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Oxford Messed Up

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  403 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Oxford Messed Up is a unique literary love story that transports readers on a meaningful and emotional journey where the academic world of Oxford, the music of Van Morrison, and an old claw-foot bathtub serve as a backdrop for learning, self-discovery, and transcendent love.

Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman is an academic superstar who has come to Oxford University to study
Paperback, 324 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Grant Place Press
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  403 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Jessie Jury
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It’s been a long time since I read a book that I just couldn’t put down, but I stayed up most of the night reading Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman from start to finish. It’s hard to find a true literary love story - one that is smart and modern with engaging, complex characters. I grew to love Gloria and Henry, flaws and all, and felt a personal connection with them.

I found the depiction of Gloria’s OCD both horrifying and illuminating. I’ve never seen anyone with such an extreme case
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What, sometimes I ask myself, makes a novel great? Is it the characters? The narrative? The dialogue? The setting? I can never come up with a conclusive answer to this, and simply saying "all of the above" seems like such a cop out - so I pacify myself with the only answer that makes the most sense to me, "What makes a novel great, is the way it makes the reader feel." If this is the gauge used to determine the greatness of a novel, "Oxford Messed Up" by Andrea Kayne Kaufman is one of the greate ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A thoroughly engaging play on the idea that two 'damaged' people are best-suited to fix each other. More to come.
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Gloria Zimmerman, Jewish, Rhodes scholar, OCD sufferer, and discoverer of a famous lost manuscript, travels to Oxford in search of freedom and finds much more in Andrea Kayne Kaufman’s Oxford Messed Up. Meanwhile Henry Young is in search of his own messy freedom and plays guitar in the loo.

Unfortunately, their dorm rooms share a single bathroom and Henry’s forgotten to lock the door.
Both messed-up characters come from messed-up families, hence the title of the novel. And both love Van Morrison.
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Matt Ruff's "Set This House In Order"
Shelves: favorites
Wow! I loved Oxford Messed Up. This book provides a very real feeling, intimate look into the thoughts of someone who suffers with OCD. Kaufman has some personal experience with a family member who suffered with OCD and the journey to help has given her tender, insider knowledge. This story will no doubt advance people’s understanding and hope for sufferers of this mysterious and confusing affliction. Gloria’s constant companion Oliver, is a force to be reckoned with. Henry is the one unlikely p ...more
 Lady Krishna
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

This review is originally posted on my blog
Journey with Books

Oxford Messed Up is the first work of Andrea Kayne Kaufman I've ever read. I can honestly say that it's a great experience I would definitely want to do again. Oxford Messed Up is a refreshing read for me because it's very different from my usual reads. It's about real life that some real people goes through. It's an eye opener for some of us who have very different views about the realities of some people who have OCD.

The ma
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
'Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk'

Andrea Kayne Kaufman comes to her first novel so well prepared that it is difficult to believe she has not had literary experience before. Yes, she is one bright woman - `chair of the Department of Leadership, Language and Curriculum at the DePaul University College of Education in Chicago. An educator and attorney, she earned a B.A. from Vassar College, an M.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School'
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you want a book with engaging characters that you care about to the last page, look no further than Oxford Messed Up. I had the great fortune to begin this novel on a long car trip, which allowed me to plow through in one sitting - I couldn't put it down!

Gloria Zimmerman, Rhodes Scholar and student of feminist poetry, struggles with untreated OCD as she settles into her new life at Oxford. OCD experts have vetted the book, and it shows; this is not the typical Hollywood portrayal. I really f
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Linda by:
Oxford Messed Up is easily my favorite book read in 2012 and I am a voracious reader with a stack of books teetering on my nightstand, others stashed underneath and an eReader equally well stocked. This book will trick you out of sleep while putting a smile of contentment on your face. It’s a brilliant first novel by an author whose voice should become better known as momentum builds and the word spreads. Andrea Kayne Kaufman has written a compelling first novel that works on every level. The ch ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"And we’ll walk down the avenue again
And we’ll sing all the songs from way back when
And we’ll walk down the avenue again and the healing has begun"--Van Morrison, "And the Healing Has Begun"

I read this book in a four-day span just around Valentine's Day. Indeed, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish the last 75 pages, as I felt such a connection to the characters created by Andrea Kayne Kaufman. Gloria Zimmerman is a nice Jewish girl from Chicago who heads to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to st
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved every single thing about this book. It takes dysfunctional to a whole new level. There are dysfunctional individuals, dysfunctional relationships, dysfunctional families. The two main characters are Gloria, a Rhodes scholar who has come to Oxford to study women's poetry and Henry, a music loving son of one of the Oxford dons.

The two are thrown together when their flat at Oxford shares a bathroom. This would not be such a bad thing, except that Gloria has an obsessive/compulsive disorder
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Andrea Kaufman has done a marvelous job of creating characters with major personality flaws (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and substance abuse) and turned them into people with heart and substance. Gloria, the obsessive Rhodes scholar, is studying the poetry of feminist writers Sylvia Plath and Sara Teasdale, and Henry, ex-addict and scholarly failure, share a bathroom in their graduate student housing. Kaufman lets the reader into Gloria's OCD in a way that is both instructio ...more
Kahlen Aymes
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved the characters in this book. Both Gloria and Henry have issues and people that hammer away at them, yet are honest, human and real. It pulled me into the world of OCD and I was amazed at how Andrea Kayne Kaufman's portrayal of the disease was so decidedly different than what we are used to seeing in film or reading about in literature. In my experience, OCD has always been outlined in humor rather than reality.

