Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Fletcher Wortmann (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
First Published: Mar. 27, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: memoir, psychiatric disorders
First sentence: "Unless you or someone close to you has been affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder, or you have taken a course in clinical psychology (I take great satisfaction in the fact that my school's psychology department no longer considers me "abnormal"), you probably know only the basics of OCD: superb personal hygiene, exceptional organizational skills, an inclination toward solving mysteries."
Acquired: Received an egalley from Netgalley
Reason for Reading: I have OCD and this short memoir looked interesting to me.
I have read over 60 books so far this year and am fortunate that it has taken me this long to come upon a book I just could not finish, but wow was this a doozy. I read 3 chapters, if one includes the lengthy introduction. During the introduction, the author warns us that this book is going to contain coarse language and that raised my first flag. I'm not a prude but swearing in narratives does irk me much more than characters swearing in dialogue. The first chapter was interesting as the author describes what OCD is and what it's like from a personal point of view, of course, the language did bother me and made me uncomfortable but it was the second chapter which I did force myself to read the whole way through that made me put the book down in disgust. Chapter 2 is simply a vicious tirade against the Catholic Church. The author actually blames Catholicism, in part, for his disorder! Being a Catholic myself I found this chapter ignorant and prejudiced. I'm willing to listen, and allow someone their opinion on my, or anyone's religion, based on the facts, but this was simply a succession of personal derogatory, untruthful opinions. As an example the first sentence of Chapter 2 contains this phrase "Catholicism ... is a repressive construct founded in existential terror, barely restrained by complex, arbitrary ritual behaviors;" While slightly further along: "The teachings of the Catholic Church were hugely influential on the development of my neuroses. Catholicism established a useful context of guilt and self-loathing that the disorder could exploit." The author lets us know he will have more to say on the subject later. I refuse to go any further into discussion about this hate-speech filled chapter (which just gets worse the further along it goes), were it about the Jewish, Muslim, or any other faith, no publisher would deem it fit to publish. Absolute rubbish.
Here is the publisher's summary for a different view of the book: "Imagine the worst thing in the world. Picture it. Construct it, carefully and deliberately in your mind. Be careful not to omit anything. Imagine it happening to you, to the people you love. Imagine the worst thing in the world.
Now try not to think about it.
This is what it is like for Fletcher Wortmann. In his brilliant memoir, the author takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the “doubting disorder,” as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as “preventative measures” to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like “trigger” therapy.
But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the “People’s Republic of Swarthmore.”
Triggered is a pitch-perfect memoir; a touching, triumphantly funny, compulsively readable, and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age tale for Generation Anxiety."