'Am I Normal Yet?' Explores Mental Health
“It’s like a broken machine. Thoughts go in your head, get stuck and keep going around and around.” Evie, the protagonist in Holly Bourne’s young adult novel, “Am I Normal Yet?,” suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a mental illness approximately 3.3 million people in the United States live with every day (12 in 1,000 in the UK, where she resides).
At the age of 16, all Evie should have to worry about is school, hanging out with her friends, dating and going to a few parties on the weekends. However, because of her OCD, her mind is plagued with repetitive thoughts that refuse to allow her to live a “normal” life.
As the book progresses, Evie begins to do all of the things that she has imagined herself doing, but they do not turn out the way she had hoped. A date with a boy goes horribly wrong, she falls incredibly behind in her schoolwork and she can’t let loose and enjoy herself at the parties she goes to because of the intrusive thoughts that take over and cause her to only be able to focus on her OCD.
While she does make two very good friends, Lottie and Amber, she neglects to tell them in the beginning of her disorder because she is afraid of what they will think of her. For anyone struggling with any personal issues or suffering from a mental disorder, this ideology can often plague the mind and can make one feel incredibly isolated. Bourne writes Evie’s character in a way that allows the reader to tune into and identify with everything that she is going through.
Throughout the book, Bourne depicts OCD as it is – a serious mental disorder, not a simple personality trait as society commonly treats it. Through Evie’s character, she is able to show that this disorder is not just about “being organized” or “having a very clean room.” The reader is given an inside look at how debilitating the disorder is through Evie’s eyes and shows how time-consuming her compulsions and thought processes are.
Bourne’s novel “Am I Normal Yet?” is a book that will make you laugh, cry and feel empowered all at the same time. It’s introspective look at mental disorders, life and feminism offer an insight into many issues that plague our culture today.