Oxford Messed Up will make you smile, don't get me wrong...but it's nice to se
Karah Matarazzo
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was initially drawn to this book because it deals with an issue that I see a lot. I am a clinical social worker and work with children and adults that suffer from OCD. As I began reading the book, I was expecting the same, tired portrayal of OCD that is common in Hollywood. However, I was quickly proven wrong. Andrea Kayne Kaufman does an amazing job portraying the OCD voice and the internal struggle that many afflicted with the disorder face. Ms. Kayne Kaufman clearly has an understanding of ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman was an unexpected joy to read. As someone who is leery of romance novels, this book proved to be both smart and sweet. The theme of transcendence permeated the novel and reminds the reader that an individual’s past does not dictate how the rest of their life will play out.

The characters, Gloria, a young woman who suffers from severe OCD, and Henry, a recovering addict, are thrown together when forced to be “loo-mates” at Oxford University. In a fairly pr
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
WOW. This was one of those rare books that manages to strike the perfect balance between sweet romance and a meaningful message. Gloria suffers from severe OCD and germophobia, which makes it very problematic when she arrives at student housing as an Oxford postgraduate and finds that she's been assigned to share a bathroom with a disorganized, free-spirited musician named Henry. Battling demons of his own, Henry endeavors to help Gloria with her incredibly debilitating illness, and of course a ...more
Randy Briggs
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful novel about the relationship between two damaged and alienated people brought together by a shared bathroom and a mutual love of Van Morrison. Smart, funny, and above all, believable. The author obviously put a lot of research into this book, painting detailed and realistic portraits of addiction and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She also seems to know a lot about the often dysfunctional dynamics between parents and their children. Heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful.
Naomi S.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best novel I've read in a long time! From the beginning, I was captivated by this beautiful and moving love story. The author's vivid imagery and rich character development had me so engrossed that I did not want this book to end.The author has managed to depict in honest, and, at times, brutal detail the difficult world of Obssessive Compulsive Disoder. Kudos to Andrea Kayne Kaufman, a very gifted writer, for this transformative book. A must read!
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
This Book is absolutely Bloody BRILLIANT!!!!!!!
The first great book of 2012..It really has movie potential!!!!
I have to give this book SIX stars!!

I am blown away by how much I adore Gloria and Henry.
Thank you so much for sharing these peoples with me.
Your proportions of history, and dabbling of the
supporting characters is beyond perfect.
I love that you gave a complete story with a loving ending
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Just finished reading "Oxford Messed Up" by Andrea Kayne Kaufman and LOVED it!!! :D Finally there is a book that tells what it is really like for people like me who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!!! :D I loved reading Glora and Henry's story and how two people who think they are so messed up can fall in love and help each other, along with the help of Van Morrison's music. It's such a sweet love story and a very well written book!!! :D Just loved it!!! :D
Susan Coster
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was so clever how the protagonist had everyone believing that her OCD was her actual boyfriend. And, was it a coincidence that her roomie also loved Van Morrison? Has anyone ever heard of OCD as severe as Gloria's case? Not me! It was appalling yet astonishing! A must read for all!
Oh man.. this book struck a raw nerve..

A real story of love and redemption;embracing the darkness. Possibly one of my favorite romance novels to date.

Excellent characterization, ingenious plot, tender story development, AWESOME poetry ( for the weary,melancholic,introspective sort) and of course Van Morrison!.

what a journey..

......... the balloon is waiting for you....
David Holtzclaw
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Oxford Messed Up," is eloquent, funny, & thought provoking. It takes you head first into the world of OCD. It is indeed a contemporary love story, but so much more. It's still hard to believe that this is a first novel.
Congrats to Andrea!
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I always know that I'm on to a good book when the story and the characters stay with me.
Gloria and Henry are still with me. I found myself cheering for both of them, especially Gloria, and was so happy when Oliver got his walking papers. When I closed the book I played my copy of Astral Weeks.
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-books
Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman is a rare and poignant glimpse into the world of obsessive compulsive disorder. Characters are easy to identify with and are completely human in their failings and triumphs. I was expecting a love story and got so much more.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I chose it for my book club and everyone enjoyed it. I had no idea Van Morrison was such a brilliant poet.
Misty Nelson
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Loved it!!!!! Downloading more Van Morrison tomorrow!!!
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Loved the characters and felt as if I was in England while reading about Oxford. I have a whole new view on OCD now too.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Delightful book. Character driven, and the epilogue is especially touching. One of the best books I have read in a while.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I love this story. I was so captivated by the characters, they felt real to me. This feels like the most real love story I have read in a long time.
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Henry 2 18 May 29, 2012 09:45PM  

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Oxford Messed Up was honored with a 2012 “IPPY” award from the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Adult Fiction E-Book, earning a Gold medal for being among the most “heartfelt, unique, outspoken and experimental” entries. It has also been named a Finalist in the E-Book category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

As both an educator and attorney, Andrea Kayne Kaufman has worked
“Gloria watched the swollen white orb of a hot-air balloon rising over Navy Pier and knew she had to break it off with Oliver, for he was the type who would never enjoy hot-air balloons, Van Morrison songs, or mess, whether from orgasm or otherwise. But who was she to be dreaming about mess today?” 9 likes
“The talked about their messed-up, dysfunctional families, carefully respecting boundaries, never probing too deep in any one sitting. And they always ended up laughing. Even when the subject matter was intense or macabre, Henry’s sick and twisted and often politically incorrect sense of humor was infectious…Gloria laughed more in these first weeks at Oxford then she remembered laughing almost anywhere.” 5 likes
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