Title & Author:
Lexapros and Cons
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 10, 2012
Chuck Taylor’s OCD has rendered him a high school outcast.
His endless routines and habitual hand washing threaten to scare away both his closest friend and the amazing new girl in town. Sure he happens to share the name of the icon behind the coolest sneakers in the world, but even Chuck knows his bizarre system of wearing different color “Cons” depending on his mood is completely crazy.
In this hilariously candid debut novel from comedian Aaron Karo—who grew up with a few obsessions and compulsions of his own—very bad things are going to happen to Chuck. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because with graduation looming, Chuck finds himself with one last chance to face his inner demons, defend his best friend, and win over the girl of his dreams. No matter what happens, though, he’ll have to get his hands dirty.
I was very interested in reading this book for several reasons. The biggest is that the protag has OCD. This is something that runs in my family, something that I've dealt with up close and have borderline issues with personally. I was very surprised to find that Karo nailed the disorder in every part of my knowledge.
Chuck is a teenage boy with OCD and he acts just the way any normal guy would act only different. He just has his special ticks. Karo has given him an amazing personality..full of spunk and attitude. I can honestly say that at several points through the book I thought this is totally my brother (when he was younger). Chuck has the greatest best friend and of course there is a girl.
I read L&C in one sitting and during the entire time I had a smile on my face and would laugh out loud to no one but myself. There is so much heart and honesty written into the story line that you can't help but to keep reading and find out what happens. I am incredibly pleased that I was able to read a copy of this novel and extremely happy that someone has taken steps to write about how someone like Chuck goes through life on a day-by-day with the struggles of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
There are some language and sexual situations that may make some folks uncomfortable however, I think it fit in just right with most average teen boys.
1. Can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer?
A.K. I started writing funny emails to my friends in college (this was way back in 1997). Eventually those emails got forwarded and went viral. By the time I graduated, I had over 10,000 subscribers to my mailing list and Simon & Schuster approached me to write my first book. So it kind of came out of nowhere!
2. How long did it take you to write LEXAPROS AND CONS?
A.K. I wrote the first draft of Lexapros and Cons quickly – in just about a month. However, that does not take into account all the time I spent planning out the story before I even wrote a single word. In fact, the outline for the book took several months and in some ways was the hardest part of the process.
3. What inspired you to write this particular book?
A.K. I honestly just started with the title – Lexapros and Cons. I knew I had a great title, now I just need a book to go alongside it! The main character was always going to have OCD but it wasn’t until halfway through brainstorming the story that I realized that Cons could not only be “negatives,” as in “pros and cons,” but also Cons as in Converse. And then I thought it’d be interesting if one of the things the main characters was OCD about was Converse. And then I just needed a reason why he would be obsessed with that particular brand. And then the light bulb hit – his name should be Chuck Taylor!
4. What kind of research did you do for the book, if any? In my opinion you nailed Chuck's OCD spot on.
A.K. Well, Chuck Taylor is basically me. All of the OCD symptoms in the book I have suffered from at some point. I actually counted how often I masturbated for an entire year (luckily that was in ninth grade and I don’t do it anymore!). All of the stove checking and the obsession with hand sanitizer – those are all things I do now. So writing about OCD was very personal and really required introspection rather than research.
5. Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
A.K. I am partial to Amy. She’s my dream girl (if I was a seventeen-year-old boy).
6. Do you have a favorite story to tell about being interviewed about your book?
A.K. It’s always interesting when I tell people that I used to count how often I masturbate. I think people think I just made that characteristic about Chuck up – which makes me a weirdo. But when I tell them it’s actually based on fact – that also makes me a weirdo.
7. What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
A.K. “Are you single? Because I know a gorgeous woman who’s a big fan of your work and would love to introduce you.”
A.K. In my writing, as with my stand-up, I wouldn’t say I am influenced by anyone in particular. When I first started doing stand-up, I consciously avoided studying other, famous stand-ups because I didn’t want to copy anyone’s style. I took the same approach when I started writing YA. I didn’t study the genre too thoroughly; I honestly just put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and started writing. I figured I could create my own style...and luckily it worked!
9. If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?
A.K. Well, the great thing is that being an author is only 25% of what I do. I’m also a screenwriter, comedian, and entrepreneur (I run the humor site Ruminations.com). So at any given point I’m doing something for a living that I’m passionate about.
10. If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
A.K. The Bible. One word: royalties.
11. Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process.
A.K. I require absolute silence. No music. No phone ringing. No email going off. It’s amazing how in this day and age it’s so hard to find some quiet.
12. Please list four random likes; then do the same for dislikes, go way random.
women in wife-beaters
13. Is there anything that you’re working on that we need to be looking out for?
A.K. My new stand-up album, I Need to Tell You Something comes out April 30th! Check it out at http://INeedToTellYouSomething.com
Thanks to the fabulous publisher, I have one copy of Lexapros and Cons to offer to you! Giveaway is for US Residents only. Ends April 24 at midnight EST.
Enter the Giveaway --> HERE!