Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman
This book was a disappointment. It sounded like a fun love story about an American, Jewish girl, albeit one with severe OCD, who goes to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and meets an equally screwed up boy with whom she shares a bathroom. They bond over their mutual obsession with the music of Van Morrison and their relationship becomes mutually therapeutic. It’s a cute idea that unfortunately is poorly executed. The writing is exhaustingly repetitive and each idea is drummed in ad nauseum. There are no complex characters — they are all unidimensional and flat. A number of subplots are left unfinished and there are many ignored opportunities to develop characters more deeply. In addition, dialogue is limited and dull.
There was also a surprisingly offensive sentence in this book: “While her family was not particularly observant, they were not among the reform and conservative Jews who celebrated Christmas.” While some Jews may choose to celebrate Christmas, this sentence makes it sound as if anyone who is not Orthodox generally celebrates Christmas. This is simply not true. It’s a weird statement in a weird book.
If you are interested in knowing more about what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is like, you might find this book something of a psychology lesson. I was just kind of hoping for a good summer read and this was not that book!