I am sure most of us have jokingly said at some point in time that a certain behavior or pattern of ours or somebody else’s is due to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but I am also sure that most of us really know preciously little about the disorder affecting quite a few among us. If there’s one thing that I am certain of after having finished reading J.J. Keeler’s I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands, it is that I will certainly never joke about anything like that again.
While I hesitate to categorize her book as funny, that truly is the first thing that comes to mind. Her descriptions of life with OCD, as heart-wrenching as they are, are also incredibly funny, and never ceased to amaze me with the continuous display of intelligent humor and astonishingly sharp and poignant observations. J.J. Keeler accomplished something truly rare – she not only made me see OCD for what it is, but she made me feel like I was looking at it from the inside. I was not just a mildly curious observer, I felt immersed in the daily struggles of somebody coping with OCD. This was a true revelation to me, and a much needed reminder how little is generally known about such disorders and how easily they could be misunderstood.
I would highly recommend J.J. Keeler’s I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands to anybody who wishes to be better informed about OCD and most certainly to anybody who is struggling with the disorder. In addition to the truly brilliant descriptions of daily life with OCD, the author offers a lot of practical advice, written in a way that should help any fellow OCD sufferer realize that they are not alone in their battle with it. Although it is all written with a big dose of humor, it is also completely serious, pointing out that OCD is a real disorder and completely terrifying for those living with it or those sharing their life with a person afflicted by OCD. A brave book by a gifted writer, this is a winner on every level.
(Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views)