Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dirty Little Secrets by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu

Lucy's mom is a hoarder.  After losing a friend who was disgusted by the house, Lucy has worked hard to keep to herself and make sure that no one else has ever come to her house.  She has tried to clean up the house over the years but her efforts always end with her mom being mad at her and quickly filling up any empty space with more things.  Lucy has resigned herself to her mom's sickness and is just trying to get through the next couple of years until she turns 18 and can move out like her older brother and sister.  But when she comes home one day to find that her mom has died, Lucy knows that their secret will be revealed if she calls the police.  Lucy feels shame about the shape of the house and scared about the names people will call her when they find out about the hoarding which will certainly be a huge news story.  She decides she can wait a day before calling for help and gets started trying to clean up enough to make the house presentable.  The narrative follows Lucy's cleaning efforts by the hour while revealing some stories from the past that show just how deep her mother's illness went.  With the show "Hoarders" on TV this will likely be a popular title.  But unlike the show this book takes you further into the mind of the hoarder and the effect on others in the family.  It takes you through the entire depths of the sickness doing more than just showing you the piles of things.  The story makes you uncomfortable and feeling as hopeless as Lucy (although she does manage to solve her problem so there's something of a "happy" ending).  An extremely well-done book!