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I really wanted to like this book - a personal look at OCD that was touted as a funny yet personal glimpse into one womans daily rituals and compulsions. David Sedaris even gave the book a great review - how could I not like it?For starters, Colas is amazingly immature throughout. She manipulates and wheedles and whines until her husband goes along with her compulsions (though after a while they felt oddly like whims to me. I swear I could practically hear her thinking, Hm, I wonder if hell do [insert inane request here:]?). My jaw was on the ground when Colas described how she makes her husband take out the garbage. Surprisingly, Colas hoards up to 20 bags of garbage in their apartment. Why? Because shes afraid of the communal garbage dumpster. So once the bags become unmanageable and have to be taken out, Colas makes her husband dress in a pair of clothes that will be thrown away after the task. He must wash his hands after each trip (the water is left running for the duration, lest the handles be contaminated). One bag is taken out at a time and he is not allowed to touch the door handles. Colas watches this sordid task play out from the safety her bedroom where she watches over her husband to ensure that no garbage comes into contact with her husband (i.e. liquids from a leaky bag). After had husband has managed to get all the garbage taken out, he must strip from his contaminated clothes (which are thrown away) and then immediately take a shower.Its no surprise (possible spoiler alert, but I dont know how one wouldnt see this one coming from a mile away...) that Colas and her husband end up separating. I infer that they eventually divorced, though this was never explicitly stated. And I would also lay some blame on her husband for enabling her so much and for so long. When he did stand up to Colas, it was always in a a non-helpful way (i.e. Well I guess if the cereals contaminated that youll just die then.), though Im sure he was at his wits end, anyway.Colas husband requests that she attend individual therapy and couples counseling, which she puts in a barely half-hearted effort towards. And her reasoning? She was brought up to not make herself the center of attention. Um, ok? Thats the most ridiculous reason EVER. She also staunchly refuses to take medication. Eventually, she does and - SURPRISE - shes able to carry on a normal life! Who woulda thought??I also found it incredibly annoying and slightly concerning that she used her kids as scapegoats for her compulsions - when she was pregnant with her second child, she all but flat-out told her husband that her rituals were out of concern for the health of the baby. Of course, once the baby was born and she still was performing her compulsions... And the incident with the eclipse? She kept her kids home from school and sequestered in a far corner of the house so they wouldnt inadvertently look at it and go blind. And before anyone thinks Im being overly callous towards Colas mental illness, why would she complain incessantly about how she would love to not have these compulsions and how they run her life and how they take up so much time but then in the same breath airily dismiss therapy and medication? To me, she came across as someone who wanted to seem like she wanted help, while secretly enjoying the special privileges having OCD afforded her. Example - hardly ever leaving the house, feigning inability to eat in a restaurant with friends/co-workers, refusing to visit her mother-in-law because her house is too clean, not showering for days because shes afraid shell drop her towel on the ground, never spending time with her husband away from home because the babysitter might use her bathroom. I found her unbearably frustrating - I wanted to grab her by her shoulders and yell at her to grow the eff up already.It must be nice to not have to work while your husband supports you and the kids while you devolve into a needy, helpless lump. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with a mental illness dont have that luxury. Colas memoir is a slap in the face to those people. Oh, and the ending? Cheese-a-licious. And not in a good way.
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