Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Don't Touch

Don't Touch
Author: Rachel M. Wilson
Published: September 2nd, 2014
Hardcover, 415 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Step on a crack, break your mother's back,
Touch another person's skin, and Dad's gone for good...

Caddie has a history of magical thinking - of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings - but it's never been this bad before.

When her parents split up, Don't Touch becomes Caddie's mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person's skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie's obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school's production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who's auditioning for the title role - and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter - but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

The cover and premise of this book alone made me pick it up. It seemed more unique than anything I've read and certainly the most realistic. People talk about OCD and anxiety like it's no big deal, but there are people out there, like Caddie, who physically cannot make themselves do something in fear of what might happen. Caddie has forever trusted the rhymes and sayings that if you do something, something bad will happen. Step on a crack, break your mother's back. She cautiously weaves through life, but the day her dad leaves the family, she can't help but blame herself. If she had just never let someone touch her, he might still be here. So she begins wearing gloves, staying far away from people, and vowing never to touch someone ever again in hopes of seeing her father again. But now that she's at a new school and making new friends, she keeps getting the urge to touch, and as much as her mind is telling her no, her heart is saying yes when it comes to Peter, the Hamlet to her Ophelia.

I knew I was going to understand Caddie from the beginning. It's not that I won't touch people either, but I understand telling yourself something and believing it's true and that if you don't listen, bad things will happen. I'm nowhere near as anxious as Caddie is, but I can certainly see how she got herself into that place and I was so proud of her for getting out of it. It was hard to read in some places, feeling the brutality that she puts herself through, especially when she starts getting feelings for Peter but can't will herself to touch him. Her new group of friends help her through it. Mandy, a girl she knew from when they were kids, tries to help Caddie come out of her shell. Caddie isn't happy with how pushy she is, but I loved how she eventually opened up to her and was willing to get help. Peter was amazing, the best kind of guy to read about. He's friendly, supportive, and willing to wait for Caddie to be able to touch him, though he does try to push her along a bit too. None of them really know why Caddie won't touch them, so I can understand how they'd try to fix her even though they don't know how broken she is. And really, only she can make herself better but with their support, it was a lot easier for her.

The writing was amazing. Rachel captured the thoughts and feelings of someone who doesn't think they deserve to be happy. I'm a huge fan of plays and acting, so I loved that there was a minor story of them preforming Hamlet, and I loved reading about the rehearsals and how Caddie wanted to do a good job, but didn't know how to release herself into it. The moments with her and Peter were delicious to read and I just loved reading her journey from nothing to everything. It was hard for her to except that just because she wasn't touching anyone didn't mean her dad would come back. It was heartbreaking and realistic and it was perfect, brutality honest look at OCD that a lot of people don't realize. This is a must read for everyone as it gives you a glimpse into the life of someone who could be beside you and you wouldn't even know they were suffering like this.

"When we locked eyes, the ease of his stare and the welcome of a smile made me feel like one of two fixes points in a hurricane. The building could have crashes down around us as he smiled, and I wouldn't have noticed."

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