Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery [NOOK Book]

Overview

Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to twitch his neck. From that day forward his life became a hell of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances, and Cory embarked on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist to discover the cause of his disease. Soon it became unclear what tics were symptoms of his disease and what were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. ...
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Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery

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Overview

Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to twitch his neck. From that day forward his life became a hell of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances, and Cory embarked on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist to discover the cause of his disease. Soon it became unclear what tics were symptoms of his disease and what were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. The only certainty is that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman's life was a living hell.

AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE is the true story of Cory and his family's decades-long battle for survival in the face of extraordinary difficulties and a maddening medical establishment. It is a heart-rending story of struggle and triumph with a climax as dramatic as any James Patterson thriller.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
One terrible March morning in 1989, Cory Friedman woke up and began to shake himself into a terror that would last for 15 years. Before long, his physical tics and convulsing would take over his life, almost tearing him apart, reducing a gifted five-year-old into a helpless victim. Physicians diagnosed Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, and other neurological disabilities, but as time passed, it became impossible to distinguish his sicknesses from the effects of the 60 potent medicines that his doctors had prescribed. Cory and, by extension, his family suffered in this volatile inferno before he found solace and release in an unexpected place. Bestselling author James Patterson and Cory's father, Hal Friedman, tell a medical story of calming force.
The Arizona Republic
"A disturbing story but ultimately an inspiring one that affirms the power of families to overcome adversity."
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
The frightening, frustrating life story of Mr. Friedman's son Cory, who for 13 years battled Tourette's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder.
The Wall Street Journal
Mary Brophy Marcus
Against Medical Advice touches on numerous harrowing experiences Cory rode out in school.
USA Today
George Pelecanos
"Inspiring...a testament to the importance of family and the resilient nature of the human spirit."
Tess Gerritsen
" Against Medical Advice is both harrowing and heartbreaking, but is also a story of astonishing courage. This book stands as a testament to the amazing power of one family's unconditional love for each other."
Lisa Scottoline
" Against Medical Advice is a true story that reads like the most riveting of pageturners. Read it and feel at gut-level what it's like to be a child whose life is almost destroyed by a hellish array of nightmare medical symptoms. Best of all, watch what happens when an entire family stands together against all odds, armed with strength, perseverance, and love for one another."
Terri Cheney
"In the tradition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Patterson and Friedman manage to get deep inside debilitating illness, and show us what life looks like from that perspective. Against Medical Advice is an amazing story of courage, fortitude and a family's love, simply told."
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg - The Wall Street Journal
"The frightening, frustrating life story of Mr. Friedman's son Cory, who for 13 years battled Tourette's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder."
Mary Brophy Marcus - USA Today
" Against Medical Advice touches on numerous harrowing experiences Cory rode out in school."
Patricia Cornwell
"A work of naked truth, as disturbing as it is important-Against Medical Advice turns Tourette's Syndrome inside out and shows us what it is like to be trapped inside a brain that has a nightmarish mind of its own. This true story of Hal Friedman's son, Cory, is a gift of honesty, huge courage, and hope, and a reminder that against all medical advice and odds, human beings can prevail."
From the Publisher
...Kevin Collins is comfortable with the contemporary vernacular of a 15-year old boy. His sinewy voice shifts from bemusement to bitterness, conjuring the mindset of an adolescent beset by overwhelming challenges.—Audiofile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316039659
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 10/20/2008
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 81,150
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 240 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Mr. Patterson also writes the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels, set in San Francisco, and the top-selling New York detective series of all time, featuring Detective Michael Bennett. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Biography

James Patterson had been working as a very successful advertising copywriter when he decided to put his Masters degree in English to a somewhat different use. Inspired by bestselling hair-raising thrillers like The Day of the Jackal and The Exorcist, Patterson went to work on his first novel. Published in 1976, The Thomas Berryman Number established him as a writer of tightly constructed mysteries that move forward with the velocity of a bullet. For his startling debut, Patterson was awarded the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel—an auspicious beginning to one of the most successful careers in publishing.

A string of gripping standalone mysteries followed, but it was the 1992 release of Along Came a Spider that elevated Patterson to superstar status. Introducing Alex Cross, a brilliant black police detective/forensic psychologist, the novel was the first installment in a series of bestselling thrillers that has proved to be a cash cow for the author and his publisher.

Examining Patterson's track record, it's obvious that he believes one good series deserves another…maybe even a third! In 2001, he debuted the Women's Murder Club with 1st to Die, a fast-paced thriller featuring four female crime fighters living in San Francisco—a homicide detective, a medical examiner, an assistant D.A., and a cub reporter. The successful series has continued with other numerically titled installments. Then, spinning off a set of characters from a previous novel (1998's When the Wind Blows), in 2005 he published Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Featuring a "flock" of genetically engineered flying children, the novel was a huge hit, especially with teen readers, and spawned a series of vastly popular fantasy adventures.

