Tuesday, February 1, 2011

(14)Dirty Secret by Jessie Sholl

There is something about hoarding that has Americans fascinated. So much so that there are currently three hit shows on cable about the disease. I confess that I have my DVR set to record A&E's Hoarders, but I will say that there are many episodes that I just can't get through, it is just too much for me to watch. I just can't fathom living in a home like that.

Dirty Secret author, Jessie Sholl, knows firsthand what it is like. Her mother is a hoarder. Even though her true hoarding tendencies did not explode until long after Jessie was out of the house, it was Jessie who was left to clean up the mess. Repeatedly. The majority of this book was set around the time her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and Jessie went home to try and prepare the house for her return after surgery. The filth that she finds is almost incomprehensible and when Jessie returns home to New York City, she does so bearing gifts. Scabies. That she contracted while trying to clean her mothers home.

The author did a great job of painting the whole story. She tells us the history of her parents and how her mother got to where she is today. From watching A&E, I understand that hoarding is a mental illness, but it is still so hard for me to grasp someones willingness to live in that level of filth. I struggle with being compassionate towards hoarders, especially the ones I see on television that are raising children in that type of environment. Dirty Secret was a fascinating read, but I will be honest, reading about the scabies STILL has me itching my scalp and skin.


Cindy said...

Currently reading this book and I know what you mean. It is hard to understand someone willingly living in filth. It is interesting to gain insight as to how the minds of hoarders work. Difficult to understand this problem, but I do know one thing. It makes me feel real good about my housekeeping!! Thanks for sharing your review!

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