Coming Clean, by Kimberly Rae Miller

16218778One of the  benefits of having a ladyfriend with an encyclopedic knowledge of publishing is that she is able to direct me to a book like Coming Clean, by Kimberly Rae Miller. I had been talking to Jen about a writing problem, a character whose background I needed to think out, and she suggested I read this 2013 memoir.

In Coming Clean, Kimberly Rae Miller tells the story of her parents’ hoarding. What’s starting is not so much the scale of their hoarding, but the characters themselves. She portrays her parents not as selfish and neglectful monsters, even as they render home after home unlivable, but as decent people with an uncontrollable. She’s remarkably kind toward them, even as she repeatedly cleans up their house, only to see her parents ruin it again.

Even though hoarding itself will not come up in the book I am writing — a possible sequel to HANGMAN’S GAME that is tentatively titled HANGMAN’S BENDER— the recommendation hit the bulls-eye in its portrait of continuing affection toward those who behave horribly.


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