by Kimberly Rae Miller
2 stars - fluff
ALR Yellow - Brief, yet disturbing mentions of various pets
Coming Clean is Kimberly Rae Miller's autobiographical sketch of growing up with parents who are hoarders.
This review would have been much more scathing had I written it after reading the first half of the book, but by the end I had mellowed a bit.
Too bad Ms. Miller didn't wait about 20 years when time would have, hopefully, given her the opportunity to take a bigger view of things. The book is painfully self absorbed and her parents come through as shadow figures lacking depth and character. From a literary perspective, the prose is as compelling as the supermarket checkout robot "move your.... bananas... to the belt."
I have to assume that Ms. Miller is no dummy (heck, she told the reader she has an IQ of 138 on page 10, a fact that added no value). But she managed to take what must have been horrific conditions during her childhood and provide no more insight than the reality TV shows that she (rightfully so) disparages.
What a missed opportunity to discuss the challenges of mental health issues and to provide readers with some of the wisdom she gleaned regarding hoarding behavior and the underlying causes.
I couldn't help but feel sorry for her parents. They seem like loving people who've had a lot to deal with. Well, now they've got exposure in the media to deal with as well. Good luck with that.
There's a reason organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon hold anonymity as one of their highest values. Here's a quote from an article in The Telegraph
... the antidote to shame is not necessarily incontinent openness – just as the remedy for constipation isn't diarrhoea.
There's a difference between sharing important information to help folks understand mental health issues and throwing innocents under the bus in order to fulfill your own need for public catharsis.
On a more minor note, people, please, it's The Boston Common, not The Boston Commons. There's only one and every time I see or hear it referred to in the plural it's like fingernails on a chalkboard.