Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)
Family Illness is a realistic fictional piece of work written to give mature readers a sense of what it is like for someone to grow up afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Steve, the main character, suffers as a child in the 1980s, growing up in a secular Jewish household. He has lots of physical and verbal tics while in school but lives in fear that his secret living with a mental illness in a hostile world will be revealed.
As Steve grows up into a young adult, his illness plays tricks on him, making him question every moral aspect of his life. His fears intensify at the same time as he learns that a family member has OCD as well. This encourages Steve to fight back, but he wonders if he has lost too much of his life to the disease.
Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 5 out of 10
Character/Execution: 5 out of 10
Overall: 5.75 out of 10
Plot: Wechman’s plot is initially compelling and ambitious, but it is ultimately undersized and would benefit from a faster pace. Readers who like well-developed endings may be let down, and the storyline ultimately feels somewhat hollow.
Prose/Style: Wechman’s prose strikes an appropriate tone, but can be awkward and muddled. Forced and unnatural dialogue interferes with the narrative’s flow.
Originality: Family Illness is unique in its focus on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, the work quickly loses focus and never entirely finds its footing.
Character Development/Execution: The characters in Family Illness are noteworthy and have potential. Steve Goldberg’s voice is intriguing and impactful, but the supporting characters are not given adequate attention to develop into their own.
Date Submitted: June 26, 2021