Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Dirty Secret by Jessie Sholl
I hate admitting things that don't make me look so great, but sometimes you just have to. I found out about Jessie Sholl's memoir DIRTY SECRET because of a snarky comment I made on Twitter. I was searching for my book on Amazon and stumbled on her upcoming book in the process - I think I tweeted something like "Just found a book called DIRTY SECRET about hoarding. Can you say check titles?"
Sometimes you forget that everything you say online is public. That if you say something snarky about someone else's book they're likely to see it. And send you an email.
Lucky for me, Jessie is very nice and sent me a message that she didn't know about my book when they titled hers and would I be interested in seeing an advance copy? As she also told me that she'd read and loved my book, I was sufficiently shamed and said that I would love a copy.In the months since, we've become online friends, realizing that any confusion about titles is probably good for both of us - she even interviewed me for her blog.
So enough about how we 'met'. What about her book? In short, it's great. Her publicist sent me a copy of DIRTY SECRET: A Daughter Comes Clean About her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding a few months ago and I tore through it in a matter of hours. To me, it felt eerily like my character Lucy was all grown up and had written her own book about dealing with her mother as an adult. DIRTY SECRET gets into the details of what it is like to grow up with a hoarder and what the secrets do to you and how the situation morphs as both parties get older. There are many of the same elements in this book that are in my story - piles of belongings, 'collections', rationalization and denial. To top it off, Jessie's book has lots of teeny tiny bugs - you'll close the cover itching. Throughout the book you experience frustration as she has to deal with her mother's decline but also the compassion that she feels precisely because it is her mother. And there is a great and honest epilogue.
DIRTY SECRET came out on December 28th. You can buy it here or here or head down to your local bookstore and ask for it. If you're interested in hoarding - or complex mother-daughter-relationships - you won't be disappointed.
Find out more about Jessie on her website.