Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pure” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.03  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Pure is the true story of Rose Bretécher's life and struggle with 'Pure O', a rampant but little-known type of OCD whereby sufferers experience intrusive, 'unthinkable' thoughts, often sexual or violent in content. It tracks her farcical, decade-long path to redemption, from the moment she was first seized by incessant sexual mental images to her eventual recovery through ...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published 2019 by Unbound (first published September 24th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pure, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pure

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  360 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Pure
Emily B
2.5 rounded up.

I read other books at the same time as this one, which I don’t normally do. I just didn’t get hooked on it straight away and found myself distracted by other reads.

The author’s story was interesting however I would have preferred it to be told a bit more chronologically. Also didn’t really care for the ‘love story’ part of it.
Simon P
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
[APOLOGIES first to the author and to anybody who reads this review, firstly because it might seem very harsh, secondly because it's huge]

There is a great section in this memoir when the author self-deprecatingly includes her story of all the rejections she received from literary agents:
"These letters are targeted messages from the publishing industry to me, and they say, 'your life story is boring, your writing is pitiful, there is nothing to be learned from your experience, and you might want
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really informative & insightful memoir about OCD. Rose Cartwright spent years (more than a decade!) without knowing how to deal (or live) with a specific type of OCD called Pure O - in her case related with intrusive thoughts of sexual nature.
This memoir definitely helps to shed light on OCD, a disorder many people still do not understand the repercussions of.
Flo Friis
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I found this in a incredibly difficult and confronting read at times I also found it comforting and reassuring. A book I will definitely pass on to friends and family to help them understand this debilitating illness.
I don’t have OCD, but many of Rose’s struggles to come to terms with her mental illness, and to get help for it, rang very close to home for me. This is a fascinating, beautifully written memoir that was difficult to read in places, but I’m so glad that I did. I wish her journey to recovery all the best.
Noelia Alonso
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it

I read this purely (no pun intended) after watching the channel 4 tv series inspired by this book. This book is a memoir of Cartwright's journey. What she went through as a teenager when she started to have intrusive thoughts about sex (some of them quite violent), how she dealt - or rather didn't - with it, her struggles to be properly diagnosed and finding a good therapist who could actually help her.

I enjoyed this a lot. Rose Cartwright doesn't really sugarcoat anything and some of
Saruh Victoria
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has suffered from OCD since the 3rd grade, this book hit close to home. Rose Bretecher addresses the issues many OCD sufferers face with honesty, humility, and humor. For those who are unfamiliar with OCD and have misconceptions about the disease, this will be an enlightening read. Thank you Rose for sharing your story and giving individuals with OCD a space to speak the unspeakable.
Neil Goodman
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a sufferer of 'Pure-O', Rose's incredible bravery and ability to talk openly about her condition is wonderful. She has managed to put in words many of the fears and thoughts that I, and countless others, suffer on a daily basis.

Her path to healing though is incredible and really opens my eyes to the fact that this is something I can and will take my life back from.

I have never cried reading a book, except now.
Autumn Aurelia
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I give more than five stars, please? Wow. What a beautiful read. I've only just finished the book an hour ago, and so I'm still simply trying to come to terms with all that I read and all the ways in which I relate to Rose. I'll post a full review later, but for now, wow. This book. <3 Thank you, Rose for such an honest account of OCD.
This review originally appeared here at Hepburn's Pixie Crop.

* I was fortunate to receive a copy of Pure from Unbound for review, but as you'll see from my past post, this was something I was already super pumped for and I have huge love for the things that they do. I wasn't compensated for my review in any other way, and all opinions are my own. *

(I am completely out of my depth talking about mental illness, and have tried my hardest to use language that is respectful towards those with OCD and
Elaine Higgins
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A completely different story to the tv series which I wasn’t expecting however I still really enjoyed this. It’s feels like a very different a kind of mix up of fiction and auto biography which looks at issues which I think most people will have experienced elements of at some point ie: OCD not necessarily the intrusive thoughts....!
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

urgent, important, insightful.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was comforting and emotional to read Pure and to read words that articulate in lots of ways the mental condition I carry. Rose is clearly intelligent and well read and well educated, and I thank her for sharing her experience, it allows some comfort for those suffering with versions of OCD and some insight to those who aren't.

However, I look for the book that is written from a less educated point of view about mental health, specifically for me OCD. I feel it wasn't accessible to every
Four stars for the book itself, five stars because of what it means.

I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and I’ve had it since I was 10 years old. In some ways I’m lucky, because I got diagnosed and treated early, and a lot of my obsessions and compulsions are the ones commonly talked about (contamination, checking, etc.). Obsessions that aren’t so well known are the intrusive thoughts, which can often be of a violent, harmful, or sexual nature. Having these thoughts doesn’t make the person
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this after watching the C4 series. Such an unbelievable insight into this little known form of OCD told with raw honesty and humour. The sheer frustration at the medical profession' s inability to treat or even diagnose such a treatable illness is what sticks with me.
Mathew Walls
I just couldn't get into this. I didn't get enough of a sense of the author as a character to care about her, and there wasn't enough in the way of information for me to be hooked by wanting to learn about this manifestation of OCD. It also seemed pretty repetitive, describing the symptoms long after the point where I was thinking "I get it" and wanted to hear about how it affected her rather than more examples of situations where the symptoms had manifested.
Sarah - Louise
This was a pretty hard read. A lot of it actually made me feel quite anxious, and I was maybe a little put off by the jokey ladish way Rose writes. But I'm glad I have read it, because a lot of it is also familiar.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 20-20
"Pure" by Rose Bretecher

"Pure" is the true story of Bretecher life with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). To be more specific her life with Pure-O. Pure-O is a form of OCD where the compulsions are subtle and at times look non existent.

