Friday, April 24, 2009

Compulsive Acts by Elias Aboujadude (2/81) Neuroscience/Psychology category

Compulsive Acts is a look into 5 tales of "rituals and obsession."  The author is a young psychiatrist learning his way through the field and in his tales he describes his own challenges and milestones.  Aboujadude learns through different patients his own "weaknesses" as viewed in the field such as his want to cross the boundaries and go beyond to help patients, or his own biases to like some patients over others. These challenges show varying degrees of admirability for our "hero" and, all the while, getting an interesting perspective on those dealing with different obsessive and compulsive disorders. 
The first case study was my personal favorite with the desparate wife of a man seeking help because her husband is helplessly obsessed with his own nose. He is convinced that harm will come to his nose unless he keeps things at least 3 ft away, imagine his eating troubles! Also as his protective distance grows he can't go through doors and so on.  This greatly disturbs his marriage and everyday life. This is the most entertaining case study of the bunch. 
Unfortunately the writing goes downhill from there. Although there are many fascinating people such as the woman who can't stop pulling out her own hair, two kleptomaniacs, a compulsive gambler and a man obsessed with and ultimately choosing to live a life online rather than in the real world, the author tries to be funny, but fails. His writing is not fluid and he organizes and prioritizes in a very odd way. Also the titles of the sections are not clever and have very little to do with the subject material within each section. 

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