Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD

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9781439192504: Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD

In the bestselling tradition of Augusten Burroughs, a compassionate, witty, and completely candid memoir that chronicles growing up with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Traci Foust wasn't a "normal" seven-year-old girl. When all the neighborhood kids were playing outdoors, Traci was inside making sure the miniature Catholic saint statues in her windowsill always pointed due north, scratching out bald patches on her scalp, and snapping her fingers after every utterance of the word God. As Traci got older, her OCD blossomed to include panic attacks and other bizarre behaviors, including a fear of the sun, an obsession with contracting eradicated diseases, and the idea that she could catch herself on fire just by thinking about it.While stints of therapy—and lots of Nyquil—sometimes helped, nothing alleviated the fact that her single mother and mid-life crisis father had no idea about how to deal with her.
 
So, it wasn't a total shock when she became a teenage runaway on the poetry slam beat in the hippie beach towns of Northern California and had to be dragged home by her family. It also wasn't too surprising when her mother could no longer stand the stress of having Traci under her roof, so Traci had a stint of living at a family-owned nursing home, in a room with a seventy-five-year old WWII Vet who kept mistaking her for a prostitute.

In this heartfelt, funny, and candid account of her struggles with a variety of psychological disorders, Traci shows that there is nothing special about being "normal."

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About the Author:

Traci Foust grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and received a degree in American Literature from UCSC. Her writing credits included contemporary short fiction in The Black Satellite Anthology (2000) to winning the Northern California Olympiad of the Arts award for the same category. She has also been published in Hyperlexia Literary Journal (3/09). She currently lives in San Diego, CA. Nowhere Near Normal is her first book-length work of nonfiction.

From Publishers Weekly:

Growing up in the 1970s with an anxiety disorder that was only later diagnosed as obsessive compulsive lent a strange, disquieting edge to San Francisco author Foust's childhood, as she re-creates it in this moving memoir. Chapters proceed through Foust's childhood chronologically, from age eight, when her parents broke up and she moved with her mother, older brother, and sister into a South San Jose (Bay area) apartment complex, and she could indulge her microbe fears and hypochondria. As a child Foust could not master the intractability of numbers, but excelled in spelling and English; she lied frequently, insisted on systematic ways of organizing her things, and had morbid concerns about safety and hygiene. Inexplicable actions, such as locking her best friend in a hot car, then running away, prompted visits to psychologists, who first diagnosed Foust as schizophrenic; later in high school she found comfort in NyQuil and antihistamines, coming gradually to the realization that the compulsions waxed and waned depending on levels of stress. Foust pokes fun at her own sense of self-pity and describes the lack of empathy in others, giving readers an intimate look at OCD from the inside. (Apr.)
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