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Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae…
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Coming Clean: A Memoir

by Kimberly Rae Miller

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2892038,912 (3.77)3
  1. 00
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (Deesirings)
    Deesirings: Both these memoirs of childhood are about parents with severe limitations, difficulties, mental illnesses, with the authors nonetheless feeling loved by them.
  2. 00
    Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head by Jen Larsen (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: In both memoirs, young female writers overcome painful situations to find love and success.
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Author Kimberly Rae Miller was raised by two loving parents, one of whom is a hoarder, and the other who has, at times, been a compulsive shopper. This memoir tells Ms. Miller’s story through vivid anecdotes that really bring the reader as much into her world as possible, without dwelling so much on the details that shows like ‘Hoarders’ love to emphasize (cat carcasses, anyone?). Yes, she is clear on what she means by hoarding, and yes, sometimes the descriptions are enough to make one maybe not want to eat during those paragraphs, but in reality Ms. Miller is telling a very thoughtful story about the complicated but devoted relationship she maintains with her parents.

Ms. Miller was a shy child who tried to keep the reality of her father’s hoarding from the rest of the world. She began acting as a way to take on another personality in the hopes of figuring out how she could navigate the world. She shares stories of the time child protective services came, not because of the hoarding, but because of a lie she told, and the terror her parents felt because they knew she’d be taken away if CPS saw their home. She talks about the multiple surgeries her mother had, and how after each one the family faced more challenges. She talks about her nightmares and her need for her own place that is clean and under her control.

I really enjoyed this book. I think Ms. Miller’s writing style was vivid enough to create a mental picture in the reader’s mind without resorting to the type of sensationalism that a lesser editor might demand. She was allowed to tell her story, which is largely shaped by her experience with her parents and the hoarding, yes, but that isn’t everything about her. Ultimately I found this book to be about family, and how people do the best they can with what they have. After reading this book I find myself feeling affection towards Ms. Miller’s parents, and admiration for Ms. Miller’s ability to share her story in such a gracious way. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
Thanks to Hoarders we all know about hoarding, and most of us have a visceral reaction to it. Miller lived through it, growing up with two hoarding parents. Her farther was the main hoarder, but after a failed operation left her bedridden, Miller's mother developed a shopping habit. As a teenager Miller lived in a home with no heat and water, where she couldn't shower, flush the toilet, or cook. There was a layer of swampy sludge on the floor. As a college student Miller attempted suicide. As an adult she becomes a compulsive cleaner.

This memoir is a stark account of the human cost of hoarding. It's hard not to feel badly for Miller. As an adult, however, Miller becomes an enabler. She regularly cleans her parents' house. When they move, they whine until she agrees to pack and clean for them. I was never clear on how Miller's parents had enough money to sustain their hoarding: her father is a school bus driver, her mother is disabled. In addition to the constant shopping, they eat out because they can't cook at home, they buy new clothes because they can't use their washing machine. I was fascinated by how one could finance such a habit on small salaries. Miller certainly has plenty on her plate. She's her parents' only child. There's no resolution to this memoir. By the end Miller's parents haven't sought help. I really feel for her, but she really has to stop cleaning her parents' house. ( )
  lahochstetler | Dec 30, 2016 |
At first wasn't sure, but ended up really enjoying this book. Amazing that she survived her childhood and still has compassion for her parents. Miller personality changed from introvert to extrovert as she grew up. she survived and tells her story with a lot of humor. ( )
  bogopea | Jan 28, 2016 |
The author tells of growing up with her hoarder parents on the south shore of long island. ( )
  lilibrarian | Oct 5, 2015 |
Sometimes our house is cluttered with toys, sports equipment, mail and newspapers, dirty dishes, laundry, etc. I tend to get tense and stressed until everything gets put away and taken care of. This kind of clutter is nothing compared to the kind of clutter, filth, and horrendous conditions that Miller grew up in. Miller's father was a lover of all papers and electronics (working or not) and would pile them up into all corners of the house from floor to ceiling. After a difficult surgery, her mother was confined to bed and became a compulsive shopper, often times never even opening the boxes of merchandise that was constantly being delivered to their home. In COMING CLEAN, Miller recounts her childhood growing up being ashamed to live in squalor.

I found her story fascinating, riveting, and heart breaking. Her childhood of never having sleepovers, not being able to sit on furniture or even the floor, and yet having parents who loved and supported her were such oxymorons.

"Every night before I went to sleep, I would conjure the image
of the actor George Burns in my head and ask him for the things I wanted most in life:
new dolls, a best friend, and for my house to burn down." Page 36

As an adult, Miller believes that each time she cleans her parents' house out, it will stay clean...until the next time. She constantly feels like she can fix her parents and becomes physically and psychology exhausted and overwhelmed. As a reader you want to scream at her for constantly going back and yet understand her desire to care for her parents and their needs. Reading this book will make you look at the clutter in your home in a whole new way. ( )
  Staciele | Jan 28, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544025830, Hardcover)

Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a beautifully tidy apartment in Brooklyn. You would never guess that behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house hid teetering stacks of aging newspaper, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room — the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding.

In this dazzling memoir, Kim brings to life her experience of growing up in a rat-infested home, hiding her father’s shameful secret from friends for years, and of the emotional burden that ultimately led to her suicide attempt. And in beautiful prose, Miller sheds light on her complicated yet loving relationship with her parents that has thrived in spite of the odds.

Coming Clean is a story about recognizing where you come from and understanding the relationships that define you. It is also a powerful story of recovery and redemption.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:37 -0400)

The writer and actress explore her childhood and youth, which was largely defined by her father's struggle with hoarding.

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