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Lexapros and Cons Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A madcap coming-of-age first novel . . . Chuck's agreeably foul-mouthed narrative voice rings totally true: Everything from his laugh-out-loud repartee with Steve to his inner longing and lusting for Amy feels fully fleshed and real. Short chapters and clever pacing help Karo's plot move quickly. Karo is definitely an author to watch.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Adult author Karo's background as a comedian is evident in his bawdy yet affecting YA debut, about a 17-year-old boy with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Karo offers a solid primer to OCD, including its treatments . . . Chuck is a funny, honest narrator. Readers will be impressed with Chuck's bravery in working to solve his problems.” ―Publishers Weekly

“The way Chuck describes the people he meets, situations he finds himself in, and strange thoughts he has will leave you in stitches! You'll love it if you're looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud. Chuck's one-liners and odd behaviors will make you completely appreciate Aaron Karo's ability to shed a humorous light on a serious issue.” ―Seventeen

“Aaron Karo, who is best known for his stand-up comedy and for his "Ruminations" series of humorous columns, takes a light-hearted approach to his debut YA novel. Chuck's first-person narration, not to mention his banter with best friend Steve, is hilariously raunchy, and the situations in which he finds himself are sometimes outright absurd. But as funny as Karo's writing is, his approach to dealing with an anxiety disorder like OCD is actually pretty serious. Karo talks about OCD candidly and accurately, and Chuck's psychiatrist leads him through the various options for dealing with his disorder. Even if kids reading Lexapros and Cons don't suffer from Chuck's condition, they're likely to relate to his feelings of frustration about not being able to engage with the world in the way he'd like to. Chuck's story can illustrate how to cope with these disorders with hope, heart, and hilarity.” ―TeenReads.com

“Karo's . . . novel has some interesting high notes: Chuck's changing relationship with his psychiatrist and the prescription drug she suggests, his romantic dreams sparked--and befuddled--by the beautiful new girl at school, and the well-rendered emotional lives of his friends and enemies. Karo's use of "real guy" motifs is noteworthy; one of Chuck's obsessions is making a pencil tally on paper every time he masturbates, and he invents a shoe color code to reflect his moods (the shoes, of course, being Converse Chuck Taylors) . . . Offers a humorous hook for guys who would normally shy away from the romance angle.” ―Booklist

“The strength here is the easygoing relationship between Chuck and his nerdy best friends, portrayed in honest, credible dialogue that effectively conveys their affectionate closeness. Readers with OCD may find inspiration here to get help . . . and readers without the disorder will develop a greater level of understanding.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“High school senior Chuck Taylor becomes likable early on. With its satisfying conclusion, the book is suitable for secondary school and public libraries; its absurdities and age-appropriate expletives may appeal to reluctant male readers.” ―Voice of Youth Advocates

“Karo captures the frustration of someone with OCD and its impact on friends and family . . . Characters such as the bumbling psychiatrist and obnoxious bully provide some targets for humor. The author's success in making Chuck's character ‘bizarre and profane,' plus his celebrity status and previous books for adults, will generate interest in the title.” ―School Library Journal

About the Author

In 1997 Aaron Karo wrote a funny email from his freshman dorm room that eventually spawned his celebrated column Ruminations, the humor website Ruminations.com, and three books: Ruminations on College Life, Ruminations on Twentysomething Life, and I'm Having More Fun Than You. Also a nationally headlining comedian, Karo has performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and his one-hour special Aaron Karo: The Rest Is History premiered on Comedy Central in 2010. Lexapros and Cons is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374343969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374343965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Radar626 VINE VOICE on March 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charles "Chuck" Taylor is a teenager with issues. No girlfriend, only one real friend, an annoying sister, and a major case of OCD. The book is written from Chuck's point of view, which happens to be quite observant, witty, and downright dirty (fair warning for young readers who aren't familiar/comfortable with teenage hormones OR a lot of dirty language). His OCD is out of control and is driving him, his best friend, and his family crazy. Not only does he have to spin the lock on his locker lock 14 times before walking away and a love affair with hand sanitizer, he has a massive collection of Converse shoes in the "Chuck Taylor" design, of course. His mood is reflected in the color of shoes he wears that day: Pink = bored, yellow = nervous, tan = anxious, etc. It's a brilliant system that unfortunately for Chuck, no one ever recognizes. Eventually Chuck's parents send him to a psychiatrist. He completely resists treatment until the day he meets Amy. Her bangs and flower child attitude capture his heart and suddenly his view on life and OCD take a turn for the better. But is Amy as attracted to him? Will Chuck finally get a grip on his life in time to have a future after graduation?

