The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B(Review)

“A day in heaven,’ Adam whispered. What would that be like? To wake up one morning and be normal? To not bite down and parcel out each second of each day. To not wrestle and negotiate with your obsessions. To not have thoughts that ran you into the ground.

To have a quiet mind.

A quiet mind.

Quiet.

Teresa Toten, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

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I finished this book a few days ago- I’ve needed to take a time out to digest my thoughts on this moving Young Adult novel.  Ms. Toten writes an incredibly detailed and engrossing account of life with OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)  from the perspective of  a teenager living in contemporary urban USA.  I was intrigued by the insights into the complex workings of the mind of Adam…my overwhelming feeling was of sadness whilst reading.  I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to cope with so many overwhelming thoughts-  which crowd out any type of rationality.   Adam must struggle to come to terms with the restlessness in his brain. There was a moment by moment fight to gain peace and to come to a place of relative calm.

 

The action of this novel revolves around the relationships between Adam and members of his mental health support group and his convoluted and impaired blended family.  This was the most interesting part of the book for me-  the brilliant explorations of teenage love and infatuation between Adam and the extremely likeable Robyn.  More difficult and less easy to comprehend was the complex interactions between Adam and his brother  and his new step mom and half brother- and between Adam and his biological mother(who has major emotional problems- there are some scary scenes which highlight her out of control hoarding problems).  The dialogue was good, pacey and felt very natural.

 

Ok- here’s the part of the review that I wanted to shy away from…Would I recommend this book? No, not really.  I’m happy I read it…but It is not a feel good book- certainly not a light summer read.  However, if you are looking to have insight into the intricate subject of mental health issues…then this book offers valuable and pertinent material.  I also commend this book on its excellent portrayals of the benefits of support groups-  I’m a huge believer in the power of groups- I love the supportive atmosphere which is exhibited in this teenage group and it was very encouraging to see the positive change which was enabled by the constructive feedback which this group provided.

 

One last thing-  I have had incredible results from practicing mindfulness meditation-  I use the extremely helpful app called Headspace.  I highly recommend it and would be happy to send you a link to a code for a free trial membership-  it’s given me a lot of peace and something I would recommend to anyone wanting to find a helpful tool to provide focus and a great way of coping with stress.

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(Photos my own apart from OCD infographics and author photo taken from Google Images)
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