OCD, the Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn, ISBN: 9780803738430
Plot Summary: Danielle and her mother get in a fight on the first day of school because of the mess in Danielle’s room. But what her mother doesn’t understand is that what she sees as mess is a carefully organized system for Danielle’s books. Many things in Danielle’s life are carefully handled, like her weight, her style of dress, and her lack of friends. As a result of her essays in class, her English teacher decides that Danielle should see a counselor and join a social skills class. Both seem like a waste of time, until Danielle meets Daniel. He introduces her to “The Big Lebowski” and friendship. This book is told in a quirky and funny style, with a lovably flawed narrator on a heartfelt journey.
Critical Evaluation: This book is told through a variety of formats. Danielle explains at the beginning that she is keeping a color coded binder to capture her life. This includes diary entries, letters to her aunt, and the essays that she writes for her English class, along with comments and grades from the teacher. This provides for an interesting look at her, and an interesting form of narration. Like “Notes,” this means that we see different sides of Danielle. However, the further we read, the more we see that she doesn’t really censor or change her language in her class essays, which also demonstrates something about Danielle’s character.
The other element of the book I find most interesting is the way important details are revealed to the reader as the story progresses. I had a feeling that there was more to the story, and more to Danielle’s neuroses than was established initially. I have to commend the author because I did not guess what her actual traumatic event would be beforehand. At the same time, the resolution of the story seems too neat and easy. I won’t spoil anything I haven’t already, but it seemed like all it took for most of Danielle’s issues to fade was one friend.
Reader’s Annotation: Danielle confines her whole life to her color coded binder. Can she make room for friends and all the unpredictable elements of life?
Information about the author (from book jacket): Lauren Roedy Vaughn is an award-winning educator who has spent twenty years teaching English to high school students with language-based learning disabilities. Lauren lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she is an avid yogini and Big Lebowski nut.
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Humor
Curriculum ties, if any: This would have ties to a journal writing assignment in an English class, or possibly a look at mental health.
Booktalking Ideas: The second half of the book incorporates a lot of “Big Lebowski” references, so for teens who love that movie, I think the book would appeal as well. I would emphasize that it is funny but heartfelt, and enjoyable to read.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Danielle is a senior in high school. Because of the challenge issues listed below, it may be more appropriate for a high school student. Publisher’s Weekly recommends this for ages 14 and up, and School Library Journal for grades 9 and up.
- Drug Use
- Mention of sexual situations
- First, I would want to be familiar with the book. As I’ve read this book, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of a book I had not read, I would want to have access to reviews.
- Then I would put together a rationale for why this book is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
- Bibliographic Citation of the book.
- A description of who the book is best suited for.
- A summary of the book and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the author.
- My justification for including the book. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on readers.
- Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
- ALA Library Bill of Rights
- Good and bad reviews of the book
- Alternative works a student could read
- Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
- When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
- If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.
I think this is one of those books that you want to have on hand for teens that have experienced things like Danielle has. I imagine it will feel good to see someone in the pages of a book who has OCD, has experienced traumatic things, and who struggles to keep everything together. The language and other controversial elements just add to the authenticity of the book.
Why did you include this book? : It received a lot of positive reviews and sounded interesting. It also deals with mental health.