Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser

Kissing DoorknobsI reread this book from awhile ago, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Tara has a problem. She had some issues when she started kindergarten, but things get really bad when she's eleven and hears Step on a crack and break your mother's back. She starts walking to school, avoiding the cracks, but then she starts counting the cracks. If she's interrupted, she goes home to start counting all over again. She starts arranging toy trolls in her desk at school, she constantly rewrites her papers because they're not neat enough, and she says prayers whenever anyone uses profanity. These habits drive her parents crazy, especially her mom. Things get out of hand when she feels the need to touch her doorknob with all ten fingers and then kisses them. She can't stop herself from these urges, and no one seems able to help her.

In case you can't tell, Tara has OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. The author does a wonderful job of putting us inside her head, understanding the power of her compulsions. Surprisingly, she has several friends at school who stand by her, but the author introduces an unlikely friend who starts to help her change, a little bit. Many of us have unusual habits, but the plot helps us understand the disabling effects of this disorder. It's a wonderful study of character.

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