Category Archives: crissa-jean chappell
According to the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, over 35 million Americans will suffer with an anxiety disorder or depressive illness each year. Also, “OCD strikes about 1 in 40 adults and about 1 in 100 school-aged children.” Despite these statistics, only a few novels dare to approach the issue.
Crissa-Jean Chappell’s debut novel, Total Consant Order, tackles this issue deftly, in the story of Fin, who develops depression and OCD after the demise of her parent’s marriage. What enhances the novel is the author’s personal connection to the issue. She herself experienced depression and was treated with Paxil. Chappell takes a slow and steady route with the novel, and builds the anxious inner world of Fin carefully. We’re introduced to Thayer, an outsider, the only kindred spirit in Fin’s world, and who might be the only one who can truly understand her.
Chappell doesn’t go to extremes, aiming for maximum drama, and treating her novel as if it were a Lifetime movie. The prose is crisp and clean, with each word working to envoke a feeling from a reader. The novel balances Fin’s search for stability with her counting obsession with the search for relationship with her mother, and reconciling with the idea of her parents divorce. Fin’s reaction to Paxil comes as a crushing blow to her emotional and physical health, and the author writes realistically, channelling her own experience, and giving voice to a disorder that affects so many.
Total Constant Order is available in October 2007 from Harper Collins-Teen.