Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz: Book Review

Finding Perfect
Author: Elly Swartz
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016
Ages: 8 to 12, Middle Grade

For twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, life was perfect once. Mom and Dad were happy and not separated. Her friend Hannah’s family wasn’t planning to move far away and her other friend Bridget wasn’t obsessed with collecting obituaries after a family member died. Molly doesn’t think there is anything wrong with striving for perfection. If she wants to arrange her glass animal figurines perfectly, so many inches apart, it’s one thing she can control in her otherwise imperfect world. Of most importance, she wants to fix her parent’s marriage. Mom moved out and took a job in another city, leaving Dad to care for Molly and her siblings, Ian and Kate. Her old sister Kate is just plain mad, convinced that Mom has left for good. Ian, the younger of the three, misses Mom and cries a lot. 

Molly convinces herself that she can fix her parent’s marriage by winning the Poetry Slam at school. Mom would then feel compelled to return home for the awards ceremony and see the error of her ways. As the poetry candidates are narrowed down, it becomes clear Molly will win. But also clear is Molly’s strange behavior of late. For instance, instead of washing her hands just once, she repeats the process again and again, and her glass figurines are never, ever, in the right position. Most bizarre is her compulsion to count numbers in her head. Added to this strange behavior, Molly believes that if she doesn’t perform these acts, something terrible will happen to Ian. 

By the time her friends and Dad (and eventually, Mom) begin questioning her behavior, Molly has learned online she has a mental condition called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Ignoring Molly’s attempt to hide her symptoms, family and friends intervene. They learn that others in Molly’s family have been OCD, and Mom and Dad learn the importance of tending to the needs of their family. The author does a great job creating a believable story about a real disorder that often begins in childhood. A book I would recommend.

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  1. A wonderful review of what I'm sure is a wonderful book.


    1. Hello Yvonne. Hope you are rested and well again. Thanks!

  2. A very good article. Thanks to the author. It is very important to support and help students.I am very interested in the research topic in psychology.


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.