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Just Checking: Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive [Paperback]

Emily Colas
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

1 Jun 1999
As my friend the heroin addict says, "You're only as sick as your secrets. "Emily Colas -- young, intelligent, well-educated wife and mother of two -- had a secret that was getting in the way of certain activities. Like touching people. Having a normal relationship with her husband. Socializing. Getting a job. Eating out. Like leaving the house. Soon there was no interval in her life when she was not just checking This raw, darkly comic series of astonishing vignettes is Emily Colas' achingly honest chronicle of her twisted journey through the obsessive-compulsive disorder that came to dominate her world. In the beginning it was germs and food. By the time she faced the fact that she was really "losing it," Colas had become a slave to her own "hobbies" -- from the daily hair cutting to incessant inspections of her children's clothing for bloodstains. A shocking, hilarious, enormously appealing account of a young woman struggling to gain control of her life, this is Emily Colas' exposé of a soul tormented, but balanced by a buoyance of spirit and a piercing sense of humor that may be her saving grace.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (1 Jun 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671024388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671024383
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 904,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

David Sedaris author of "Naked" "Just Checking" is, in turn, mysterious, agonizing, and terribly funny. Emily Colas writes with such skill and honesty that I can't help but wish she suffers a relapse. It's selfish, I know, but I want more.

About the Author

Emily Colas is thirty-two years old and lives in New York City. Just Checking is her first book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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I like to make stars in my head, or trace them with my finger. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking and humorous 30 Mar 2000
Format:Paperback
I read this book in one day which, as a mother of 2 children shows a certain amount of interest! Many passages made me laugh so much but this was then followed by a certain amount of guilt at laughing at another person's distress. There were times when I found it very upsetting that someone so attractive (see back cover) could be so 'upset' but the book is so beautifully written that one doesn't feel maudling too much. I have thought more about this book since I finished it than another book for some time. I guess if I had to critise it at all it would be because I felt it was somewhat disjointed in the manner in which it was written. I felt that the book lacked continuity and I would have liked to hear more about how her husband and children coped. I would so much like to hear how she is doing now. One of the best books I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick, enjoyable book 16 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found myself laughing out loud when reading "Just Checking." The author is a terrific writer and has a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. She's terrific with details. I just finished a long, seriously haunting novel and found "Just Checking" to be a refreshing respite. It's smart and sassy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Honest Account 17 Mar 2011
By Lincs Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
'Just Checking' is a series of vignettes that are honest, startling, at times very funny yet also deeply emotional. Emily relates her journey through life, from incidents during childhood, to the present day - along her journey she has been accompanied by the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These symptoms and this disorder have shaped Emily's whole life and her personality.
It is apparant from the writing that Emily is an intelligent woman, she realises that her thoughts and actions are not normal, but she is tormented by them. At first she was convinced that she would be poisoned, these feelings grew and grew until her world became, to her, a very dangerous place. Emily is a witty woman, her writing is simple and easy to read and she is very self-aware. It is clear that Emily knows the effects of her OCD on her life, her children and her husband and tries her best to hide the outward signs from other people, but that becomes increasingly difficult for her. Nobody is referred to by their name, she talks about her husband, her friend, her daughter etc, almost as though she is separate from them. She talks about her childhood and I would wonder whether some of her father's behaviours had an impact on her own disorder.
This is a fascinating read, a real insight into living with OCD.
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0 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One word...WOW 19 Nov 2001
By Rebecca
Format:Paperback
Girl, Interrupted has to be my most favourite book now. It is simply amazing. So deep and wonderful. You really connect to it. Buy it now...or else...you'll never know what greatness is inside it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Take This Book To Lunch 3 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
You will experience great difficulty returning to work. Also, you may exhibit some strange checking behavior while eating your BLT.
Exhausting. The guilt I felt in deriving enjoyment from Colas' tale of insanity was tempered only by the recognition that facing the brink is just a matter of degrees. Nearly everyone could find a suitable diagnosis at some point in their lives, whether chemical or situational. Few, however, could find the humor to expose their disturbing mental processes as adeptly as Colas has.
I hope that in sharing her story, Emily Colas has derived a great deal of therapeutic benefit. I know I have.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know . . . 25 Mar 2002
By dreadful light - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Emily Colas' memoir, Just Checking, is like an uncomfortable stand-up comedy routine. Broken into small chunks of conversational writing with sometimes interesting, sometimes bewildering headings (for example, "Mussolini Ate His Penie"), Colas' account jumps frantically from past to present, her childhood events to her typical day-to-day life as a wife and mother. It's sometimes hard to follow where exactly we are at any given time--and if that's intentional, I'm not sure it really works.
There are some terribly intense, disturbing moments (such as when Colas' apartment fills with garbage and dirt because she becomes wary of cleaning supplies, and she refuses to take a shower for fear of harming her unborn child), but overall the book floats glibly from event to event, nearly discounting Colas' painful descent into the illness. I know that this is was an extremely uncomfortable story to tell, and I like the approach of bringing humor to a subject that normally isn't very funny, but there are times when the writing backs away when it should have really delved deeper.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting examples for psych course 26 Oct 2005
By K. Adkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I use this book when I teach my Psy101 course (phobias, OCD and hypochondriasis- I read a few blurbs to illustrate to the class these topics). I always have at least 2 students a semester buy this book because they find her story so interesting. I recommend this for anyone who teachs psychology!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick, enjoyable book 16 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found myself laughing out loud when reading "Just Checking." The author is a terrific writer and has a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. She's terrific with details. I just finished a long, seriously haunting novel and found "Just Checking" to be a refreshing respite. It's smart and sassy.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, This Odd Book IS Worth Reading. 18 July 2006
By Jefferbelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having just finished JUST CHECKING, I'm trying to think of friends to whom I might recycle my copy. That's a tough one.

The biggest plus of this book is that it is so unlike the standard disease-of-the-month narratives we've come to expect. The biggest drawback is that it's so oddly written we hardly know what to make of it. (I was pretty sure for a while that it was really a novel masquerading as biography. It's not.) I did not find it nearly as funny as some readers did--laughed out loud perhaps twice. BUT--

Sometimes it turns out that honesty can be both a style and a subject. In Colas' hands, it's definitely not just a gimmick

(as it so often is in stand-up comic routines, which many reviewers saw as analagous). Her quirky approach takes us places we have not been unless we've suffered from OCD. But why go there at all, some readers may ask. Because like every good writer, by showing us one particular "heart of darkness" (her own), Colas shows us the universal heart of darkness, including, if we have eyes to see, our own.
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