Swartz, Elly Finding Perfect, 287 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016. $16.99. Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.
Twelve year old Molly’s world is anything but perfect. Her name has five letters, there are 5 people in her family, and her mom recently left the family to take a faraway job, promising to be back in a year. Molly desperately tries to find perfect, as she obsessively washes her hands, organizes her glass figurine collection, and sharpens and arranges her colored pencils in rainbow order. She must do these things in order to keep her little brother, Ian, alive. She fears that if she stops any of these idiosyncrasies, that her world will spin out of control. And to make matters worse, her perfect plan to get Mom to come home early by winning the middle school poetry slam is about to be ruined by a new compulsion, counting by 4s. Molly doesn’t know which is worse, that she might be crazy, or that others will find out she’s crazy.
I absolutely loved this book. We get a good picture of what it must be like for a young girl who has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I really felt for Molly, all of the stress that she was feeling, as she tried to keep things together in her shattered life. She became very real to me. Her obsessions were real, and the author took you right into her mind, even down to her obsessive counting. I felt like I was going crazy as this disorder progressed. And when she finally broke down and was able to get help, I felt so happy for her. Although Molly finds that there is no such thing as perfect, she finds that she can be perfectly happy with herself. This book will be loved by anyone who has ever felt that they are trying to hide their crazy from everyone else.
EL, MS-ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: J. Rosskopf