The Book Reviews – Website

July 29, 2008

Kissing Doorknobs

Kissing Doorknobs

Author: Terry Spencer Hesser  

Page Length: 149

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Realistic Fiction   

PLOT SUMMARY: At the age of eleven, Tara, becomes obsessed and haunted by the childhood saying, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”.  In a narrative form, Tara shares her story, she notes that she was very happy as a young child and loved spending time with her mother.  However, from the age of 11 to 14 she experiences out of control obsessions of praying, counting, terrible thoughts and arranging her food at meals.

Tara is a likeable girl, with three best friends.  Keesha is a proud African American, Anna is an athlete, and Kristen is a beautiful girl who desires to be a model. Tara has been a friend with them since pre-school, but as her obsessions become her priority, she loses her closeness to her peers.

Tara’s mother takes her to several counselors but she is misdiagnosed with disorders such as ADD, low self-esteem, immaturity, anger, and anorexia.  Her behavior becomes so obsessive that her parents begin to argue and her mother is almost abusive to Tara.

Then, one evening Mr. Jacobson, an old friend of her father’s visits their home.  He witnesses Tara, as she is unable to open the door before she counts the doorknob up to almost 89 times.  As Tara and her father breakdown crying, Mr. Jacobson is able to share some good news that will help Tara.

REVIEW:  This is a book that will help the reader understand Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  The reader will share empathy for Tara, as she knows it is not normal to have her obsessions, but she cannot stop them.

The book is fairly short; an interesting read for junior high and high school girls.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Character, Conclusions, Generalizations and Predictions 

RELATED BOOKS: Speak, Cut, Passing for Normal: A Memoir of Compulsion


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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