Release Date: April 10, 2012I knew I had to have Lexapros & Cons from the moment I read the catalog blurb. It promised laughter and quirkiness, and it delivered. I laughed out loud more times then I can count and in the end it left me with a huge grin on my face.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Chuck Taylor’s OCD has rendered him a high school outcast. His endless routines and habitual hand washing threaten to scare away both his closest friend and the amazing new girl in town. Sure he happens to share the name of the icon behind the coolest sneakers in the world, but even Chuck knows his bizarre system of wearing different color “Cons” depending on his mood is completely crazy.
In this hilariously candid debut novel from comedian Aaron Karo—who grew up with a few obsessions and compulsions of his own—very bad things are going to happen to Chuck. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because with graduation looming, Chuck finds himself with one last chance to face his inner demons, defend his best friend, and win over the girl of his dreams. No matter what happens, though, he’ll have to get his hands dirty.
Chuck Taylor can't live without his routines. Check the same things every day. Take the same paths. Don't deviate. He knows it's crazy, but he can't stop. He recently found out, thanks to the Internet, that he has OCD.
After discovering that he shares his name with the namesake of Chuck Taylor All-Stars, which he refers to as "Cons" because Chucks would be confusing for obvious reasons, he amasses a collection of the popular sneakers. And he uses them to convey his mood. (Just another one of Chucks little compulsions.) Of course, no one knows about the system and, even if they did know it existed, they's have a hard time making sense out of it.
Quirkiness, snark and hilarious moments aside, I think I fell in love with this book for two reasons:
1.) Chuck, despite everything, is bluntly honest with himself. He is acutely aware that his normal is not the same normal everyone else enjoys and realizes, more clearly than ever, that it's affecting his life.
2.) It's true and genuine and completely believable. (The aforementioned honesty has a lot to do with this, I think.) If Chuck were just someone wrapped up in his compulsions, believing that he's perfectly fine then it wouldn't be much of a read. It's Chuck's ability to be honest with himself, evolve and eventually push himself to his limits that makes the story the self-discovery and personal reclamation it is.
There's no insta-love and no melodramatic break-up drama. It's a good old fashion "boy-meets-girl" story with all the imperfections of like and love. Amy could be a hipster and part of the A-crowd, but Chuck, who's definitely not either of those things, plans to make his move before the entire senior class catches on to Amy's popularity potential. His window of opportunity is limited, and the clock isn't the only thing he has to beat.
Lexapros & Cons was such an amazingly real and awesomely funny read that it's definitely been deemed re-readable. So much so in fact that I finished in the middle of a plane ride and kind of wanted to flip back to page one and start over because I enjoyed it so much. I dare say reading this book in a semi-regular basis might become one of my compulsions.