluctant Perfectionist about living with obsessive compulsive disorder, perfectionism and anxiety.
Helen enjoys red wine, live stand-up comedy and adventurous travel and experiences, which have included trips to the Arctic, ballooning and a tandem skydive. Her life’s ambition is to figure out what ‘good enough’ means.
The A to Z of Normal is Helen’s first novel.