Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Life 16: Love Letter to a Fiction

Natalie: "I am [your friend], Ambrose."
Ambrose: "No, you're a black widow, wooing men to their doom with your feminine wiles."
Mr. Monk: "You wooed? With your wiles? What are you doing waving your wiles around?"
--Mr. Monk on the Road

(I reeeeaaaallllly want the snowglobe and bobblehead that USA used to sell...they are so awesome. The only thing better would be getting my books autographed or getting a signed pic of the cast *swoon*.)

For anyone who knows me or reads this blog, it should come as no surprise that I am in love with the Monk series (book and television). Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out and Mr. Monk on the Road have been glaring at me from the book shelf since the latter came out in January, but schoolwork kept me from them. I finally got to read them over the last couple of days, and as usual, I was blown away. Couldn't put them down. It's hard to discuss plots of Monk books without accidentally giving too much away, so I'll leave that alone. However, I have to applaud Goldberg's depictions of anxiety disorders once again.

I've had a couple of conversations in online OCD groups about Monk, and the reviews are somewhat mixed. Most people I've asked like the show, but there are always a few who have issues. I've never understood why those few don't like Monk. Yes, he is slightly exaggerated at some points, but for crying out loud, it's a television universe. TV always exaggerates, even if just a little. What the Monk books and show manage to do is mystifying to me. OCD is never treated as a joke in itself (like Monica in Friends); there are characters here and there who consider Monk's issues to be a joke, but that's how it is. I can tell you from plenty of experience that a good number of people think OCD is not even a real disorder, that those of us who have it are simply looking for attention or are inflating our claims. Monk is as real a fictional character as I've seen in quite a while. His disorder does not disappear when he needs to catch the bad guy; in fact, it has prevented the catching of the bad guy in several instances. He gets better and worse depending on stress and situation, and that's definitely true. Almost better than the realistic OCD is the fact that he is not a saint. Television sometimes likes to paint those of us with mental disorders as innocent victims of circumstance who should have halos. Well, victims we may be on occasion, but innocent with halos? Definitely not. Monk has figurative warts (literal ones would obviously have to be removed immediately), and the show does not hesitate to show that he is not perfect or a saint. He's just a guy who happens to have OCD, albeit a much more severe case than many, and he's brilliant. I'm woman enough to admit that I miss him between books now that the series is over.

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