Rose Bretécher has OCD, but not as you know it. Pure is the true story of her life with intensive sexual thoughts – a rampant but little-known symptom of the disorder. It tracks her farcical ten-year path to redemption, from the time she was first seized by graphic mental images to her eventual recovery through therapy, acceptance and love.
The book describes her obsessive questioning of her identity and her compulsive search for an answer: driving across the world in a bus; debating the erotic allure of Cherie and Tony Blair; watching Jake Gyllenhaal’s face turn into a chubby vagina… Eventually, after stepping back from the iron railings of a snow-swept balcony in East London, she finds joy in the inescapable truth that when it comes to who we are, there are no neat conclusions.
At its core, Pure is about uncertainty and insecurity, and how trying to banish these things in the pursuit of happiness will paradoxically make us unhappy. It’s about finding beauty in greyness, and embracing the unfathomable weirdness of the human mind.
No-one could have guessed that something was going to explode inside me. I was a happy child.
I was the youngest of four kids in a big, Catholic family, and there was always dressing-up and water-fights and conkering and Captain Haddock; orphaned pigeons to break our hearts over and trips to pat the pigs down Pig’s Lane. I remember the electric hush when we saw a wild deer in the Wyre forest, and the low buzz of Dad’s voice through his back when he carried me, even though I was a bit too big to be carried. I remember Mom’s hand reaching from the front seat to stroke the chubby little knee behind her. How she’d rearrange my saggy socks without looking.
I remember the thrill of naughtiness when my parents’ backs were turned – the daily acts of gleeful perversion: mixing cat poo poison in jam jars; singing Gregorian chants over dead mice; pulling faces at Father John at the ‘body of Christ’ bit. And I remember the bums – me and my older brother Pat were positively enraptured by bums. We made sourdough bums; we drew bums on frosted windows; we painted faces on our bums and made sumo bums with our swimming trunks. On rainy afternoons we’d huddle under the bed with the neighbours’ kids and sniff each other’s fingers after a diligent bum-scratch, adopting the mannerisms of the most sincere sommeliers and applauding the hints and top notes. It became a game. We called it Smell Bums.
Our biggest brother Ted knew very well that he could elicit shrieks of delight from his younger siblings by mooning out of a bedroom window on Easter morning, or spelling ‘ARSE’ on the scrabble board, or farting during mealtimes. How we’d roll with laughter at Dad’s disgruntled face and booming reprimands: ‘You’re a DRAAAIN, Ted, a true vulgarian’.
As many of you know, before I wrote Pure I wrote an article about my experiences in the Guardian in 2013. It was the first time my form of OCD had ever been aired in mainstream media.
When I later crowdfunded the book – which you all generously contributed to (thanks again) – I received an extremely generous donation from a stranger. It turned out that stranger was entrepreneur Aaron…
Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve just handed in my final manuscript, and the preceding six weeks were a wild-eyed blur of grubby tracksuit bottoms and matted hair and pasta-and-butter. But it’s done now.
Here are the vital statistics:
6 Neighbours references
A few people have asked when the thing’s going to be published.…
100% funded! YES! Thank you so, so much for your support. :) :)
Here's a little festive video message from me to you: http://vimeo.com/114869288
I'm doing a Twitter Q&A tomorrow (Friday) from 1pm about the experience of getting into print - including the writing process, finding an agent and a publisher, etc. Tweet your Qs to @unbounders with the hastag #womeninprint.
I'll pull some As from somewhere.
DISCLAIMER: I will be en route to the North at the time. Chiltern Wi-Fi, don't fail me now.
Extract from Pure.
I choose a world-renowned OCD therapist in New York. I’m due to have Skype sessions once a week for however long it takes. I don’t know whether it’ll be better than the other therapies I’ve experienced, endured, but I’ve gotta gamble. Things have never been more fucked. I am at the apex of fuckery and if I fall this time – I don’t know, I don’t know – je suis complètement…
I’m super delighted to now be over 70%. Endless thanks for helping me get here. Your pledges and well-wishes have meant a great deal.
Now I’m on the home straight, if you could do me a final fave and share my video link one last time with an accompanying nudge, that’d be a wonderful help: unbound.co.uk/books/pure. Pledges are scarce these days, so I'd be mega-grateful of any sweet-talk…
Me in Marie Claire this month.
I'm 28 now and I've had OCD for nearly half of my life. Sometimes I still rue the pain, but I am deeply grateful for the lessons it has taught me about the value of doubt. Overthinking is the malady of our generation, and as I've learnt, our attempts to control our thoughts are often self defeating. Seeking 'closure' isn't as productive as Hollywood…
I've reached 50%! Whoooo.
Thanks so much to you all for getting me here. Your support means ever such a lot to me.
Here are the outtakes from my video to celebrate this milestone: https://vimeo.com/101519514.
What IS this place? Who knows. But you've just bought access to it because you bought my book. Which means I adore you.
15% funded in 2.5 days. This is amazing. It's incendiary. And I am incredibly, inarticulably touched by your generosity and support.
Like so many things in life, these crowd-funding campaigns can get a little saggy in the middle. So…
These people are helping to fund Pure.