Remember when I counted all the f-bombs in Andrew Smith’s Winger? Gosh. That feels to me like a lifetime ago. But here I am once more, serving you some fanboy realness.
Adam Silvera’s latest novel History is All You Left Me handles its very serious subject matters with sensitivity I’ve grown accustomed to expecting from the author. It’s a surprisingly quiet, thoughtful exploration of friendship, grief, love, and loss. But another subject that is consistently woven in the narrative is the main character’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Like Griffin, I tend to obsess over things and act compulsively; I have, after all, a self-diagnosed OCPD. Unlike Griffin, I don’t get anxious over odd numbers. So join me as I break History is All You Left Me down by the numbers, puzzle piece by puzzle piece. Here, you’re welcome:
Griffin’s way of making himself feel that he’s in charge is through his compulsions: gravitating towards everyone’s left side; favoring even numbers; listening to a song on repeat (no, your LSS stands no chance against his two-week streak); and never getting on an airplane. These compulsions inevitably result to:
219: Even Counting
From waiting ‘til it’s 8:34 to giving examples in evens to counting pairs, our MC pretty much has everything on lockdown.
20: Griffin on the Left Scenarios
Did I mention Griffin doesn’t ride shotgun? Go figure. All these, however, don’t prevent:
16: Anxiety Attacks
Anxieties stemming from, well, being on someone’s right side (2), odd-numbered stuff (8), flying (1) (shh, no spoilers), and habitual uneasiness (5).
3: Times OCD is Called What it is
50: ‘History’ Word Count
Save for the title.
14: Puzzle Designs
This is all in possession of Theo, Griffin’s best friend and ex-boyfriend—minus one—and includes Pompeii, a Doomed Pirate Ship, a chained dragon, Empire State Building, and a 3D soccer ball, among others, which, oddly enough (pun not intended), are all mentioned in odd-numbered pages, excluding his sister Denise’s family of three turtles (p 264). Also? I probably used up my allowable usage of comma.
32: Instances Griffin is Shortened to Griff
The verbal analogy of ‘Griff’ and ‘grief’ is not lost on me.
4: Graffiti in Brooklyn
28: Times Condom is Mentioned
Because why not.
5: Moments Wade Got the Sentiments Right and the Words Wrong
“You don’t have to be a psychic to have seen this coming. Your chemistry was all over my face.” Uh…
1: #Beckminavidera Easter Egg (and in case you aren’t aware, this is the Frankenstein-monster name of Becky Albertalli, Jasmine Warga, David Arnold, and Adam Silvera)
0: More Happy Than Not Easter Egg
138: Nerdy/Pop Culture References
This is an Adam Silvera novel, duh. This includes—and bear with me because this is an absolutely intricate web—13 from the music industry (e.g., Katy Perry, Icona Pop, and The Postal Service), 27 from video gaming (those are 2 gaming stores, 7 console models, and 18 actual games, including 6 from Tetris, Theo’s favorite), 18 comic book characters (with a compelling argument why Ant-Man “was so emotionally and physically abusive”), 2 board games, 52 films and TV series (which cover E.T. to Frozen to Edward Scissorhands to Game of Thrones and out of which 10 are from Harry Potter, Griffin’s favorite, and 18 from Star Wars, Theo’s), and 26 general references (insert vampires and Instagram and crossbows and Netflix).
1: Times Griffin Wore a Black Suit
You’re wrong. It isn’t during Theo’s wake.
14: Today Chapters
A neat even number.
13: History Chapters
Not even. Also, one of my favorite numbers. Not that that’s relevant. Then again, none of this is relevant if you’re not going to pick up this vivid, heartrending novel.
So, tell me: do I win the Ultimate Fanboy Award or do I really win the Ultimate Fanboy Award?