Kate's Reviews > Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding

Dirty Secret by Jessie Sholl
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's review
Jun 25, 2011

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bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read from June 23 to 25, 2011

I was really excited to read this book, because while I enjoy the show Hoarders, fitting a whole lifetime of hoarding and its affect on a family can't really be done in an hour. The parts of the book where Sholl talks about her mother, their relationship, and the condition her mom's house and mind are by far the best parts. Not so much author's various health struggles and her need to call her Mom and Dad "my mom" and "my dad" all the time. Her anger at Mean Lesbian Neighbor and the unfortunate renter that sublets the author's NY apartment make it difficult to feel empathy for Sholl. At times she is a champion for hoarders, bringing attention to a problem that seems to be growing in our world and the mental illness behind it. But despite knowing her mom's history and current mental status, Sholl is often sharp tongued and impatient with her. Of course, I imagine it's a lot easier to have patience with a hoarder you don't know than the one that plants rubber snakes everywhere to freak you out and gives you scabies that just won't die. I admire Sholl for her honesty, hoarding isn't a mental illness that you can just take a little blue pill for and the author gives lots of information on hoarding behavior. I just wanted more about her mother's illness and struggle and less about repetitive motion strain and troubles with renters.
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