When her father found the washing machine crammed with everything from her sneakers to her barrettes, 12-year-old Jennifer Traig had a simple explanation: They’d been tainted by the pork fumes emanating from the kitchen and had to be cleansed. The same fumes compelled Jennifer to wash her hands for 30 minutes before dinner.
Jennifer’s childhood mania was the result of her then undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder joining forces with her Hebrew studies. While preparing for her bat mitzvah, she was introduced to an entire set of arcane laws and quickly made it her mission to follow them perfectly. Her parents nipped her religious obsession in the bud early on, but as her teen years went by, her natural tendency toward the extreme led her down different paths of adolescent agony and mortification.
Years later, Jennifer remembers these scenes with candor and humor. What emerges is a portrait of a well-meaning girl and her good-natured parents, and a very funny, very sharp look back at growing up.