In addition to continuing his bestselling literary franchises, Patterson has also found time to co-author thrillers with other writers—including Peter de Jonge, Andrew Gross, Maxine Paetro, and Howard Roughan—and has even ventured into romance (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, Sam's Letters to Jennifer) and children's literature (santaKid). Writing at an astonishing pace, this prolific author has turned himself into a one-man publishing juggernaut, fulfilling his clearly stated ambition to become "the king of the page-turners."

Good To Know

Patterson's Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas was inspired by a diary his wife kept that tracked the development of their toddler son.

Two of Patterson's Alex Cross mysteries (Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls) have been turned into films starring Morgan Freeman; in 2007, a weekly television series premiered, based on the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels.

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    1. Hometown:
      Palm Beach, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 22, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newburgh, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


Against Medical Advice

One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery


By James Patterson Hal Friedman Cory Friedman
Little, Brown
Copyright © 2008

James Patterson
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-316-02475-4



Chapter One I'M SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD and lying like a pathetic, helpless lump in the backseat of our family car, being transported to a place that treats crazy people.

This is an exceptional event, even for me. I know that my brain causes unusual problems that no one has been able to treat, but being insane isn't one of them.

How and why I've gotten to this point is complicated, but the main reason I'm here is more immediate. I've finally found the one thing that brings me peace - alcohol.

Now this self-medication has become a life- threatening danger that I cannot fix by myself. The doctors at the place I'm going to promise they can help me. I've heard that one before.

After about an hour, we arrive at a large brick building with a sign that reads DRESSLER PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL. In a split second the reality of what's happening becomes very real and very scary.

"Why does it say that?" I call from the backseat, my heart suddenly pounding.

"Don't worry about the sign," my mother says to calm my rising panic. "They treat all different kinds of problems here, Cory."

Dad looks as worried as I am but says softly, "Let's not deal with this now, okay?"

Not deal with going to a hospital for psychos? Sure, no problem. What can my father be thinking?

Inside the main entrance, I enter a very crowded, somewhat noisy waiting room. Being on view always makes me uneasy, so as soon as I start to walk, my feet need to perform a triple hop, three quick steps only inches apart, which throws me off balance.

I have to do this in order to satisfy a tension that is building up in my legs and can't be released any other way. Sometimes this trips me up so much that I go flying to the ground.

I do the triple hop a few more times before reaching out for the safety of one of the empty waiting- room chairs.

Welcome to my fun house, folks.

Chapter Two MANY OF THE PEOPLE in the waiting area are still staring at me as my right hand shoots up in the air with the middle finger extended. Oh boy, here we go, I think. Giving people the bird is another one of my involuntary movements, or tics, that pop up exactly when they shouldn't. Try telling people that one's not deliberate.

Another middle-finger salute. Hi, everybody!

For a moment I think about the new medicines I'm taking, which are, as usual, not doing their job. Wellbutrin for depression, Tenex to keep me calm, Topamax as an "experiment" to see if a seizure medicine will help. So far I've been on fifty or sixty different medicines, none of which have worked - and a few of them can become deadly when washed down with Jack Daniel's.

Psychiatric hospital. A place for insane people, I'm thinking.

I know I'm not insane, even though the things I do make me look that way. But I do have a fear that I can think myself insane, and being in this place could push me over the edge. Going insane is probably my worst fear. If it happens, I won't know what, or where, reality is. To me, that's the ultimate isolation - to be separated from my own mind.

Eventually a receptionist calls my name and then starts asking me strange, bewildering questions. One of my eyes begins to twitch rapidly, and my tongue jumps out of my mouth like a snake's.

Occasionally I make a loud grunting sound like I've been punched hard in the stomach. Often my tics come one at a time, but today they're arriving in clusters of three or four, probably due to the stress.

I once told my parents that they couldn't live through a single day with what I go through every day of my life, and that was when I was a lot better than I am now.

It takes another hour or so for my parents to be interviewed by a doctor. When they come out, I can see that my mother has been crying. My father looks exhausted and edgy.

When it's my turn with the doctor, I can't stop myself from shooting him the bird, too. The guy is good about it. He totally ignores it. He's young and gentle and pretty much puts me at ease.

"I drink more than I should at night," I tell him, skipping the part about almost burning down my parents' house when I passed out on the couch with a lit cigarette. "I guess I like to get a little tipsy."

This is the understatement of the year. Tipsy is my code word for totally wasted.

The doctor gives me a complete physical, and when it's over he says I'm as healthy as anyone he's seen, which strikes me as very funny.

"So I guess I can go now?" I joke, punctuated by an involuntary tongue thrust.

