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OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

OCD, The Dude, and Me

by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

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Great book about learning to abide whatever comes your way. ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn is a realistic fiction novel for mature readers. This novel made the 2015 Taysha List, which is the "high school" level suggested reading list put out by the Texas Library Association, but it is reviewed for grades 7+.

Danielle Levine moved and started a new school her 9th grade year after an event left her with some mental issues. The novel is completely from Danielle's point of view through her 12th grade year. She writes in her "me-moire" about her life, so the reader really sees her obsessions--hence, the OCD. She believes she is 20 pounds overweight with red curly (frizzy) hair and a hat thing. She wears different hats to deal with life along with her writing. Throughout this senior year, we learn that the other students see Danielle as who she is--rather strange but ok. She, however, obsesses about their opinion of her. They, as well as we the reader, come to know why Danielle writes and wears her hats and no longer consider her strange. We understand, which is one of the lessons of the novel: what happens to people isn't known so accept people as they are instead of judging.

Senior year is an interesting year of life because you're still in school and dependent on your parents and your hometown while at the same time you are planning for the future, which hopefully is 70 years long. Planning how to set the foundation for an entire life can be daunting. Danielle can't even think about college because she is mired in the past. At the beginning of the novel, you see her severe OCD. She's barely functioning--there's no way she could be on her own making decisions and dealing with the punches that life throws. As the novel progresses, Danielle asks people--her teacher, her counselor, and her friends--about life. By the end of the year, she's a functioning member of society. Was the journey easy? No.

What I like about the novel are the messages--there are a lot of them, which the author could have saved for future books, but they are good nonetheless. If you like to write quotes from books, you'll be writing a lot from this one! There's one main message that pulls the book together at the end, making the book worth reading. I think a lot of you may start the book and stop because Danielle seems so selfish and the first person point of view is overwhelming from this OCD mental case. Yes, you do find out what happened that caused the OCD, but it's not important until the end. It is worth finishing and contemplating how you want to abide life. ( )
  acargile | Jan 4, 2015 |
In Danielle’s senior year archive is made up of her school papers with teacher commentary, emails, and letters all containing her hilarious musings on being adopted, her red hair and size 10 body, and her growing obsession with Jacob, the stereotypical popular high school boy. Danielle is determined that her last year at her alternative high school will be no different than all the others, and she is especially dreading the class trip to England. Her attitude begins to change after her school counselor forces her to attend a social skills group where she meets Daniel, a gay boy who introduces her to The Big Lebowski. More than anyone else, Daniel is able to understand Danielle’s quirks and how she has been shaped by the traumatic loss in her past. By the time she graduates, Danielle’s life is radically transformed through new friendships and strengthened relationships with family and mentors. A unique and surprising story told through the voice of a high school misfit whose delightful eccentricities and foibles will be relatable for many students who have struggled to fit in. The hodge-podge journal-entry style of the writing will be inviting to reluctant readers as well. Highly recommended. Ages 14 & up. ( )
  alovett | Oct 16, 2014 |
Danielle has OCD and attends a special school at which each kid has an 'issue'. Through a series of journal entries, school assignments, emails, and secret me-moir entries, Danielle tells of her senior year in high school. She has a crush on Jacob who figuratively "doesn't know she exists", but when he does acknowledge her it's demeaning and hurtful.

Danielle is forced to go on a class trip to England and room with people who dislike her. She meets an octogenarian with whom she carries on a correspondence.

She's forced to enroll in a social skills class, at which she meets Daniel. They become best friends.

She also emails her Aunt Joyce, who understands her much better than her parents do.

OCD, The Dude and Me is a cute book. One of my issues with it, though, is that although Danielle goes to a special school, one for high-potential students with learning disabilities, none of the other kids seem to have these issues.

This is a pleasant book. That's about what I can say. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Feb 21, 2014 |
The description of this book sounds like the plot of just about every young adult novel ever written, but stick with me – OCD, the Dude, and Me isn’t an ordinary misfit story. Danielle has frizzy red hair, a plus-size body, a sarcastic attitude, and (as the title indicates) clinically diagnosed OCD, which makes for an extremely difficult social life. As she navigates through her final year of high school, she writes a series of self-aware and highly personal essays for her English class, which lands her a series of appointments with the school psychologist and enrollment in a “social skills” class for other teenage misfits. Danielle is determined to keep everyone at arm’s length, but when she meets Daniel, another social outcast who is obsessed with The Big Lebowski, she finds herself warming to her witty and unusual new friend.

This book was fantastic. I picked it up initially because I wanted to see how the author dealt with the concept of teenagers and mental illness. Much to my delight, she treated the subject with dignity, accuracy, and compassion – a surprising feat, considering OCD has become a term to describe anyone with a perfectionist streak, rather than an actual debilitating mental disease. But I digress…

Danielle is one of the most relatable young adult heroines I’ve read about in a long time. She’s not a wilting-flower-damsel-in-distress-love-obsessed-gloomy teenager girl who happens to be the most desirable person in the history of forever. She’s a complex, confused, frustrated teen who is constricted by the traditional expectations set by her teacher and her family, and she reminded me a lot of myself in high school. In fact, there were a couple places in the book when I had to put the book down because of how strong my emotional reaction was.

The entire book is constructed out of diary entries, essays, and e-mails – not a particularly new format in the world of young adult literature, but it is immensely effective. Danielle’s voice comes through with complete clarity and honesty, and the author is able to avoid creating a narcissistic main character who spends too much time inside their head while the real world is passing them by. (One of my pet peeves when it comes to YA novels…l’m looking at you, Bella Swan.)
Now, I have to admit that I’ve never seen The Big Lebowski, so I wasn’t able to relate to Danielle’s newfound obsession with the movie. The good news, however, is that fans of The Dude will definitely enjoy the last half of the book, and even if you’re not a Lebowski fan, you can still understand the excitement that comes from finding something new to relate to.

Ultimately, the message of the book is hope – hope of finding new friends, hope of finding a place to belong, and hope of overcoming adversity. And considering how strong my reactions were, I’m really glad the book ended on a positive note. This is a novel I will happily recommend to male and female readers of all ages, because this story really does transcend gender & age boundaries.


Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell. This has more of a romantic angle than OCD, but both stories are told through first person perspectives, by complex, outcast characters.

Just Listen – Sarah Dessen. The interior lives of these main characters are slowly revealed as each girl struggles to find her identity. Each girl also forms a powerful friendship with a fellow male outcast, who helps them on their journey to self-discovery.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz – A.S. King. Don’t be turned off by the angsty tone of these novels – both books feature complex characters, a touch of dark humor, and an unusual format (OCD is told through journal entries and essays, while Vera Dietz has a nonlinear storyline). ( )
  coloradogirl14 | Jul 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803738439, Hardcover)

With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and "unique learning profile," Danielle Levine doesn't fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a "social skills" class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle's resolve to keep everyone at arm's length starts to crumble.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:12 -0400)

Danielle Levine stands out even at her alternative high school--in appearance and attitude--but when her scathing and sometimes raunchy English essays land her in a social skills class, she meets Daniel, another social misfit who may break her resolve to keep everyone at arm's length.… (more)

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