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By Laurie Gough

“…a book that belongs among the classics of parenting.” Michael Shermer, American science writer, columnist for Scientific American, founder of Skeptic, author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and The Moral Arc

stolen child cover

A year in the desperate life of a boy transformed from a regular, bright ten-year-old into a stranger in his own skin.

“Dear Dr. Jabour,

My husband and I are desperate for help. Our ten-year-old son has developed severe obsessive compulsive disorder. It began mildly in the spring but in the past couple of months it has ramped up alarmingly. He can no longer function at school, or even get to school since he can no longer walk or ride his bike there without getting stuck on the way. He is continually falling into trances where we can’t reach him and is obsessed with the notion that his dead grandpa will come back to life. He performs ever-changing rituals that he believes will bring his grandpa back, despite how many times we’ve told him that nobody comes back from the dead. A short time ago, he was a regular, bright, happy-go-lucky kid who climbed trees, rode a unicycle, played soccer, got A’s in school, and loved discussing cars. Now he wants to die. This is a child so wracked with anxiety and strange behaviour that we barely recognize him. We want our son back. Can you help us? We live in Quebec but are willing to come to Los Angeles for treatment.”


“This moving story is highly recommended as a beacon of hope.” ~Publishers Weekly (full review) 

“What do you do when your child is stricken down with a disorder whose cure is not at all certain? If you are a rational skeptic like Laurie Gough you research everything ever written on the disorder and apply the methods of science and reason to solve the problem, without resort to superstition or the supernatural. Stolen Child is beautifully written and emotionally evocative, but it is not just about OCD. It is about the power of reason…and love…to overcome adversity, a book that belongs among the classics of parenting.” ~Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and The Moral Arc

“This book is an outstretched hand. A gift to anyone who has sought to understand the mysterious nature of OCD and its isolating, bewildering consequences. This is a tale of tenderness and devotion, a portrait of the importance of community, and a story of surprising, unexpected, light.” ~Alison Wearing, author of Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter and Honeymoon in Purdah

“Gough’s straight ahead style is seductive. She draws you in. You stay in.” ~Brian Doyle,author of Angel Square and Up to Low

“People use the term `OCD’ casually, often with a snicker. But Stolen Child demonstrates beautifully the devastation that the disease can bring, and the love that a family brings to fight it. It’s a heartfelt story of a family transformed by OCD, told with compassion and honesty.”  ~Jim Davies, cognitive scientist and author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One With the Universe


Dundurn, Fall 2016


Video from Macleans Article


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