"Yeah, right."

Later, back in the waiting area, a male attendant approaches us and asks for any medicines we might have brought.

"What do you mean?" my father asks.

"He needs these," my mother cautions, taking out a large plastic bag crammed with pill bottles.

"The doctors will take care of that," the attendant answers.

Mom reluctantly turns over the stash.

A while later, a female nurse approaches and leads the three of us deep into the rear of the building.

Everything is a lot different here. It's darker and there aren't any people around. It's a spooky place.

I fight off a really bad feeling that I'm going somewhere I won't be able to handle.

Eventually we stop in front of a massive door with a sign that says JUVENILE PSYCHIATRIC WARD D.

Mental kids, I think.

"That's not me," I snap, pointing to the sign. "Mom, you know I'm not crazy."

The nurse says, "We get all kinds of people here," as though arriving at an insane asylum is an ordinary event in anybody's life.

"You're here for your drinking," Mom adds, "which they treat."

"It doesn't say that on the signs."

The nurse takes a large metal key out of her jacket pocket, and I freeze at the sight of it. I've never been in a hospital where the doors have to be locked. I come to a sudden realization: You don't lock doors to keep people out. You lock doors to keep them in.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Against Medical Advice by James Patterson Hal Friedman Cory Friedman Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Preface

Now available as a value-priced edition!


Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to shake his head and his life was never the same again. From that day forward his life became a hell of uncontrollable tics, urges, and involuntary utterances. Eventually he is diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive disorder, and Cory embarks on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist, enduring countless combinations of medications in wildly varying doses. Soon it becomes unclear what tics are symptoms of his disease and what are side effects of the drugs. The only certainty is that it kept getting worse. Despite his lack of control, Cory is aware of every embarrassing movement, and sensitive to every person's reaction to his often aggravating presence. Simply put: Cory Friedman's life is a living hell.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 160 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(91)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(11)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 161 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    Received an advanced copy...

    I joined the James Patterson Community and was the 1000th member to join. I actually got the book sent to me in the mail yesterday and I read it very quickly, could not put it down as is always the case with his books. This is his first non-fiction book and it did not let me down. You feel a connection with the main character as soon as you start reading. James Patterson has a future in the non-fiction field. I suggest you run out in October and pick up your copy!

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    Tourette Syndrome is real

    Cory Friedman is a young man who has suffered from Tourette Syndrome since he was 5 years old. Hal Friedman (Cory's father) and James Patterson have collaborated on this book to bring us the most real, compelling and inspiring retelling of Cory's life and how he struggled every day (every minute) with a debilitating diagnosis. As a mother of 3 children, all of whom have Tourette Syndrome, I can authoritatively say that there was no fictionalization to this story. The events, misery and anguish that Cory and his parents went through are very real, and I'm certain that the feelings that came across were not amplified in any way, in fact sometimes, I thought maybe they were downplayed a little. I admire Cory for his stamina, resiliency and his determination. My children have already gained strength from Cory's experience as I have told them about his life and struggles. <BR/><BR/>I recommend this book to everyone, especially if someone in your life has been touched by Tourette Syndrome.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2008

    Please Review After Reading the Book

    I respect the fact that you might think James Patterson is the best thing to be marketed since sliced bread, but PLEASE stop reviewing books that you haven't read yet. If you want to sing the praises of the author, create a book club or join one about that author, but please stop posting reviews before books come out, or posts that just talk about the writer, instead of the WRITING. Please pay no attention to the rating attached to this comment. I haven't read the book, but I felt I had to say something about these posts. The only way to post is to add a rating. If anyone has read this book, I'd love to hear whether you enjoyed it or not.

    5 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    I read this book in one sitting¿

    James Patterson, Hal Friedman<BR/>ISBN: 9780316024754<BR/>Little, Brown & Co., 2008<BR/>Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 11/08<BR/>5 Star<BR/>I read this book in one sitting¿<BR/>James Patterson and Hal Friedman share the story of Cory Friedman¿s life with Tourette¿s Syndrome. Cory was misdiagnosis and given the wrong medication repeatedly. He spent his life twitching and jerking, making involuntary motions and uttering involuntary words. He developed uncontrollable fears and obsessive habits. ¿I never know if it¿s the medicine itself, the combination of medicines, the doses, or the usual ups and downs that happen with Tourettes.¿ <BR/>I do not think anyone can begin to understand the hell the Friedman¿s, especially Cory, have lived through. My heart aches for them and rejoices for them. Cory, you are a remarkable young man with a remarkable family.<BR/>Against Medical Advice grabbed my attention and would not let go. I read this book in one sitting. The story is told from Cory¿s point of view. I think family photographs would have added to this book; however, I can also understand that the family might have considered that intrusive. I highly recommend this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    Very good

