The April NAMI Ramsey Book Club meeting featured guest author Jane O’Reilly and her middle grade book, the Notations Of Cooper Cameron.
This novel is written from the point of view of a very bright but troubled young boy, Cooper, who just completed 5th grade and lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His condition became apparent two years earlier around the time of his witnessing his beloved grandfather’s bizarre death. It is now two years after this traumatic death and the family is staying for the summer up at Grandpa Mill's old cabin.
The book club had a lively discussion with author Jane O’Reilly, who was inspired to craft Cooper as a character based on her older sister. Growing up, the author’s sister experienced OCD and grew up to be the editor of the Star Tribune Travel section for over 30 years, traveling all over the world. Originally intended to be a picture book, Jane O’Reilly’s novel was also inspired by an essay her sister wrote, entitled, “Fire Child,” that provided insight into her sister’s early childhood OCD experience that never fully left her.
Participants discussed having family members who live with mental illnesses, and many people could relate to the stress, worry, and care they feel when someone they love is exhibiting symptoms.
AUTHORS: Peter Jarnstrom & Debbi Gunsell
Peter serves as an advisor to the NAMI Ramsey County board and Debbi serves as a director. Debbi is also a member of the Book Club Planning Committee and hosted this month's discussion.