“Oxford Messed Up is more than a love story. It weaves a lot of information about Van Morrison’s music, an authentic look at Oxford life, and an informative and serious look at mental disorders and the power of love and proper treatment to overcome them, no matter how “messed up” a person may be, or what sort of dysfunctional background that person may have, into a story that both intrigues and informs. We all have our demons to overcome, after all, and we all need to believe in the power we have within us to fight those demons and win.”
Read the full review here: Seattle PI
This is a very special novel. It would translate beautifully to film. If that ever happened, I can guarantee it would be one I would watch over and over again. And to think it has its own amazing built in soundtrack. Absolute perfection.
Thank you, Andrea Kayne Kaufman, for showing people how debilitating mental diseases can be. For teaching people to understand that it’s not as easy as just turning it off. For helping readers realize that no matter our struggles we still have the power to choose happiness; to be fatally optimistic – to steal from Henry’s dissertation on Van Morrison.
Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman
Read the full review on BiblioJunkies.
A captivating story about a young woman with extreme OCD and her new loo-mate that triggers her anxiety in every possible way. They fall for each other over a mutual love of Van Morrison. I loved that this book took the heroine’s mental illness so seriously and did not condescendingly try to make the reader believe that falling in love was a cure for her daily struggles. Also, I learned to absolutely adore Van Morrison thanks to this author.
Oxford Messed Up Named in Top 10 of 2014 on BiblioJunkies
Read the full review on BiblioJunkies.
“The heroine of Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman also struggles with obsessions and compulsions. Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman has lived a life of diligence and perfectionism in her academic pursuits, but it’s taken a toll on her mental health. She’s deathly afraid of germs and scrubs her hands until they’re raw. She feels like an outcast until she meets Henry Young, another damaged soul.
Hoarding, Hand-washing, and Hallucinations: The Most Lovable Neurotic Heroines in Romance
Read the full article here: HeroesandHeartbreakers.com
“Oxford Messed Up, the brilliant debut novel of Andrea Kayne Kaufman about two troubled Oxford University graduate students that sensitively addresses Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the healing power of music. Well drawn characters Gloria Zimmerman and Henry Young are instantly likeable and realistic. The book is set against the nearly audible strains of the haunting, evocative and steadfastly upbeat Celtic poetic genius Van Morrison. It’s a must read. –Linda Hitchcock (Review Crew).”
Top Reads In 2012 Selected By BookTrib Staff, Contributors and Members
Read the full article here: Top Reads of 2012
BookTrib, The All-You-Can-Eat Literary Buffet
Biblioracle John Warner is the author of “Funny Man.” He offers his recommendations to readers based on their interests. Oxford Messed Up is mentioned here as a #1 reader pick. This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to Printers Row members with the Sunday Chicago Tribune.
Read the full article here: Biblioracle: The big box conundrum
“For 16 years the Independent Publisher Book Awards have been conducted annually to honor the year’s best independently published titles. The “IPPY” Awards reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.”
Best Adult Fiction E-Book Gold Medal: Oxford Messed Up, by Andrea Kayne Kaufman (Grant Place Press)
See the full list of award winners here: 2012 IPPY Awards
Independent Publisher Book Awards
“This is one of those rare works that makes one head straight to the computer to send emails to all reading friends proclaiming “you must read this book.” Kaufman, an Associate Professor at DePaul University, has written a brilliant debut novel about a young American Oxford University student who suffers from extreme, untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”
Daughters of the American Revolution Kentucky Society
Read the full review here: KSDAR
“Not only does it work, but it also doesn’t feel forced in terms of the writing or characterization. Gloria isn’t magically cured by the end of the book, and Henry slips and has to have a sit down with his AA sponsor. Too often, addictions or illnesses are treated as plot devices that are tied up once the couple is in love or the family is happy or whatever other happy denouement the author employs. Instead, Henry and Gloria are like the tupelo blossoms in one of their favorite songs, blossoms whose “vulnerability and short blossoming season made it a fucking miracle anytime one survived.” Survive they do, and though this book has a “happy” ending, it also comes with the understanding that this couple is real. Just as tupelo honey is the triumph of the tupelo’s survival, so too do Henry and Gloria have to survive to taste the sweetness of a life together, a life for which they will continue to work – individually and as a couple. Read this if you want a bit of smart romance.”
