Henry Goldblatt
September 17, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Devil in the Details

Current Status
In Season
Jennifer Traig
Little, Brown and Company

We gave it an A-

Jennifer Traig is exactly like Ellen DeGeneres. That is, if DeGeneres were a frizzy-haired, Old Testament-obsessed, anorexic, Jewish teenage girl with obsessive compulsive disorder. Traig’s touching, jocose (and, at times, long-winded) memoir, Devil in the Details, of her 1980s teen years in California is a wild ride: One chapter revs up with her carrot diet, veers straight into her high school’s connection to the movie Blood Sport, makes pit stops at sheep castration and the drama club before crashing straight into Gene Shalit. Traig deftly weaves her crippling battle with OCD with her search for religious identity: ”Sex, death, and impurity are the greatest hits on the OCD jukebox, and they are in heavy rotation in the Old Testament.” By treating her family with kid gloves and making jokes at her own expense — so refreshing in the confessional genre — Traig elicits plenty of sympathy for her devils.

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