Passing for Normal
A Memoir of Compulsion
By Amy S. Wilensky
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780767901864, 224pp.)
Publication Date: July 5, 2000
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I am crazy. But maybe I am not. For most of her life, these thoughts plagued Amy Wilensky as her mind lurched and veered in ways she didn't understand and her body did things she couldn't control. While she excelled in school and led an otherwise "normal" life, she worried that beneath the surface she was a freak, that there was something irrevocably wrong with her. Passing for Normal is Wilensky's emotionally charged account of her lifelong struggle with the often misunderstood disorders Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A powerful witness to her own dysfunction, Wilensky describes the strain it bore on her relationships with the people she thought she knew best: her family, her friends, and herself. Confronting the labels we apply to ourselves and others--compulsive, crazy, out of control--Amy describes her symptoms, diagnosis, and her treatment with courage and a healthy dose of humor, gradually coming to terms with the absurdities of a life beset by irrational behavior. This compelling narrative, by turns
tragic and comic, broadly extends our understanding of the won-drously complex human mind, and, with subtlety and grace, challenges our notion of what it is to be "normal."
"A harrowing and wryly humorous story of a woman's lifelong battle with tics and obsessions and her gradual acceptance of treatment."
"Wilensky's emotional honesty and surprising humor make this memoir not only an informative account of diagnosis and treatment, but an exceptionally wise exploration of larger themes of difference and the need to belong."