Devil in the Details

13th September 2004

My friend, Jenny Traig, recently published her very amusing childhood memoirs. The book is called Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood, and you will like it. It’s about her struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that manifested itself as Scrupulosity, a kind of religious OCD. These are the best parts:

“Today the condition is common enough that there’s a Scrupulous Anonymous group. I’ve never joined, so I can’t tell you if they subscribe to all twelve steps or if they just repeat one step over and over.”

“After a perfectly pleasant exchange with a great aunt, I’d spend hours trying to recall whether or not I’d told her to go screw herself the hard way. I would beg my sister Vicky for reassurance. “You heard our conversation. Did anal sex come up at all? I know it sounds crazy, but I think aunt Rose may have raised the issue.”

“Like many girls who don’t get asked out in high school, I spent my teenage years believing I was a displaced European. It was so obvious I’d been born in the wrong country, what with me having such sophisticated Continental sensibilities and all. As soon as I was old enough, I told myself and anyone who would listen, I was moving to a country where my unconventional looks, difficult charms, and erratic hygiene would be appreciated.”