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Passing for Normal

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  453 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
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.  Pass ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Broadway Books (first published 1999)
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Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This memoir written by Amy Wilensky is a very thorough description of what life is like for a person living with Tourettes Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ms. Wilensky begins her memoir with helpful definitions of both Tourettes Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She defines Tourettes as a "neurobiological based medical condition characterized by involuntary movements and involuntary sounds." She defines OCD as a "lifelong condition identified by two groups of symptom ...more
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobio
I loved this book...what a courageous story of a woman learning to live life with disabilities that would sideline most people
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing non-fiction piece by someone who lives with Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The reason I chose to read it was because I wanted to read about a female's experience living with OCD. It turns out that the parallels are amazing between the writer and myself. It was encouraging to read that I'm not the only one I know who obsesses over the silliest things or has to do one thing over and over until I am satisfied with it. I highly recommend this book to anyon ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Tourette's/OCD
If you're at all interested in OCD or Tourette's (the real thing not what tv shows it to be for ratings), please read this book. It was a very good read for myself since my husband has Tourette's and a less mild form of OCD than the author. It was interesting for me to see the similarities in how long it took to get a diagnosis, how long to consider treatment, what options were, etc. Very interesting and moving read. For me, it was probably much more of a clinical rather than emotional read, tho ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tells what it's like to live with Tourettes. Funny and thoughtful.
Kholee G.
Sebelumnya, saya ucapkan terima kasih kepada Perpus KALAM FT yang telah menyediakan bacaan yang amat berkualitas ini. Kemudian, saya juga meminta maaf kepada buku-buku yang lagi-lagi ditinggal mengantri demi membaca buku ini.

Baiklah, kita mulai sekarang.

Buku ini menceritakan bagaimana seorang Amy Wilensky hidup bersama-sama dengan sindrom Tourette dan OCD. Ngomong-ngomong, sindrom Tourette adalah salah satu jenis gangguan saraf, sementara OCD adalah salah satu jenis gangguan psikologi (bukan die
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amy did an excellent job of describing the symptoms and difficulties of Tourette's and OCD from an insider's perspective. It was odd because sometimes, I really felt connected with Amy as a person, and other times, I felt like she was lecturing me on technical things. I just didn't really seem to flow.
It's not a book I will buy, or ever read again, but I am glad I read it.

One more thing, I read another book by Amy Wilensky, another memior. It's called "The Weight of It" and it's about
This is an interesting but flawed memoir of one woman's experiences with OCD and Tourette's Syndrome. The stuff directly relating to her experiences with these poorly-understood disorders is excellent and well-written. The memoir suffers overall, though, from a lack of organization in speaking about her personal relationships, particularly with her husband, Ben. I was extremely confused about their relationship; she would go from mentioning their honeymoon in one paragraph, to talking about him ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a gift from my favorite neuroscience major and is the autobiography of Amy Wilensky . She first had symptoms of Tourette' s syndrome and then OCD at age 11 and was not diagnosed until in her early 20's . Apropos to the title , her story is about this genetic disease and her efforts to pass for normal but having no idea what was causing her tics and OCD . And rather than being supported by her family , her symptoms became the source of a schism with her dad, targets for her peers as ...more
Maurice Frank
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It came out when Tourette's had been linked to ADD but before they had all been linked to the autistic spectrum. As befits all those conditions, it exposes a traumatic impossibility of concentrating on homework, and a textural sensitivity of skin to the touch and pressure of fabrics that proves all dress codes a human rights violation. It's the book that represents Tourette's and OCD as experiences on their own, while fully bearing out their place in the spectrum: other books are more focused on ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
As a recollection of realizing her experience with Tourette's and OCD, this book was accurate.
As a "memoir" is was weak. She didn't experience even half of the judgement, criticism or harassment a few of the other characters did. She lived a privileged life, hardly the makings of a life that others can relate to.
Lastly, her accounts of interpersonal relationships was very lacking. No emotional struggles, no heartbreak, no loss. Friends whenever she wanted/needed them.
Vrinda Pendred
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a very good book, though hard to read at moments. I related so strongly to so much of it, I fought hard not to cry a lot of the time. I would give it 5 stars except I couldn't understand why she didn't divorce her husband and ditch her 'best friend', because they were disgusting about her conditions.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I chose this book because I am in the same boat. I also have TS and OCD (and some other fun stuff thrown in the mix). So I'm glad somebody wrote this book. Sometimes I related to her; sometimes I didn't. That's life. I love it that she put herself out there. It's something that's not easy to describe.
Anna Kļaviņa
A story of Amy who as a child had started to have Tourette’s syndrome and OCD, not knowing for years what is wrong with her, trying to hide herself and being made fun by peers and her well meaning father. The story concentrates on her struggle to live with these disorders and not much about her personal life and relationship is told what is fine by me.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, medical
Woman with OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourettes. I see some OCD in my father and my tendancies as a child which I conscientiously threw off in late adolescence. My friend Kathleen Colucci -Russell and I discussed how OCD is probably involved in compulsive overeating. Can't they give me a drug too?!
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting story about trying to live with Tourettes/OCD. The writer was not diagnosed until adulthood and worked out her own strategies for getting through life. Quite amazing really, she must be made of strong stuff! Inspiring.
Apr 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: yo-mind-is-bad
Out of the three books I finished over Spring Break 2010 this was the best one but it wasn't even that great.

Everyone is always talking about how they have OCD and they're lying. But not Amy Wilensky. She has that shit for real.

Ronya Misleh
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
In relation to the other memoirs I've read lately, this one was pretty interesting. Don't recommend if you are a hypochondirac/self diagnoser...she does a good job of throwing out "clues" to being OCD. It was fast paced and not overly clinical, which I appreciated.
Jayne Taylor
interesting as not something I knew much about, and it was easy to read. I will pass the book on, or donate it to charity rather than keeping it though.
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I felt as though I were reading my very story!
Suzanne Griffin
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent account of living with OCD & Tourette's . This book has given me a whole new understanding of a condition often not talked about.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-health
The author of this book suffers from Touretts and very severe OCD. She describes what its like to live with these conditions both before and after treatment. Very eye-opening.
Erica Hudson
I registered a book at!
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
After reading this, I don't think I have OCD :)
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Laura Burns
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Sarah Hetherington
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Apr 02, 2016
Ashley Gay
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Mar 02, 2015
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“Losing myself is so second nature to me by now that I'm always surprised when it's noticed by others.” 10 likes
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