Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, 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 moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home, her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends, and 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.
©2013 Kimberly Rae Miller (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I have an interest in hoarding that I find hard to explain to myself, since I've never seen it in my own family (we're mainly drunkards) nor among my friends (more victims of bad taste rather than hoarders.) I suspect it may be a reflection of my own "everything in its place, and I mean EVERYTHING, do I have to do everything around here myself? Were you raised by wild pigs?" mentality.
But whatever the reason, since awareness of the disorder (and I do think it's a mental disorder with physical symptoms) surfaced in mainstream culture, I've been fascinated. I think I really want to know why someone would do this to themselves and their families.
Kimberly Rae Miller does not answer this question. Instead, she gives us an insider's look at what it is like to grow up in a hoard and to love the parents who "chose the stuff over me." I was really surprised by the strength of the love binding Kim and her parents, bonds that all the stuff in the world couldn't break (though there were times...)
I admit I was teary-eyed at several places in the narrative, which the author does very skillfully herself. At the end, I was pretty sure that Kim is as in the dark as most people who do not have the disorder are about why hoarders do the things that they do, but that she was lucky to come from the family she did nonetheless.
I have not read the print version.
I do love audio books and hearing the author read this book was definitely a plus. However, the author was almost whispering through long portions of the book. Maybe she was just a little too close to the material to be a good choice to read it.
Definitely when the author tells a little white lie that turns into a massive problem for her parents.
Soft, Whispery, Detached
Yes, knowing that there are millions of people in the US who live in houses at all stages of hoarding. To think of children trying to survive in these conditions is just heartbreaking. Seeing an hour long television show is nothing like hearing about decades of the problem affecting a family.
I think the author did an amazing job of showing her parents as people who are struggling with a disorder, but that was not the only thing that defined them. I truly hope that she is able to set appropriate boundaries and have a family of her own.
Sara in MI
It was a well organized story about the emotional struggles resulting from growing up with hoarding parents. I didn't have to backtrack, thinking I missed a key piece of information. The story and narration flowed smoothly and kept my interest.
I liked the honesty of the writer. Her struggles on several levels were sad, but fascinating.
Loved the performance! Her voice is smooth and clear with appropriate inflection. The fact that it was HER story came through stunningly in the narration.
I'd love to read/hear more works by this author.
Who knew that being the daughter of a compulsive hoarder would precipitate so much dysfunction? This is an eye-opening book written by the only child of a man who could not throw anything away, and a woman who was a compulsive shopper. Not a good combination. The reasons for these dysfunctions are deep-seated and hard to remove. As part of her journey, Kimberly had to accept the fact that they would probably never change. It was a rough journey for all of them, but beautiful to watch as Kimberly was able to achieve her own goals. Very well written and narrated, this book was a great listen.
....you can't look away. I feel so incredibly normal after listening to Miller's tale of life with two hoarding parents. She draws a clear picture in the listener's mind of the filth and chaos amidst which she lived as a child and the impact that situation had on her as she became an adult. Though the book is relatively short, it is just the right length to keep your interest.
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~Paul Sweeney
How she survived.
The voice of the main character was strong in this story. It would be hard not to feel empathy for her situation and hope for her future.
flat, quiet, unsure
I was very moved by this book. The words painted a very vivid picture of a very scary, troubling way to grow up.
Her amazing strength to live through this experience and come out on the other side with humor, intelligence and a love for her family.
The main character. It's been a while since I've read the book, but I liked the author the best. It was her story.
Just shock that so many people live like this. How they could allow their daughter and animals to live like this. Fleas!!!
Sad these people can't get help.
Kimberly Rae Miller's open, honest, and yet still loving depiction of what it was like to grow up with a compulsive hoarder. Her story is painful but she has a great sense of humor about it and shares it in a way that really pulled me in. She narrates it herself, and she's great at it. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.
I wasn't too taken with this book when I started & listened to a few other books thinking to return this book in a day or so. For some reason I started listening again & my engagement with Kimberly Rae hit me big time. While Iike many. I know a bit about hoarders, I know very little about the effect of hoarding on family members. The author explained the "love/hate" that many family members feel towards the hoarder or indeed any addict family member very lucidly and with much compassion. I wish Kimberly Rae & her family a happy healthy future as I do anyone struggling with an addiction & it has effect on the family members.
This book is well worth the time & credit.
Profesionl, hard working woman who travels weekly, enjoys life. My best Friends are Michael and Scooter. Nonfiction books are the best!
Up at the top, I had no idea what it was about so I took a chance and I'm glad I did.
The Narrator was perfect
The whole book did, all of us try to grow up but parents won't let us sometimes. I can only imagine how embarrassed she was as a child.
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