Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

Coming CleanComing Clean: A MemoirComing Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller by Kimberly Rae Miller

I am such a fan of memoirs, especially ones that bring to life experiences I had previously never imagined. Coming CleanComing Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller is just that – an absorbing account about growing up the child of hoarders. Miller does a good job of describing what it was like, while still displaying sensitivity and compassion for her parents and their struggles.

Some of the details she includes are horrifying, in a “I can’t believe anyone had to live through this” way. It’s a book that ended up making me want to declutter my house some more, and be grateful that all I’m dealing with is some clutter: lots of books and toys and such, yes, but our furniture and rooms are all usable, and if things break in our house we can easily bring in service people for repair work.

If you’re a fan of memoirs, this is a good one. It’s not one that I loved so much I want to force everyone I know to read it, but it was eye-opening and engrossing.

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Publisher’s Description:
A stunning memoir about a childhood spent growing up in a family of extreme hoarders and hiding squalor behind the veneer of a perfect family. 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 she spent her childhood hiding behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between 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 coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her experience of growing up in a rat-infested home, concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends for years, and of the emotional burden that ultimately led to an attempt to take her own life. 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 we come from and the relationships that define us—and about finding peace in the homes we make for ourselves.

Book Details

Title: Coming Clean: A MemoirComing Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller
Author: Kimberly Rae Miller
Category: Nonfiction / Memoir
My Rating: 4 Stars

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  1. I have heard of this book before, and it sounds fascinating. I have worked with people who are hoarders (as their therapist), and it is such a difficult issue to treat.

  2. Wow, I’m not sure I could handle reading that right now. Having a little baby makes me so sensitive to news, books, etc. about kids being put in danger or harmed. (Sadly it seems like we have a story about that on the front page of our local newspaper almost daily.)

    • I understand what you mean about that. If it makes a difference, the worst of the it was happening when she was a teenager, so it might not bother you quite as much as if she was a younger child. It’s still awful though, so I wouldn’t blame you at all if you skipped it entirely.

      And sadly, it seems like our paper has that sort of story all the time too.

  3. Sounds intriguing… especially since I’ve already read a few of her other books, and enjoyed them (as much as you can “enjoy” those sort of topics).

  4. I keep hearing that memoirs are “over” or “so hard to sell,” but every time I go into a book store, I see a zillion of them. I don’t get it.

    • I don’t know – that’s an interesting point. I’ve never approached it as an author trying to sell one though, so I’m sure that influences my perspective. As a reader, I love memoirs and am always happy to see new ones if they’re well written and interesting. But … sometimes it does seem like some memoirs are published that maybe shouldn’t have been, and I wonder if lackluster sales of those make it seem like the field is too flooded. Not that I really have any idea, I’m just speculating.

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