This was a great coming-of-age story that was over far to quickly. It's hard not to root for Chuck and his constant struggle with OCD. I would liked to have seen more on how his friends and family were affected by his disease and what accommodations they made for him in order to be able to live their own lives. His sister Beth seems like she could have her own book. One thing that did put me off a bit (and my only con for this book) is how excited his psychiatrist was that Chuck was "textbook" OCD.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Summary: Chuck Taylor is in his final year of high school, and he has finally come to the conclusion that he has OCD (thank you internet). It's not the "I have a little OCD too" OCD, it's the check the stove to make sure it is off multiple times even though no one has used it, wash your hands even if they aren't dirty, turn your locker lock fourteen times until it feels right, pee and pee again before bed, and he keeps a tally record of how often he masturbates OCD. Yes, he literally keeps a tally mark of each time he masturbates! Chuck knows that these things are ridiculous, but if he does not follow through with each compulsion he can't go on with his day. From this revelation, several things happen:
1. His mom sends him to a shrink. The shrink prescribes Lexapro and CBT. At first Chuck is hesitant, but the new girl in school provides some motivation.
2. The new girl in school, Amy, is amazing! She's hot, smart, and so cool. She also asks Chuck to tutor her in Calculus so that she can pass the AP exam. A friendship ensues, but he can't possibly let her know how crazy he is.
Chuck, who obsessively wears Cons in colors that match his mood, travels through the last part of his senior year with the ups and downs in having a crush on a girl and trying to make her his girlfriend, trying to get over his compulsions, fights with a best friend, and generally dealing with teenage issues and life, in this hilariously written novel by Karo.
My thoughts: This was one of my favorite books of the year. I'm not sure why, but lately I have enjoyed male protagonists much better than females. This may just be a stage I'm going through. Chuck literally made me laugh out loud, usually while in a quiet high school classroom.
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By Azul on November 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think this is the first time that I read a book that I have no idea what is about. I picked because I heard it was funny and I was in that mood. That said, I very much liked the story of Chuck dealing with OCD, love and other demons.

The book is fun to read, divided in very short chapters that go fast. I can't say much about this book without giving it away. But reading about OCD always cracks me up (as "The Pleasure of my company" did).

I looked for other bloggers who might not have liked this book to share a link to a different opinion but couldn't find any. So, there, you have to read it!
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Format: Hardcover
First off, I need to comment on the cover... It is awesome. I love eye-catching covers on YA books, and although this one is ridiculously simple, it totally fits the story. Also, I love my Chucks (although I am a fan of the low-tops, not the high-top like the protagonist in this book)- I have them in lots of bright colors and they are my staple when it's too cold for flip-flops, so obviously, I'm going to read a book that features my favorite footwear on the cover... Now that I've commented on that, I can review the actual content between the covers.

If the 2012 debut authors were a baseball league, Team Humor would definitely be leading in the rankings. They seem to be be hitting home run after home run. First there was Jesse Andrews's brilliantly funny Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, then Gina Damico's uniquely snarky Croak, and now this book, Lexapros and Cons. I have laughed to the point of peeing so many times in the first three months of 2012 that I am thinking I might need to buy a package of Depends... Anyway, what I am getting at is that Aaron Karo has nailed it with his YA debut.

Lexapros and Cons is the hilarious account of a teenage boy with OCD. Chuck Taylor has some very real compulsions, and while I found myself laughing at the behaviors, and Chuck's thoughts on them, I never felt like I was laughing at the actual disorder or poking fun at people with it. This book was very balanced in that it showed respect for a very real and often debilitating condition, while finding humor in the character's behaviors and reactions to them. Chuck finds out he has OCD through Wikipedia after he starts thinking that a certain compulsion of his is particularly strange.
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