Puzzled: A Memoir about Growing Up with OCD (Paperback)
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Growing up with undiagnosed OCD sure isn’t easy, and here Pan Cooke shares his own experiences with that condition in a graphic-novel memoir that is as funny as it is powerfully candid and openhearted.
Pan Cooke is ten years old when anxious thoughts begin to take over his brain like pieces of an impossible puzzle. What if he blurts out a swear word while in church? What if he accidentally writes something mean in his classmate’s get-well card? What if his friend’s racy photo of a supermodel ends up in his own homework and is discovered by his teacher? More and more, he becomes hijacked by fears that can only be calmed through exhausting, time-consuming rituals.
Pan has no way of knowing that this anxiety puzzle and the stressful attempts to solve it are evidence of a condition called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is his story of living with and eventually learning about OCD. Told with endearing honesty and humor, Puzzled shows the reader the importance of empathy for oneself and those going through something they don’t yet understand.
About the Author
Pan Cooke is an Irish artist and “cartoonivist” residing in Dublin, Ireland. He frequently posts cartoons about social issues on Instagram, where he has a large following, and he has created comics for Amnesty International and Campaign Zero. This memoir is his first book.
"The novel’s clean, unadorned art style enhances the persuasive verbal and visual jigsaw metaphor, which clearly evidences the creator’s lonely hardship as his numerous attempts to solve the unrelenting Puzzle fail. In a closing chapter, Cooke shares his first experience attending therapy, provides a digestible introduction to OCD’s multiple forms and symptoms, and dispels common myths about the disorder.” —Publishers Weekly
"The cheery colors in many of the panels serve as a stark contrast to the dark thoughts in Pan’s head, while the blue-gray panels illustrating Pan’s thought spirals emphasize his distress. Pan’s striking story handles mental health withcare and precision, dispelling myths about OCD and providing readers with the language necessary to discuss its signs and symptoms. Readers will also appreciate the quick yet comprehensive overview of cognitive behavioral therapy treatment toward the end. A harrowing yet ultimately hopeful look at the manifestation of mental illness.” —Kirkus