Puzzled: A Memoir About Growing Up with OCD

Penguin/Rocky Pond. Apr. 2024. 224p. Tr $23.99. ISBN 9780593615614.
Gr 6-8–A vulnerable account of trying to fit in, finding your place in the world, and the experience of being a regular teen while living with chronic intrusive thoughts. The vivid graphic representations of these intrusive thoughts in the main character Pan’s mind tangibly illustrate the struggles that they face, while the supporting text demonstrates how they operate outwardly in the public sphere. Pan’s thoughts, set in a blue-gray palette, become known as the Puzzle, which they try to solve through different regimens that seemingly overtake them. In contrast, Pan’s public life is shown in brighter, more vibrant shades. In such an authentic representation, the content surrounding OCD may be triggering to some readers; however, the author gives a realistic and frank perspective to symptoms and signs of the disorder, while also dispelling the myths and stereotypes that are often associated with it. Puzzled includes other heavy topics, such as mental health, peer pressure, eating disorders, bullying, anxiety, faith, and family.
VERDICT A powerful graphic novel memoir that gives readers an authentic account of life with OCD; for collections that include Sunshine by Jarrett J. Krosoczka and A Work in Progress by Jarrett Lerner.

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