Friday, 21 December 2012

Terry Spencer Hesser – Kissing doorknobs (2/5)


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Genre: YA Drama

This is the book for you if you like:

- Books about OCD

Summary: (from Goodreads)

During her preschool years, Tara Sullivan lived in terror that something bad would happen to her mother while they were apart. In grade school, she panicked during the practice fire drills. Practice for what?, Tara asked. For the upcoming disaster that was bound to happen?
Then, at the age of 11, it happened. Tara heard the phrase that changed her life: Step on a crack, break your mother's back. Before Tara knew it, she was counting every crack in the sidewalk. Over time, Tara's "quirks" grew and developed: arranging her meals on plates, nonstop prayer rituals, until she developed a new ritual wherein she kissed her fingers and touched doorknobs...

Thoughts on covers:

They’re all pretty generic. The first, English, one is too chaotic for me and the last, Dutch, one too meaningless. My favourite of these three (or the one I dislike the least?) is the German one – at least with the numbers on it, it shows a bit about the OCD that’s the subject of the book.


It’s a great title; it’s weird enough to grab your attention and it’s also a very important thing in the book.


Tara, our main character, is an 11-year old girl who’s always scared and uses rituals and prayers to deal with her fears. Aside from her OCD as a reader you don’t learn a lot about her personality, which made it hard to get invested in her story.

Her mother is totally crazy and abusive; I can’t believe the book actually depicts her as a normal mom who just doesn’t know how to cope with Tara. Donna, a party-girl she becomes friends with because she doesn’t care about Tara’s rituals, is your typical bad girl; she’s got no personality to speak of. This is true for the other characters in Tara’s life also: her younger sisters is a tomboy, one her friends is an anorexic model… They’re all archetypes without any true personality.


The book doesn’t have a particular setting; it’s set in a, probably, small town.

General story:
(I read this in Dutch translation)

Let’s start with what I like: I like that this is a book about OCD, written for children. I think it’s important that they have a way of getting acquainted with mental illness and there is no better way than books.

There is, however, a better way than this book. Aside from my issue with the characters, this book Is structured very chaotically (in that sense the English cover fits the book perfectly); it’s like the writer picked a couple of scenes out of Tara’s life at random and decided to describe them, with no apparent reason why she picked those instead of other moments of Tara’s life. There is no logical development in it; even when she’s started therapy, it all goes in these huge steps that made me feel like I had lot parts of the book.

Will I read other books from this author?

Probably not.

Overall rating: 2/5

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