Read the full review here: Independent Publisher
“A beautifully written and compelling love story about two messed up people who help each other face and overcome their demons. Set in Oxford, and replete with references to a music they both love, the story gives a window into the mind of a woman, Gloria, who is suffering severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. We see her internal thoughts—her critical, perfectionistic, sometimes grandiose, and always germ-phobic thoughts—as well as the compulsive behaviors they lead to. We come intimately to know what it must feel like to have these struggles. Will the illness win or will Henry? Henry has his own problems: a recovering addict, he has no goals and little self-esteem. As their relationship grows, Gloria becomes messier and Henry less messy. Oxford Messed Up shows nothing less than the redemptive power of love.”
Author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness and winner of the MacArthur Genius Grant
Please see recent New York Times article about MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Elyn Saks: Memoir About Schizophrenia Spurs Others to Come Forward
The Next Generation Indie Book Awards honors indie authors and independent publishers through an international competition. It was established “to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books.”
Finalist in 3 fiction categories, 2012: Oxford Messed Up, by Andrea Kayne Kaufman (Grant Place Press)
The compete list of 2012 Winners and Finalists is here: 2012 Indie Book Awards
“Can you write it in a way that is compelling, that sheds some understanding on what Gloria’s inner world/voice must be like? Can love overcome all those challenges? Well, yes, you can write the interesting love story, and yes, it is compelling. Love alone does not quite overcome all the challenges but it helps. So does Gloria’s inner strength supported by the possibility of both love and a life and the idea that she could help Henry find that same strength in himself. Ready to reread it!
See the full review here: More Book Reviews and Summer Reading Begins
It was great to find Oxford Messed Up and so refreshing to see a novel where OCD is represented realistically in such a likable character as Gloria.
PhD, author of No Ordinary Doubt: the social and linguistic construction of OCD, forthcoming from New York University Press
“The beauty of Kaufman’s “Oxford Messed Up” lies in the multi-dimensional characters that are both rich and real, a narrative that soars in its simplicity and plunges into immense emotional depth at the same time, and prose that is beautifully crafted. What really, and absolutely, blows your mind is the way in which Andrea Kayne Kaufman explores the human spirit so beautifully, approaches the subject of mental health with such sensitivity and such intricacy, and creates her characters with such intimacy that you cannot help but become invested in their relationship, and attached to them. This is an absolutely brilliant novel, especially for a debut, and one I believe should become part of our curriculum, at least for students of Psychology – the kind of novel that generations down the road will read, seeking comfort in its characters. I wanted to kiss the hands that wrote this novel – I still might, if I ever am lucky enough to meet it’s author (it’s okay, Andrea, I’ll bring the hand sanitizer!). As a voracious reader, and an absolute worshiper of literature, I’m constantly searching for books that are life-changing – I assure you, “Oxford Messed Up” is just that kind of novel. I hope you will pick up this book, and I hope that it will leave you with as much joy and elation as it bestowed upon me.
The Chronicles of an Enamored Soul
Read the full review here: Oxford Messed Up – Love in the time of OCD
“I loved every single thing about this book… What they do have in common is Van Morrision. His words and wisdom are so interwoven through this story, that I had to stop in the middle and purchase and download his greatest hits album… This is a love story. It is a story of rising above our own personal demons. It is a fascinating look at OCD. It would make a wonderful movie.”
Read the full review here: Book Review: Oxford Messed Up
“In her first novel, Andrea Kayne Kaufman asks whether each of us, messed up in our own way, can choose to embrace happiness. Her protagonists, Gloria and Henry, both Oxford graduate students, explore mental health and creativity through their work and in their relationship. Van Morrison’s lyrics provide a backdrop for this narrative, which is more than a love story — it is a study of fatalistic optimism. I couldn’t put this book down because Kaufman makes you care deeply about the individual journeys of her two protagonists.”
Dean & Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Finally, a story that shows how powerful Cognitive Behavior Therapy really is, and a protagonist who is so much more than her OCD. You will root for Kaufman’s characters because of their beautifully realized humanity, while you gain understanding of the constant undercurrent of noise in the mind of anyone who has OCD. This book accurately and finally portrays the recovery that is possible when OCD is treated correctly. Thank you, Andrea Kayne Kaufman, on behalf of all of us who struggle with anxiety, and on behalf of all of us searching for healing, growth and a beautiful love story!”
Co-Founder and Honorary Chair, OCD Chicago
OCD Chicago has endorsed Oxford Messed Up. Read the full press release: OCD Chicago Joins Oxford Messed Up Book Launch
“I gulped down “Oxford Messed Up” as if parched; swallowing words, concepts, imagery, poetry, and song lyrics whole in a swiftly moving film traversing my mind’s eye. I will soon return to reread this exquisitely crafted novel and to savor it at a more befitting pace. It is one of those rare works that makes one head straight to the computer to send emails to all reading friends proclaiming “you must read this book”.
