Oxford Messed Up is a unique literary love story that transports readers on a meaningful and emotional journey where the academic world of Oxford, the music of Van Morrison, and an old claw-foot bathtub serve as a backdrop for learning, self-discovery, and transcendent love.
Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman is an academic superstar who has come to Oxford University to study feminist poetry. Yet the rigors of the academy pale in comparison to her untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, fueled by her overachieving parents and manifested in a deathly aversion to germs and human contact. Her next-door neighbor (who is also, to her mortification, her loo-mate) is Henry Young, the appealing but underachieving musician son of an overbearing and disapproving Oxford don.
Still mourning the death of his supportive mother while enduring the mockery of his disapproving and merciless father, Henry is haunted by the unexpectedly serious ramifications of a reckless and tragic youth. Gloria and Henry's relationship evolves from a shared obsession with Van Morrison's music into a desire on the part of each to fill in the gaps in the life of the other. Yet the constraints of a debilitating illness and the looming revelation of a catastrophic secret conspire to throw their worlds into upheaval and threaten the possibilities of their unlikely yet redemptive love.
Surprisingly, Henry's serendipitous plan had been working. And
again he found himself engineering yet another opportunity
to "accidentally run into" Gloria. It was the only way she would
spend time with him. True, they lived in the same flat at St. Cross
College. True, they were human and ostensibly both needed to eat
on occasion, outside of the dreaded refectory. And true, they were
both passionate about all things Van Morrison.
But patently and politely Gloria had refused Henry's many invitations to lunches, teas, dinners, pubs, clubs, concerts, and especially to listening to the extensive collection of Van Morrison vinyl he kept in his bedroom, only meters away from her bedroom. Underneath his sloppy good looks, dirty wrinkled rock T-shirts, and cocky dimpled smile, Henry was incredibly insecure. No matter how kind or gentle she was, Gloria's many rejections stung. And for some reason, like an idiot, he kept coming back for more.
His psychologist know-it-all ...
With 19 out of 20 reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars, Andrea Kayne Kaufman's Oxford Messed Up is a top pick among BookBrowse readers! Here's what they have to say:
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 (Pepper E). 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 (Beth C). Oxford Messed Up is a smart, compelling book (Amy M); it is believable, and keeps the reader's interest. I'm looking forward to more from this author (Karen B). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (1151 words).
In Andrea Kayne Kaufman's Oxford Messed Up, Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman (who has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and Henry Young (an underachieving, drug-addicted musician) become unlikely friends when they're forced to share a bathroom in the Oxford University dorms. Over time, these "loo-mates" learn that, despite their differences, they have some things in common - not the least of which is a shared obsession with the music of Van Morrison.
George Ivan Morrison (born August 31, 1945) hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He began his musical career as a young man in the 50s, playing cover songs with Irish show bands. His talent and fluency with numerous instruments - he plays the guitar, drums, keyboards, harmonica, saxophone,...
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