Just Checking by Emily Colas

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Just Checking by Emily ColasJust Checking: Scenes from the life of an obsessive-compulsive
Pocket Books (1998)
165 pages
Biography/Mental Health

Summary: Emily Colas – young, intelligent, well-educated wife and mother of two – had a secret that was getting in the way of certain activities. Like touching people. Having a normal relationship with her husband. Socializing. Getting a job. Eating out. Like leaving the house. Soon there was no interval in Colas’ life when she was not just checking.

I picked this book up used because someone I know has troubles with being obsessive and compulsive (not me) and I wanted to see what it might be like from their point of view. I found this book intriguing and yet I also felt sorry that this woman was going through this and found everything I do daily to be so hard. Part of me wanted to say “suck it up, it’s no big deal” but deep down I knew it was not that simple or she wouldn’t be having so much trouble.

The book is told in little tiny stories, sometimes 2 to a page. This makes it easier to read anywhere at anytime because you can stop easily.


“Now that I was scamming my husband into believing I was better, I had to go out on a date with him. The first thing I had to do was to find a sitter. I picked our neighbor who had baked us cookies when we first moved in. She was happy to oblige. But there was still a problem. I didn’t want her in my house touching my things or using my bathroom. What if she cut herself and got blood all over? What if she had a sexually transmitted disease and got it on my toilet seat? […] Right before she came over, I put markers all around the house so that I could monitor her comings and goings. I took all the knives and sharp instruments and put them in a drawer. Then I closed the drawer and sealed it with a piece of masking tape. That way if she got into the drawer I’d know since the seal would be broken. Next I went into the bathroom. I tore the corners off the end piece of toilet paper. If she went to the bathroom, I’d know since the tears in the sheet would be different. But what if she didn’t wipe? Then I wouldn’t know. I had an idea. I put a small piece of blue string in the bowl and that way, when she finished, it would be gone and I’d know of her presence in that room. If she didn’t flush, the string would be green.”

If someone in your life has OCD you will want to read this book to get an idea of why they can’t just ignore things, what goes on through their minds. It’s eye opening.

About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.