In Bretecher case she experienced intrusive thoughts and images that were sexual. Bretecher would see faces transform into private parts. She would see friends, family members, and strangers in sexual acts. I was very shocked at the graphic and vivid images
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2019
A beautifully written memoir about a little known form of OCD. Rose has constant, intrusive thoughts of a graphic sexual nature which cause her to question her identity, her sexuality and her sanity, and which cause her huge distress. This is a sensitive, personal and often darkly humorous look at a difficult topic. While it ends on a personally positive note, it also raises important questions about access to mental health treatment in our underfunded NHS. I did also feel that, when it came to ...more
Lizzie Riley
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after watching the TV series, and felt there was a significantly different tone to the book. Having said that, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whilst the tv show definitely looked at the lighter side of this condition- the book was much more sensitively written and gave me a real insight into what it’s like to live with this condition. I definitely feel better informed and more aware after this read.

Very well written, and I felt a lot of empathy for Rose. Nothing was off
Scarlett Mansfield
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked this book for the purpose of shedding light on a form of OCD I never knew existed - however, I found the book rather childish with its terminology, and pretty boring/ repetitive at times (obviously, the latter is the point in stressing the frequency of OCD thoughts but I mean asides from that). It was helpful in learning more about the illness and, particularly that there are options for help out there. I liked the section about the importance of not assigning meaning to intrusive ...more
Sharon Gausch
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure takes the reader on a visceral journey with OCD. Bretécher's slangy British way of speaking, especially early on, made this book a little hard to get into, but she's a fantastic and entertaining writer and her story is highly engaging. This story is an essential move toward removing the stigma and shame so often associated with mental illness, and it provides a searing insight into life with intrusive and unrelenting OCD thoughts. We travel Bretécher's tortuous road to finding effective ...more
Lisa Bentley
Pureis a fascinating narrative non-fiction about one girls struggle with OCD.

It is a truly eye-opening story that has Rose Cartwright exposing herself and her insecurities with the written word. You really get the feeling that Cartwright has bled out on the page as she relives her experiences.

If I had to sum upPurein one word it would be brave. I cannot imagine what Rose Cartwright has been through but I am honoured that I got to experience it vicariously through Pure.

Pureby Rose Cartwright is
Janet Donbavand
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My son gave me this book to explain what he had been through. He didn't have the courage to talk to us about it but can understand why not. It has helped me to come to a realisation of what he went through as a teenager. Well done to Rose for having the guts to write this book. It should be available in all secondary schools as there is so little knowledge about intrusive thoughts and those suffering think they are the only one.
Charlie Webster
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good memoir about a woman's journey through mental illness. The reader follows Rose's life as she battles OCD and travels the world. The narrative would jump around a lot and it got repetitive sometimes. But the subject matter is very important, and I think the author did an excellent job of explaining the anguish her obsessions caused her. Apparently, the book has been made into a show in the UK.
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, 2019
Wow. An interesting book with a lot of information about the experience of OCD and the impact on the personal life of those affected by this particular type of compulsion.
Not an easy read as jumps back and forth but stick with it as it is worth getting to the end.
Thanks Rose for being brave enough to share your experiences.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
My brother gave me this book to read after he’d watched the show. I didn’t know exactly what this was about so it was a shock at first but it fascinated me to learn about pure OCD as I didn’t know it existed. Very eye opening!
Mar 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
A 'seemingly' honest book. Author's privilege is obvious and boring. Depictions of the countries she visits including India are snobbish. I agree sharing all types of health issues is important. I wasn't moved by her writing at all
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honest diary of Rose's struggles.

Incredible book, written so honestly allowing the reader to truly try and attempt to understand what OCD or Pure O can be for a person who has it.
Whether you suffer from it or just interested to know more of it, it was a pleasant book.
Maximilian Hawker
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written with a precision and honesty that only a sufferer of OCD could deliver. A must read.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought
  • Mad Girl
  • Jog On: How Running Saved My Life
  • In at the Deep End
  • She Must Be Mad
  • Ordinary People
  • The Bodysurfers
  • Mr Salary: Faber Stories
  • The Rapture
  • The Man Who Couldn't Stop
  • Don't Hold My Head Down
  • Barndom
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet
  • The Confession
  • The Hormone Diaries: The Bloody Truth About Our Periods
  • The Guilty Feminist: From Our Noble Goals to Our Worst Hypocrisies
  • Bottled Goods
  • Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns
See similar books…
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »