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Just Checking: Scenes from the life of an obsessive-compulsive Paperback – June 1, 1999
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Emily Colas -- young, intelligent, well-educated wife and mother of two -- had a secret that was getting in the way of certain activities. Like touching people. Having a normal relationship with her husband. Socializing. Getting a job. Eating out. Like leaving the house. Soon there was no interval in her life when she was not
This raw, darkly comic series of astonishing vignettes is Emily Colas' achingly honest chronicle of her twisted journey through the obsessive-compulsive disorder that came to dominate her world. In the beginning it was germs and food. By the time she faced the fact that she was really "losing it," Colas had become a slave to her own "hobbies" -- from the daily hair cutting to incessant inspections of her children's clothing for bloodstains.
A shocking, hilarious, enormously appealing account of a young woman struggling to gain control of her life, this is Emily Colas' exposé of a soul tormented, but balanced by a buoyance of spirit and a piercing sense of humor that may be her saving grace.
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San Diego Union-Tribune Just Checking twitches with pain and pulses with insight....It's also so enjoyable, and so frequnetly laugh-out-loud hilarious, you'll feel guilty profiting from Colas' agony.
Dallas Morning News A wonderful little book....
Deseret News In the literature of mental illness, this one is destined to be a classic....Every worrier will recognize in Colas a true sister. Everyone who likes to laugh will be glad she was brave enough to tell this story on herself.
David Sedaris author of Naked Just Checking is, in turn, mysterious, agonizing, and terribly funny. Emily Colas writes with such skill and honesty that I can't help but wish she suffers a relapse. It's selfish, I know, but I want more.
Detroit News Intimate and revealing.
Booklist This anecdotal, first-person account of Colas' illness is highly readable and funny...One hopes that Colas will take up her pen again.
Kirkus Reviews A frank and funny first-person account of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder...With its unique patient's-eye view and perceptive honesty, a valuable contribution to the literature....
Martha Manning author of Undercurrents and Chasing Grace Everyone knows what it's like to worry. But for most people, it's not a twenty-four-hour occupation. Emily Colas draws readers into a world dominated by details -- a dangerous world in which kitchen utensils are instruments of deadly contamination, restaurant food is probably poisoned, and a tiny paper cut is potentially fatal. Through a series of vignettes she paints a compelling picture of a life dominated by compulsions and the worries that fuel them. If she'd left it there, Just Checking would be a valuable case study of a psychiatric illness. But Colas is a born storyteller, and a wickedly funny one at that. Just Checking is as hilarious as it is harrowing -- a combination that makes it an engaging and ultimately powerful book.
Java A terribly funny, sad, and deeply human account...Honesty is the key here, and it's Colas' ironic self-awareness that makes for such a refreshing read.
From the Back Cover
Emily Colas -- young, intelligent, well-educated wife and mother of two -- had a secret that was getting in the way of certain activities. Like touching people. Having a normal relationship with her husband. Socializing. Getting a job. Eating out. Like leaving the house. Soon there was no interval in Colas' life when she was not
This raw, darkly comic series of astonishing vignettes is Emily Colas' achingly honest chronicle of her twisted journey through the obsessive-compulsive disorder that came to dominate her world. In the beginning it was germs and food. By the time she faced the fact that she was really "losing it", Colas had become a slave to her own "hobbies" -- from daily hair cutting to incessant inspections of her children's clothing for bloodstains.
A shocking, hilarious, and enormously appealing account of a young woman struggling to gain control of her life, this is Emily Colas' expose of a soul tormented, but balanced by a buoyance of spirit and a piercing sense of humor that may be her saving grace.
- Publisher : Washington Square Press; First Edition (June 1, 1999)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0671024388
- ISBN-13 : 978-0671024383
- Item Weight : 6.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.45 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #129,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 27, 2018
Emily Colas is a well-educated mother of two with an amazing husband and is overall a normal homemaker. But as you can see from the title of this book, she has a secret. She suffers from OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). She gets worried that she will end up with a fatal illness from kissing or ...intercourse or just by breathing the same air as other people. She counts the number of words a person says to her in a sentence making sure that the conversation ends on a full star. (If you look to the menu on the left side of this screen you will find a link that takes you to 'excerpts' and there you will find the chapter about STARS and the way she counts them.) She worries drastically about how the cat might have gotten into the oven or the washing machine or the dishwasher and so she must keep checking on each to make sure she doesn't find the cat dead in one of the electrical appliances in the kitchen. She won't take the trash out and makes sure that her husband takes it out wearing old clothes that he can throw away immediately after going outside. As you can see, her worries are a little more developed than our own.
I do not suffer from OCD but from this book I was able to understand what it feels like to have the disease at all. The book itself is like a concise dictionary on OCD divided into chapters on the difficulties she faces in daily life-things we would never have imagined. But as her friend the heroin addict says to her, "You're only as sick as your secrets." Her style of writing is certainly full of life. You can't find a single sentence in there that you feel is really part of the book, just a part of a conversation you're having with her. She's telling you a story and you are listening. That's what it feels like as you're reading the book-you're listening to her talk about herself and her problems. It's highly humorous and a worthwhile read.
One thing you have to be warned of is that the book is very 'light' and breezy. This isn't something you find too often with a book that handles recovery. Therefore, if you're not prepared to laugh now and again at her shocking experiences to gain control of her life-you may be insulted by it. Be warned.