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Coming Clean: A Memoir Kindle Edition
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|Length: 274 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
In her narrative voice that felt like a conversation, she revealed how her home was not just an embarrassment that she had to keep secret, but that sometimes the house was festering with the detritus of the clutter until pipes burst, mold grew, rats proliferated throughout, and at one time, a homeless person was living in their attic, unbeknownst to them.
One side effect for the author was how socially isolated she was....and I felt such compassion as I read about how she found a way to role play the kind of person she wanted to be through acting, and even by emulating those whose behavior she wanted to incorporate into her own.
Health problems made it imperative for long term changes in the living conditions, but after cleaning up repeatedly over the years, moving her parents to new places, and even hiring people to clean....none of these actions solved the problem permanently. At that point, Miller began researching the condition of hoarding and learned a lot about the childhoods of those with the condition.
Now a successful writer and actress living in Manhattan, Miller describes honestly and with great understanding of herself and her parents the small changes that have occurred over the years...perhaps because she finally detached. She was also able to create her own nest and develop a relationship that was satisfying for her. One point she emphasized: no matter how frustrated and angry she occasionally got with her parents, she always loved them and knew that they loved her. In many ways, the bond between them grew despite the horrific events of their lives together. Five stars.
However, after reading this book I know that no one in my family is a true hoarder. The author, who grew up as the only child of a father who was a hoarder and a mother who enabled his hoarding describes a new house the family purchased that slowly, over the course of her adolescent years became unlivable. The boiler broke but her parents were too embarrassed to have someone in to see their filth so it was never repaired and they didn't have hot water. The kitchen was so dirty that they could not have fresh food because of all of the bugs and so only ate take out or food that was sealed. The pipes leaked and the floor developed a squishy texture of water and debris. Clearly, I do not know any hoarders. I know people who enjoy stuff. People a bit more like the author's mother who takes refuge during her depression in the thrill of online shopping. But not hoarders, who are willing sacrifice their health, their safety and the safety of their children to surround themselves in ever growing piles of stuff.
The thing that really impressed me about this book is that Miller managed to describe the horrors of growing up with her parents and the continued frustration of her father's mental illness, while at the same time making a very convincing case that her parents were caring and loving people who did the best job they could raising her. Miller does not try to villainize her parents.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes autobiographies as well as anyone who is interested in mental illness.
It was also enlightening to read about hoarding as a pathological condition since I've never really been exposed to it at that type of extreme. I had no idea people lived like that or struggled with hoarding in that way. I'd heard of the TV show Hoarders (which is not affiliated with the book in any way) but have never watched it.
One of the things I think she explains the best is the cycle that people get trapped in when they have struggles like this (think alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.). She describes the codependent cycle pretty much perfectly, and describes why it's so hard to break. You don't walk away from it blaming anyone or feeling sorry for anyone, just appreciating a family's story and the struggles they faced.
The other thing I love about it is that even though it's a very deep book, the topic itself isn't inherently disturbing so I feel really comfortable recommending it to people (as opposed to Etched in Sand or Another Forgotten Child, which focus on physical child abuse for example). It's a deep book, but it's also easy to read and relate to. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really interesting read. Well told story with a truly unique perspective.Published 1 day ago by Katie Vernon
I thought the author was very honest and fortcoming with her childhood. I'm glad to see tat she has broken the pattern.Published 4 days ago by Doreen Steiger
This is an extremely personal story. The author grew up in a boarder household and she tries to explain. I'm not sure any explanation would be sufficient.Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
What an emotional roller coaster for the young Kimberly to have survived. And literally survive because that is how bad things got in her home. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Cat L.
This was an interesting story, well told. I appreciated the balance between sharing the severity of her parents' problems and their consequences for the author, while also making... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amy
This is one of the most moving books I've ever read. There were times when I simply had to stop and let myself catch up.Published 10 days ago by Elizabeth Penny, Author
This was a tough one because it was both difficult to read and hard to put down. It's terrifying and sad but at times gratifying. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Kindle Customer
This is well written and an excellent read. I have to say this here, since the author does not go into too much detail, but whether intentional or not, I think this author suffered... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Somebody's Nurse
Although I have different childhood trauma,I could relate so much to this book. Finished it in 3 days and was hard to put it down. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Kelly Boyd