Senior Jake Martin is the school’s soccer star: he’s got the magic that pulls off win after win and keeps him at the center of the school’s in-crowd. But the magic means more to Jake than just winning on the field; his obsession with prime numbers and his increasingly complex daily rituals keep him focused, keep his family “safe,” and keep the spiders and their choking webs from taking over his mind. Jake’s third soccer state final championship is coming up on Saturday, and if everything goes perfectly by the numbers, he’s sure he’ll be free of the demons that plague him.
Heidi Ayarbe plunges the reader into Jake Martin’s obsessive compulsive world from the first page of Compuls1on. It’s a disjointed, fragmented, disturbing world that chokes both Jake and the reader with the omnipresent threat of both exposure and insanity. If Jake can’t control his mind by doing everything in a proper order at the precise moment of a prime number on clock, his life will surely spin out of control. Aside from his own OCD behaviors, Jake’s trying to compensate for his mother’s mental problems, his dad’s inability to recognize and deal with the family’s problems, and his own guilt over a traumatic event from his childhood. Compuls1on is confusing and unsettling, but ultimately that works to the novel’s benefit because the reader feels the raw anxiety that plagues Jake from moment to moment. Thankfully, at least for the reader, on page 303, it ends.
- Posted by Cori