Friday Fiction – Kissing Doorknobs

Kissing Doorknobs

Kissing Doorknobs
Hesser
1998

Submitter: “Weaknesses: Keesha is Black and her dialog is in a quasi-Ebonic style, which doesn’t go over well now. Donna is a “bad girl” and goes to a home for expectant mothers. The parents, even though they have seen Tara’s behavior for years, refuse to believe anything is wrong with her. This is dated in so many ways.

What I really think: Treatment and perception of OCD has changed so much in the last 20 years that I will weed this book. It hasn’t been checked out in a while, doesn’t smell great, and is a bit more YA than most of my titles now. My readers have been skewing younger for some time now. No idea why.”

Holly: Our friend Karen at Ms. Yingling Reads (quoted above with permission!) found a doozy with this one. You’ve heard us say it a bajillion times: anything health-related has a shelf life of about five years. I read this book maybe ten years ago, actually. It was dated then too. Kids experiencing OCD, or who know someone with it, deserve a current portrayal. Check out Ms. Yingling’s full review here!

 

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5 comments

  1. This is so interesting, I read this in the early 2000s as a middle schooler and it’s one of those books that stuck with me all those years. It made me want to be a psychiatrist for a long time! I completely agree it should be weeded, but kudos to this one for a more accurate and sympathetic portrayal of OCD. Unfortunately, it’s very sad that I haven’t seen many better portrayals of the actual illness in my years of reading and collection development since.

    1. That’s tough. There’s nothing newer than a book that was really good in its day, but now might be worse than nothing. When does that change happen? (For this book, _at the latest_ when it started to smell.)

  2. Is kissing doorknobs a common OCD symptom? I’d think the opposite.

    Both mental health and teen means the “>10 years and it should go” rule fits. More than 20 years and… well, it should have gone over a decade ago. And bad smell plus no circulation nixes any book.

    I just got a brand new book this week. Oooh. The tiny sound of the spine being cracked for the first time, the new book smell — there’s nothing like it. I have a TON of Kindle books and love them too, but there’s nothing like a new one. Especially hardback.

    1. In the context of the book, it’s one of Tara’s rituals. She’s also not kissing them directly, if I remember right she kisses her fingertips and then has to apply even pressure when touching the doorknob before she can use the door. The even pressure thing is something that actually is very common in different variations amongst OCD sufferers. OCD being focused on germs or cleanliness is a myth, the cornerstones of OCD are compulsions and intrusive thoughts. She also has other rituals that are more common generally, such as her religious compulsions.

  3. EEEWWW!!!! If this book literally advocates kissing doorknobs, it should be thrown in the nearest bonfire. It is irresponsible to encourage this germ-spreading in the age of COVID.

    Another EEEEWWW to the Ebonics dialect. That just screams racism.

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