Thursday, 25 January 2018

Unexpectedly, Milo - Mathew Dicks*

January has been a good reading month (rain, cold, repeat!), so I have spent much time curled up on the sofa in front of the woodburner - fitting in the odd spot of house cleaning between the good times!  Whilst I've read several books this month, this is only the third I have really wanted to tell you about.

Milo is a thirty plus man with an extreme and odd form of OCD.  Not in the way that most of us  imagine, either.  He does not turn lights on and off X number of times a day; he does not reclean the toilet bowl several times a day.  What he does is suffer compulsions.  The compulsion to unscrew a jam/jelly jar to hear the "plop" when the seal goes;  to score a strike at a bowling alley (even at 3.00 am); to sing 99 Red Balloons in the original German.  And he's unhappily married (or at least his wife of three years is - he wonders why she keeps asking for space).

When Milo moves out of the family home into a little apartment with the dog, he thinks it's only for the short-term.  Then, one day he finds a video camera and a set of tapes on an empty bench in the local park and takes them home to see if he can identify the owner from the content of the tapes.  What he finds is - well, read and find out for yourself, for Milo is going to make a big journey.  He is going to talk to people; he is going to make new friends, and who knows, maybe even get divorced along the way.  I really felt for Milo, keeping the secrets of his OCD from everyone - classmates, parents, wife, friends - but I just kept wondering why he was so worried.  I wanted to shout at him "just tell someone!".  But of course that's not how this condition works, is it?

A slow start, but do persevere, it is charming, funny and will make you understand OCD just a little better.

* Matthew Dicks is published as Matthew Green in the UK, as the publisher thought that the surname might make people shy to buy.... US readers - for dick read pecker.  Honestly!  We are all grownups here - and I am smiling!