Linda Hitchcock is a native Virginian who relocated to rural Kentucky. She is a voracious reader and involved in many community activities.
Read the full review here: Book Trib: The All-You-Can-Eat-Literary Buffet
“Oxford Messed Up is the story of two highly original characters destined to be together. I enjoyed the unique personality of Gloria, who attempts to rise above OCD; and Henry, trying to overcome the chains of remorse from a demonized past. They share a bathroom and a devotion to Van Morrison, and they believe in each other when paralyzed by their own self-doubt. I loved this book. Andrea Kaufman does a marvelous job creating characters with major personality flaws and turns them into people with heart and substance… I especially enjoyed the intellectual aspects of the book as Gloria writes and comments about her women poets and she collaborates with Henry regarding the poetry/music of Van Morrison. For me, the book worked on many levels, and I was truly pleased with the results. Oxford Messed Up is a smart, compelling book ; it is believable, and keeps the reader’s interest. I’m looking forward to more from this author.”
BookBrowse Consensus Review
Read the full review here: The BookBrowse Consensus Review
“I recommend Oxford Messed Up for its improvisational dialogue both internal and external, for an inside look at the OCD thought process while facing fears, for the importance of hope, and of “fatalistic optimism” (as the characters describe the music of Van Morrison).
Read the full review here: Exposing OCD
“You will root for Henry and Gloria, suffer with them through their setbacks and celebrate their victories. Andrea Kayne Kaufman is to be commended for writing such a compelling and inspiring first novel.”
Read the full review here: blog critics
“Henry and Gloria each have their quirks, but I just couldn’t help but love both of them. I really enjoyed this debut novel and recommend it highly.”
Life in Progress
Read the full review here: Life in Progress
“The two help each other – Henry helps Gloria with her disorder, and Gloria helps Henry to be more focused with the study. The reader experiences a beautiful love unfolding between Gloria and Henry. The book also gives great insights into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. “
Read the full article and review of Oxford Messed Up here: The Invisible Mentor
15 Books for 2012 Summer Reading, The Invisible Mentor
“I loved, loved this book. Special needs twist or not, honestly. I didn’t put this book down. I liked that I learned more about ODC and the music of Van Morrison for sure, but I most enjoyed the love story. I loved Gloria and Henry’s resilience because we all have that inside of us and it’s a great reminder for me each day, especially today.”
Read the full review here: Support For Special Needs
“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).”
Meg, @ A Bookish Affair
Read the full review here: Review: Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman
“Oxford Messed Up is not just your typical romance read. It tackles real life. It points out the things we chose to ignore in our society. This book is one great read you wouldn’t want to miss if you’re looking for something real.”
Journey with Books
Spoiler Alert! Read the full review here: Journey with Books
“This novel combines my love of music and poetry…Andrea Kayne Kaufman convinces me that the music of Van Morrison contains a poetic quality and scholarly value.”
Reviewer for Lunch.com
Read the full review here: Lunch.com
“Love is…dirty. And when you’re obsessive compulsive and steering clear of dirt is part of who you are, then love is out of the question.”
Jenn, aka the picky girl
Author of thepickygirl blog
Read the full review here: thepickygirl Reviews Oxford Messed Up
“Experts on OCD have raved about Kaufman’s sensitive and accurate portrayal of the condition as viewed from the inside. But readers of all stripes will appreciate Oxford Messed Up for its unique take on what it means to love another human being, warts and all, and for its profound message of hopefulness.”
Kimberly Caldwell @ Joseph’s Reviews
Read the full review here: Joseph’s Reviews
“[Oxford Messed Up] is being applauded by the OCD community for what they say is an accurate depiction of the problem… It’s a great love story, but I also think it will help a lot of people at the same time. “
Emmy award-winning journalist, co-anchor WGN Chicago Midday News
See the full interview here: Andrea Kayne Kaufman on WGN Midday News
“Oxford Messed Up: A Novel by Andrea Kaufman has been getting a lot of buzz in the publishing trade.”
Joseph’s Reviews is a site where new reviews are posted almost every single day.
Read the full story here: Joseph’s Reviews
“I haven’t enjoyed a book set in Oxford more and also I think this story would make a great film and the soundtrack album would be amazing. As soon as I finished reading the book I put on Brand New Day by Miriam Makeba which is my favourite cover version of a Van Morrison song.Van fans will love this book and i urge you to read it.“
Pat @ Visions of Pat
See the full review here: Visions of Pat
“I encourage you to pick up Oxford Messed Up, not simply because of its sincere representation of something so commonly misunderstood but because it isn’t about that at all. It’s a love story where one of the characters has OCD.”