    This was something that once I started reading I couldn't put it down. Great read and very informative as well. It also helped me understand what some of the students today are facing in elementary schools. I am going to have my daughter read this, as a former classmate of hers was recently diagnosed with Tourettes. I think it will be a great insight for her about how another person feels.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2013

    I read this book in one sitting (a first for me). Well written,

    I read this book in one sitting (a first for me). Well written, with great insight into the disease and what it is like to live with it. Definitely worth your time!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    Shocking, yet inspiring

    This is a disturbing yet truly inspiring story of how determination and devoted parents can help to overcome a devastating disease and incompetant medical treatment for their son. A must read for parents and educators of special needs children.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Against Medical Advice

    This book is narrated by the main character Cory, the reader then sees the world through the eyes of a person with Tourettes syndrome. At the tender age of five Cory begins to experience uncontrollable ticks, compulsions and odd urges. This book brings out the emotional and physical pain of doing actions that hurt others; Cory loses his childhood innocence to battle disease that is beginning to become invincible. <BR/> Cory gains OCD and Tourettes enhance the symptoms of OCD, his family attempt to help their child by getting help from doctors. However no matter whom they would go to nothing helps, in all actuality the prescriptions tend to enhance or create new problems.<BR/> After a near death event the Friedman family takes their son off of the prescriptions and medication suggested by the Doctors and professionals. However Cory still remains in torture in his own body. Along with his constant pain and suffering, Cory still tries to attend school and retain a somewhat normal childhood. The school also tries to embrace Cory and help him, but with his extreme OCD and Tourettes Cory has a very difficult time with making friends and behaving like everyone else.<BR/> When attending school became near impossible and Cory's drinking habits would steadily increase, Cory's parents send him to a wilderness camp in the snow tipped mountains. it was a camp that was designed to stop teens from their addictions, they way that would happen would be that because it is a wilderness camp everyone must work together to survive. Through this harsh and primitive way of living, Cory learns how to work through his Tourettes and OCD. Cory, although in agonizing and freezing pain, is able to find a somewhat relaxing part within himself-past the Tourettes and OCD.<BR/> Later on in the story Cory goes back to his old High school, but is faced with the probability of repeating his junior year. Through the fighting efforts of his mother and his own will, Cory manages to move on.<BR/> Cory's battle for control over his own life is inspiring and at times depressing his longing for the freedom he found on the mountain wilderness camp. The theme of nature and family are major the major themes of this novel. <BR/> The theme of nature against society is a large and constantly seen within the pages. While stranded in snow-covered mountains Cory learns how to live in peace with himself and how to work through most of his ticking and compulsions. Although the care and loving helping hand of his family was always appreciated, Cory was able to handle his internal problems when he knew- that in the mountains- he would have to take care of himself.<BR/> The theme of family is also an important theme to recognize. Cory constantly mentions how he hates hurting them, when his ticking gets so out of control that he becomes violent. Cory describes how he is able to gain his determination by watching his parents fight to find a cure. Family is important because they love and care for one another, and that is precisely how the Friedman family are to their son.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Cory has a strength few of us will ever possess

    This story will pull at your heartstrings. Told from Cory's point of view, it allows you to see his pain and agony from the inside. I'm sure the story would have been just as good had it been told from Hal's point of view, writing it this way, gives us readers that little bit more. Before reading this story, I hadn't a clue what it must be like to live with an illness like this, and it will definitely open my eyes to the struggles many people with Tourette's and other similar disorders deal with on a daily basis.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling

    This is a very touching story of trying to make it in a world where different is not always accepted. I experienced some of the same response from people. Patterson and Friedman did an excellent job writing what life can feel like when a person is not like the others.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    bravo

    I have read all of James Patterson books & I feel that he is the most entertaining author that I have read.I really enjoyed the winged children they were the best.

    2 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    I need advice again

    Thanks so much for your help!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    To Brooke

    Thanks!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    James Patterson fan!

    I have read a majority of James Patterson's books and I can personally say that he is on of the best authors that I have ever read I have a feeling that this book is going to be just as good as all the rest.

    1 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Huh

    I don't get it. Tick his neck? I've never even heard of this disease.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    To i neeeeeeeed help

    Thats easy go to your friends say are u friend whith me or my brother that might help

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Jared

    You still there

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Jared to all

    Go to gazz res 3 for advice and res 6 for chat

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    I need Advice

    Do i do when my gitlfriend who asked me out dosent hang around me alot?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    To need advice

    My suggestion, just see how things play out. If you want to tell if he likes you, see if he tries to fix his appearance around you or while speaking to you. But itherwse figuring out if someone like you is straightforward. But sorry u cant be much help on the other thing. - Tear <br> :'(

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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