OCD, The Dude, and Me

( 4 )


With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and "unique learning profile," Danielle Levine doesn't fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a "social skills" class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film ...

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With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and "unique learning profile," Danielle Levine doesn't fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a "social skills" class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle's resolve to keep everyone at arm's length starts to crumble.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Senior year is starting, but Danielle Levine isn’t looking forward to it. Even though everyone at her school has a learning disability, it’s still divided into cool kids and outcasts, and Danielle—with her flaming red hair, nonwaiflike physique, OCD, and penchant for hats—is in the second camp. Things get worse when she’s forced to see the school psychologist and attend a social skills class. Vaughn structures her debut as a combination of Danielle’s diary entries, e-mails, and the essays (usually autobiographical) she writes for English class. These give readers a rich stream of information about Danielle’s attempt to face both the horrors of high school and the actual horror she’s endured. Information about the latter comes out slowly, which works, since Danielle has organized her life around keeping it hidden. Vaughn skillfully shows how making an actual friend and being introduced to the model of The Big Lebowski’s Dude (and his ability to “abide”) contribute to Danielle’s upturn. Her problems don’t go away, but her perspective on them and ability to cope shifts and improves. Ages 14–up. Agent: Amy Burkhardt, Kimberley Cameron & Associates. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Sarah Raymond
Snow globes, hats, and a different pair of Converse sneakers for all occasions are the required gear for Danielle Levine as she enters her senior year of high school. Danielle Levine is not a typical senior in high school as she suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has extremely low self-esteem. She details this through various essays for English, emails, and letters, all of which she keeps locked up in a secret color-coded binder under her bed. Throughout the novel Danielle seems to end up in one uncomfortable situation after another until she meets an old friend, Daniel, who introduces her to the movie The Big Lebowski. She takes the laid back teachings of The Dude to heart and learns what it means when he states, "The Dude abides." She takes it one step further and learns how to abide as she works through the death of a childhood friend and how to let go of some of her OCD tendencies. She really learns how to find herself and live her life. Because of Danielle's tendencies and low self-esteem, she is a great example of an unreliable protagonist. It is also very obvious that the author of this novel is an English teacher as it is filled with literary references. Overall, the novel was extremely enjoyable to read as it is filled with both humor and heartache. Reviewer: Sarah Raymond
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Readers will enjoy 17-year-old Danielle Levine's antics as she writes about her senior year in essays assigned by her English teacher. Ms. Harrison doesn't always appreciate the latitude Danielle takes with each assignment and is frank in her responses, making readers feel the curse of the red pen. Danielle goes to an alternative high school in California where she struggles with OCD, has no friends, has to attend social-skills class, and has to deal with her crush, Jacob, who sends her mixed signals throughout the book. The teen is surely down on herself and readers will wonder why. As the plot turns, this well-developed character eventually reveals what caused her to leave her old school. Readers will watch her grow and appreciate her insightfulness into a variety of situations and classmates. Reluctant readers will appreciate the style of writing, and novice writers will see how it is therapeutic for Danielle. Initially readers understand why no one likes her, but by the end of her transformation, her classmates see her differently, and teens will, too. It is apparent that Vaughn understands adolescents and what it is like to watch them develop as writers and work through a traumatic experience. With a touch of humor and sarcasm throughout, this one is sure to find an appreciative audience.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Kirkus Reviews
There are good books, and there are great books, and then there are books with characters you'll never forget. Vaughn's debut about a high school senior whose struggle to fit in is compounded by the social quirks associated with her OCD is definitely one of those rare finds. Told through a brilliant collection of class assignments, journal entries, emails and "missives" to the school psychologist, Danielle Levine's story is laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly honest. Hopelessly in love with the completely unattainable Jacob Kingston and plagued by body-image issues and insecurities about her position on the senior-class social ladder, Danielle lands herself in the school psychologist's office and, even worse, a social-skills class. But just as things look like they couldn't possibly get any worse, Danielle's life gradually takes a turn for the better. An oddball collection of new friends, including Daniel, who's not much taller than she is but has a "personality…well over six feet," her amazingly supportive Aunt Joyce and Justine, an 80-year-old British tour guide, teach Danielle that there is plenty worth loving, and forgiving, about herself. Reminiscent of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, Vaughn's work avoids stereotypical pitfalls and deftly tackles the sensitive issue of a teen's struggle with mental illness with humor and integrity. A must-read. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803738430
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 3/21/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 219,235
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Roedy Vaughn is an award-winning educator who has spent twenty years teaching English to high school students with language-based learning disabilities. Lauren lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she is an avid yogini and Big Lebowski nut.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2013

    I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started OCD, The Dude

    I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started OCD, The Dude, and Me but I honestly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. Written as a series of Essay's, journal entries, emails and letters OCD, The Dude, and Me chronicles Danielle's life through out her senior year. Danielle doesn't see herself as other people see her. She sees a fat, messed up "freak". She often wonders if her parents are sorry they adopted her thinking that they couldn't have possibly bargained for a daughter with so many problems. 

    During Danielle's senior life she grows by leaps and bounds. She finds love, the real kind. Makes surprising new friends. Realizes a talent that she wasn't aware of and finally starts healing from a tragedy in her past. 

    In the beginning of reading OCD, The Dude, and Me I was having a bit of trouble connecting with Danielle. Once I started figuring her out a little I really got into this story and have already started recommending it to my daughters and will definitely be telling others I know to give this one a try as well. Reading this makes me want to watch The Big Lebowski again, read more Shakespeare and Rumi, and once again start a journal and fill my fridge with my favorite quotes. A wonderful Young Adult read!

    One of my favorite saying from the book, though I actually have many. 
    "Little things, little things, are much more important than big things. Big things hit you in the face with their bigness and obscure the little, more important things that really define a life and provide it with delicacy. 

    I don't usually reread book but I can see myself reading this one again and again. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Lauren pens "OCD, The DUDE, and ME" in a plot revolvin

    Lauren pens "OCD, The DUDE, and ME" in a plot revolving around the issue of OCD. A great read that flowed nicely and had a touch of humor to it...I really loved some of the essays included, they had me going. This is not one of your "fluffy" YA stories, there is so much more within it. A great read for anyone 14 and older and one book you don't want to pass up!

    This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Loved it!

    Convincingly written in the voice of a troubled young person, it brought back how it *really* felt to struggle socially in high school (didn't we all suffer to some degree?) and how little things become so big in the mind of a teen....Great read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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