Producer, Comedian, Writer
See the full article here: That’s So Gay
“A moving and poignant tale about two messed up people trying to find true love against a back drop of dead women poets and Van Morrison’s optimistically enchanting music. The book is a literary feast for anyone looking for a contemporary literary fiction.”
Read the full review here: ebooksereadersstore.com
“Oxford Messed Up” is a novel following Rhodes scholar Gloria Zimmerman as he academic interests clash with one Henry Young as roommates and the friendship and something more that follow. Both face a rough past left behind them, and through their kinship they may find the power to overcome. “Oxford Messed Up” is a strong pick for general fiction collections, highly recommended.“
See the full review here: Midwest Book Review
Winning an IPPY award for Oxford Messed Up was a great honor! My writing/publishing New Year’s resolutions were featured, here.
2012 IPPY Winners Share Their Secrets
“I recommend this book to those who love a good and sweet romance that has that depth which makes you believe that you could always choose happiness despite all the sad and bad things that happens in life.”
Read the full review here: Journey With Books
“Andrea Kayne Kaufman’s debut novel, Oxford Messed Up, represents a milestone in the fictional portrayal of people with OCD.”
OCD Chicago co-founder
Read her full quote here: Oxford Messed Up on Answers for Special Kids
“Anyone who likes a good love story and who delights in seeing characters overcome great obstacles will enjoy this novel. The book could inspire readers who happen to have OCD and inform others about the disorder. I love how the story intertwines with Morrison’s music and women’s poetry. There are many metaphorical layers in the story that enrich it.”
Tina Fariss Barbour
Tina Fariss Barbour is a newspaper reporter from Virginia who has had OCD since childhood.
Read the full review here: Bringing Along OCD
“Oxford Messed Up is about Gloria Zimmerman, a 23 year old woman who moves from Chicago to study feminist poetry at Oxford University. Once at Oxford, Gloria meets Henry, a music student whom she shares a bathroom with. Along the way, Gloria struggles with overcoming her serious Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and develops a loving relationship with Henry. The book intertwines love, poetry, the music of Van Morrison and emotional disorders in a beautiful and eloquent way. I spent all weekend reading the novel and it was absolutely incredible.”
Read Jillian’s blog here: Jillian Nolke writes about Oxford Messed Up.
““I have been a therapist for twenty five years and was intrigued by the topic of OCD and Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the description of this book. I loved how this book was written. It is a love story and like all interesting love stories the lovers must have an obstacle to overcome. Enter OCD and other psychological and medical problems. Mental and emotional disorders are never cured by crafty techniques but rather by relationship. It might be the relationship of therapist to patient or as in this story the healing power of a love relationship. Relationship cures. What a beautiful message contained in a beautiful story of two very flawed Oxford students who grow and flourish by loving each other.”
To read the full review and others, click here: Bookbrowse.com
“I’m so excited about Oxford Messed Up. Andrea Kayne Kaufman masterfully depicts the struggles of an individual with severe perfectionism and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It’s the first portrayal in a work of fiction or movie or television that was able to bring to life the internal struggle of people with OCD. A unique part of this book is that you get to understand Gloria’s thoughts and anxiety. Anyone facing anxiety will find hope and humor in her story.”
Chicago Cognitive Behavior Treatment Center
“Andrea Kayne Kaufman is a talented author who writes with the insight of a therapist and the words of a poet. Oxford Messed Up is a compelling, beautifully written, witty, literate love story about two people who help each other to overcome each’s protective prison of loneliness, face past demons, and together, start what Van Morrison refers to as a ‘Brand New Day.’ As the reader, you come to care deeply about all the characters in the book as it is easy to identify with the psychological struggles each faces. Oxford Messed Up can be shelved under Psychology or Literature; its portrayal of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and recovery is uncannily accurate and research based. The psychological trajectory and growth of Gloria and Henry will make you read and re-read this book many times over. Whether you’ve suffered from OCD, struggled with recovery issues, lost a parent, felt alone, or fallen in love, this is a book that will resonate and stay with you.”
Dr. Jeannie R. Aschkenasy
Board Certified Clinical Psychologist on the faculty of Rush University Medical Center
Gloria, from Oxford Messed Up, is mentioned on the OASIS: Oxfordshire Autistic Society site in the same company as David Beckham and a Stephen King character in reference to examples of OCD behaviors.
The most important part of her ritual was cleaning the toilet. In order to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, it had to be done with absolute thoroughness and precision. Cleaning the toilet was a test of her competence… and the precept of staying in control. - Andrea Kayne Kaufman, ‘Oxford Messed Up.’
Oasis Oxfordshire Autistic Society
Read more here: Oasis