Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman

Book description from Amazon.com:

Oxford Messed Up is a unique literary love story that transports readers on a meaningful and emotional journey where the academic world of Oxford, the music of Van Morrison, and an old claw-foot bathtub serve as a backdrop for learning, self-discovery, and transcendent love. Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman is an academic superstar who has come to Oxford University to study feminist poetry. Yet the rigors of the academy pale in comparison to her untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, fueled by her overachieving parents and manifested in a deathly aversion to germs and human contact. Her next-door neighbor (who is also, to her mortification, her loomate) is Henry Young, the appealing but underachieving musician son of an overbearing and disapproving Oxford don. Still mourning the death of his supportive mother while enduring the mockery of his disapproving and merciless father, Henry is haunted by the unexpectedly serious ramifications of a reckless and tragic youth. Gloria and Henry's relationship evolves from a shared obsession with Van Morrison's music into a desire on the part of each to fill in the gaps in the life of the other. Yet the constraints of a debilitating illness and the looming revelation of a catastrophic secret conspire to throw their worlds into upheaval and threaten the possibilities of their unlikely yet redemptive love.

My thoughts:
I had high hopes when I began to read this book. Many of the reviews that I read online pertaining to this book were stellar or at least very positive for the most part. That being said, I also should have realized that just because a lot of other people like a book doesn't mean that I will like it as well.
I will be honest, it took me FOREVER to read this book. I just could not get into it. I felt that it was tedious, repetitive (how many times do we need descriptions of Gloria's cleaning as a result of her OCD??), and the continual reference to Van Morrison. I felt that although the main characters of Gloria and Henry were very well developed, the relationships between them were not.  I felt that I truly didn't understand the relationship between Gloria and Henry and that there seemed to be a bit of fantasy in their relationship as if it really could never happen in real life. While much of the rest of the story was very real and could be in real life, I felt that there relationship just didn't fit. I also felt that there should have been a better explanation of the other main character "Oliver" in the beginning of the story, so that the reader isn't left to wonder who this is.
The one positive that I found after reading the book is that I did gain a better understanding of what someone with OCD faces daily in their life and what some of their thoughts may be like. And I hopefully have gained some empathy towards their situation.
But even with that I would say that I would recommend you pass on this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.


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