By Jessie Sholl, Gallery Books, $15.00, 318 pages
Dirty Secrets: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding by new-comer Jessie Sholl is a well-researched, skillfully written accounting of her own lifelong journey with a hoarder. The revelations she recounts of her own personal life experiences and her research makes her an expert in this fascinating tale of the mysterious world of a hoarder. Sholl is a brilliant writer and uses her talents to not only entertain, but to educate her readers on this reprehensible life millions deal with but don’t often share because of the shame they feel, the shame this illness forces on people. What is so endearing about this book is the interwoven everyday life of trauma and perversity in the thought process of a hoarder and the ultimate embarrassment of living with and feeling responsible for one.
Sholl’s writing is authentically rich with a childlike vulnerability allowing readers to submerse themselves in a hoarder’s life, giving explanation to why simply cleaning up their house or throwing away everything that they own, doesn’t work. Spoiler alert: In the end, mom isn’t “cured” but there is still quite a surprising ending to her lifelong challenge of attempting to do so. Realism in its truest form, this is an eye-opening read to immerse oneself.