Kimberly Rae Miller's memoir, Coming Clean has popped up on several must-read lists. I'm currently taking a personal essay writing class and memoirs have been on my pleasure reading radar, so when Miller's memoir went on sale , I took the opportunity to purchase it.
PLOT- Kimberly Rae Miller grew up in the 1980's in New York, as the only child to loving and supportive parents, who also happened to be hoarders. Their hoarding problems went in cycles, where they would start to clean up their act, but soon slide back into old habits.
At one point they lost everything, including many pets, when an electrical fire destroyed their house. They lived in constant fear of nosy neighbors and the potential for child protective services to tear apart their family. At one point, their home was so overwhelmed with stuff, that they stopped maintaining it and had plumbing issues that forced them to join a gym to shower. As she transitioned to adulthood, Miller struggled with trying to help her parents and her need to move forward with her own life. She found that the trauma she suffered as a child of hoarders stayed with her.
LIKE- Miller's memoir is a force. I was amazed by her brutal honesty regarding her family and the way she grew up. It's often cringe worthy and although clearly she loves her parents, she exposes their issues. I imagine that this was a very cathartic memoir for her to write. I related to her being an only child and needing to be the one to step up and take care of her parents, when they couldn't take care of themselves. I cannot relate to the hoarding, thank goodness! She mentions her sadness at people watching shows like Hoarders for entertainment value and being judgmental. I guarantee if you read Rae's memoir, you'll never look at an episode of Hoarders the same way again. She's right though, there is a curiosity and disgust towards hoarders, however Miller does a keen job at balancing the "OMG" moments with the human emotions of a family that loves each other and is bonded.
DISLIKE- Nothing. Miller allows us a fascinating look at her family and is a likable protagonist. I found myself rooting for both her and her parents to succeed.
RECOMMEND- 100%,! Coming Clean is a must-read memoir. It's throughly fascinating and filled with drama. It's a page-turner that I couldn't put down.