Sunday, January 30, 2011

Well, That Was Disappointing

I finished Howie Mandel's memoir today. As far as I can tell, it was marketed to the publisher as a book about Howie's fight about OCD and to Howie as a book about his career. There's an intro tacked onto the front about his OCD, but he barely mentions it in the book. Odd. I remember right before the book came out, he was in a fascinating segment on one of the primetime news shows (I think it was 20/20, I may even have blogged about it). Among other things, he revealed that he has a guest cottage behind his house where he stays when anyone in his family is sick, so his OCD is quite severe. At that time, the segment was a tie in to the book as well. Despite apparently having a therapist and taking medication, he doesn't seem to do much to improve the situation.

Anyway, the book was a quick read, and fairly interesting, despite the fact that I've never seen any of his stand up, and have watched a total of about 10 minutes of Deal or No Deal.

But considering that the book jacket claims that in the book "he reveals the details of his struggle with these challenging disorders" [he also has ADHD] and "speaks frankly and honestly about the ways his condition has affected his personal life," the book was a disappointment. It's called Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me for pete's sake! Total disconnect happened somewhere.


  1. Something about him always rubs me the wrong way - the fact that his own book, which was marketed as discussing his fight against OCD, but doesn't describe much of a fight at all, just reinforces my opinion.

    Like you mentioned, it seems odd to me that "despite apparently having a therapist and taking medication, he doesn't seem to do much to improve the situation." He seems to make a big to-do about his struggles that just seems to further the jokes and misconceptions. He is in a public position where he could make it known that there ARE treatments that work, that people DON'T have to live that way. Instead, he seems to take advantage of the label to further his publicity, without providing the hope and useful information that OCD CAN be battled and that there ARE treatments that work out there. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he really does suffer an extraordinary amount from his obsessions and compulsions, just as anyone with severe OCD would, but the fact that he uses the OCD label as part of his persona without spreading the message that there are ways to fight back, just frustrates me to no end.

    Anyways, glad to hear that his book was just as disappointing as I expected in terms of discussing (or rather not discussing) his OCD and his fight against it.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I read the book awhile ago too and was very disappointed that he barely spoke at all about his OCD and how it really affects him and his life. Though I do sometimes find Howie Mandel funny - I agree with Fellow - he is taking something very serious (OCD) and making fun of it in a way that dismisses the difficulty that sufferers face everyday. I wasn't impressed either.

  3. I actually loved the book, though I agree - it wasn't nearly as much about the OCD as it was about his career. What did stand out for me is how much he has been able to achieve in spite of it. Though, as you mention, it didn't seem he was into doing the work to get out of it...just sort of holding where he is. Perhaps that's the best he can do, though, so I can't judge him. For a while, my very best was just holding steady and not sinking deeper.