The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Much of this book takes place in Adam's group therapy sessions for OCD. His counselor, Chuck, suggests they take on new names for group sessions, and a super hero theme quickly emerges. The beautiful new girl across from Adam inspires his love after about four seconds, but whether or not she returns it is a constant source of agony. Adam's mom is a hoarder, making his home life stressful, especially since she doesn't want him to talk about it with anyone. His father is remarried with a young son who worships Adam, and Adam is the only one who can help calm his anxiety. There are a lot of people in Adam's life who need a hero, but Adam isn't sure he can save everybody if he can't even save himself.
The authenticity of Adam's OCD resonates from every page, including his tendency to lie about his medication needs as problems escalate, and the way he feels guilty about not being "normal." The author shows us how the condition affects him - from not being able to walk through certain doorways unless he performs certain rituals (preferably in the most normal-looking way possible), to tapping and counting in his head to calm himself. At one point, though, he is talking about how prime numbers are always good, and then he lists two numbers, one of which is 39 - obviously not prime.
Adam's relationship with Robyn is interesting, but so are his relationships with the other group members, including "Thor," a large silent type, and "Wolverine," a good-looking athlete with hypochondria who is more than happy to get Robyn's attention.
This book is driven by a compelling main character, and I appreciated that Adam's life is about more than his diagnosis. The romance and the mystery of the letters are slightly less realistic than other facets of the book.
Note to advanced readers - the book includes mature content.
"So much relief from letting go of one dirty little secret? Or were all secrets dirty? Maybe even the clean ones were like magnets inevitably attracting slithery things."
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