OCD, The DUDE, and ME by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

Reviewed by Sage G.

There are books that creep slowly through the underbrush, limbs plastered to the ground like a sedentary giant, until crashing into you unexpectedly. Ocd, The Dude, and Me, by Lauren Roedy Vaughn is not one of those books. From the very start, when we first meet intrepid senior Danielle in the midst of a unusually usual breakdown, it is impossible to feel anything except the heat and anticipation radiating from this novel. From that point onward, the novel is a nonstop roller-coaster ride through Danielle’s life and issues. Issues which are abundant, as the reader finds out through shadowing Danielle on the class trip to London, Labowski fest, and finally graduation. It’s uncertain at first whether or not Danielle will be able to conquer her low self-esteem and mental issues, but the story manages to wrap together in a satisfying and fulfilling conclusion.

It’s unusual to find such realism in a novel about a neurotic teenage girl, and at first I had my doubts. However, things somehow manage to come together to make a thoroughly enjoyable read, filled with fleshed out and believable characters. The very emotional nature of this novel is at times a bit overbearing; however this is a welcome change to a trend towards sparse narratives that leave you feeling empty.  While a tad brash and eager to jump in head first, this novel manages to surpass its downfalls and rise above. The format (that of a girl writing to her diary), while not the most original idea, is done very well and thoroughly engaging. Ocd, The Dude, and Me handles its subject matter (mental illness, teen angst, and baggage from the past) very well. It never panders to the audience, while still giving off the feeling in its passages that it understands what it’s talking about.

This is a book for the lost and the lonely, for people who fluctuate in mood more than they’d care or be able to admit. It’s for anybody who’s ever felt a little bit silly, outcast, neurotic, or socially awkward. Most importantly, it’s worth reading for it’s genuine portrayal of teenage life, even if you’re no longer a teenager.

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