Visiting Crazytown – OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

She says it with a smile, but it’s that invisible line anyway. I may have more fun than Lisha, but she gets to stay over on the side of sanity and I seem to have one foot outside the border and into crazytown.

book_OCDlove240OCD Love Story was possibly the most stressful book I have ever read. Corey Ann Haydu has perfectly rendered a brilliant, unflinchingly honest insight into the mind of someone whose compulsions have taken over. Bea has obsessive compulsive disorder this is evident almost immediately although she is in very deep denial chalking up her meticulous note taking as a quirk and her inability to drive as frighteningly fast as the speed limit proof that she just takes safety very, very seriously. Part love story and part mystery we slowly put together why Bea is so regimented.

In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic… and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.

We first meet Beck during a blackout at a dance, he is having a panic attack something that is more than familiar to Bea. The interaction between them is short lived and seemingly at an end until Dr. Pat, Bea’s therapist, prescribes group therapy. Within the motley group, there is Jenny whose compulsions manifest themselves in pulling out her hair, Rudy who scrapes off his skin, Fawn who washes excessively and surprisingly Beck who is addicted to working out and also is a hand-washing germaphobe. On the surface Bea and Beck seem the most normal, or at least that is what Bea convinces herself and pretty much everyone else.

They say “pride goeth before the fall“, well more specifically Proverbs 16:18, KJB: Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. That would be overstating the case somewhat as I am not actually in danger of destruction, at least I don’t think I am but I am not feeling particularly prideful at the moment. I find exploration of the human psyche endlessly fascinating and one of my favorite games is “armchair psychologist”. Thus I felt that I was more than equipped to read Corey Ann Haydu’s OCD Love Story and maintain my sangfroid, it turns out I was mistaken. I found myself at various points in the story thinking, even aloud at times, “Bea! Just stop!” or “No, no, NO!”. Part of the genius of Haydu’s writing lies in her ability to convey to the reader that no matter how much you want Bea to stop that she just can’t.

The Canadian Mental Health Association characterizes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as an anxiety disorder when rituals are performed over and over to combat intrusive impulses, thoughts or ideas. Unfortunately the abatement of anxiety provided by these rituals is temporary. These compulsions can manifest themselves in checking and arranging things, counting and washing. Treatment for this disorder is typically a combination of cognitive behavior therapy and SSRIs.

Initially, I admit I rather arrogantly thought as I read that that this problem could be easily combated with drug therapy only to realize that Bea has in fact been medicated for over two years at the commencement of the story. Bea’s actions resonated with me, thankfully I never stalked anyone but as I do my nightly security perimeter check ensuring that all the light switches are in the proper downward position, the locks are secured with only specific lights illuminated that I am only a hop, skip and a jump away. 

AUTHOR: Corey Ann Haydu

RATING: 4 1/2  Stars


As an aside I thought it rather appropriate considering the subject matter of this review to include this clip of Neil Hilborn’s poem which centers on OCD and falling in love.


5 thoughts on “Visiting Crazytown – OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu”

  1. “Part of the genius of Haydu’s writing lies in her ability to convey to the reader that no matter how much you want Bea to stop that she just can’t.” I totally agree. There were so many times while reading that I thought, “Bea, just STOP IT!” But then, I sort of understood where she was coming from, which was kind of scary. I thought this story was incredibly well done. Thanks so much for linking my review. 🙂

  2. Great review. This book has been on my radar for awhile but as an OCD sufferer myself I do not know whether or not it would be a great idea to read it – too close to home maybe lol. 😉

    1. I don’t have OCD per se, but regardless it is hard not to see yourself in Bea and that is difficult to read especially when it is so well done you have trouble maintaining distance from the characters. That being said I would read it because it is so very skillfully depicted and that is all too rare this days. Plus I would love to know what you think of it.

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