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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman

Title: Oxford Messed Up
Author: Andrea Kayne Kaufman
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Grant Place Press
Publish Date: November 17, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the PR. That did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You're a hopeless romantic.
  • You like books that offer a little of everything!
What's the Story?:

From "Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman has come to Oxford University to study feminist poetry. Yet the rigors of academia pale in comparison to her untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, fueled by her overachieving parents and manifested in a deathly aversion to germs and human contact. Her next-door neighbor (who is also, to her mortification, her loomate) is Henry Young, the appealing but underachieving English music student. Still mourning the death of his supportive mother while enduring the mockery of his disapproving and merciless father, Henry is haunted by the unexpectedly serious ramifications of a reckless and tragic youth. Gloria and Henry's relationship evolves from a shared obsession with Van Morrison's music into a desire to fill the gaps in each other’s lives. Yet the constraints of a debilitating illness and the looming revelation of a catastrophic secret conspire to throw their worlds into upheaval and threaten the possibilities of their unlikely yet redemptive love."

My Two Cents:

This book had a little of everything that I love in a book. There's a romance, a great setting, and fantastically real characters that you will fall in love with. There's a soundtrack (Van Morrison). There's fantastic writing (a sign of good writing to me is where I feel like I need to write down some quotes from the books and I definitely did with this one).

Another thing that I really like is characters who are flawed in some way. They seem more realistic and easier to relate to. I've never struggled with OCD like Gloria does and I've never been a former alcoholic and drug addict like Henry but I think their struggle to fall into love is something that any human can find some common ground with. Falling in love can be hard. It requires you to fully disclose where you're coming from and to lay your soul bare. When you are really and truly in love, you are at your most real and your most vulnerable all at the same time. Even if you really love a person, getting to that point is more than just a little difficult.

Also, admittedly, I love books about people who are damaged in some way. The two main characters, Henry and Gloria, are coming from very different points in their life. They are utterly compelling and fascinating. You will root for them to have a happy ending throughout the entire book. Your heart will ache for both of them. I was totally sucked in to both of their stories. They show how important it is to be able to love others for exactly who they are, no more and no less. They also show how important it is to be able to receive that love from another person with no hesitation. *happy sigh*

Bottom line: This is a great book about what it means to love wholly.

Notable Quotes:

- "You wouldn't be alone, Henry. You have Van Morrison and me," she said. Her eyes lit up, and she took his hand. "Although, he's the messiah. I'm not nearly as genius, only a minor co-Pope."
"But you're holding my hand," he said, interlacing her rough red fingers through his own.

- "I already told you, Gloria. I am telling you. Happiness. Grab on to it. Be defined by it. Choose it."


  1. Yea! I haven't seen many people read or review this one, but I also really enjoyed it. As you say, you really do root for them as a couple. I loved watching each of them grow stronger, but I also loves that Kaufman kept them human and vulnerable. Great review!

    1. I thought that Kaufman did a really good job of making the main characters struggle with things that all of us struggle with in a very real way. More need to read this book!

  2. Replies
    1. I definitely enjoyed the book and am happy I got a chance to read it!

  3. Aw, this sounds sweet but not in a bad way, lol!

  4. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.


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