cover image Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought

Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought

Lily Bailey. Harper, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-269616-8

London-based model and journalist Bailey offers an authentic and stunning account of her struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder in this beautifully-rendered memoir. Readers may initially wonder why the narrator often refers to herself as “we,” but will soon realize that the dueling voice inside Bailey’s head is an imaginary “friend” who reinforces intrusive thoughts, feeding into the author’s feelings of unworthiness. Bailey has a supportive family; though her parents divorce, they are committed to helping their daughter, who is diagnosed with OCD as a teen. Bailey does well in school (especially after receiving extra time for tests), but her interior dialogue is rife with worry and self-blame; it takes hours to fall asleep at night due to her analysis of intricate lists of perceived mistakes she’s made each day, along with her various routines (for example, tiptoeing into her sister’s room to see if she’s still breathing). Under the care of a psychiatrist, Bailey improves, but while attending college in Dublin she backslides and attempts suicide. Bailey is a vulnerable, vibrant, and courageous narrator. Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Apr.)