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 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.
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.
This started out to be such a good book but after the 3rd time of cleaning up, it got old. I like the idea & the story.
I just wish the author had cut to the chase. We get it. The house has to be cleaned again!
Please get back to the story, which I actually liked.
It was interesting. I'm not sure if it affected my life one way or another by reading it.
I have never listened to her books and if she's the narrator, I wouldn't.
It sounded like she was whispering most of the time. When a friend stopped in as I was listening they thought it was pornography because of the tone and whisper-like qualities.
If there's nothing else left in your library.
This book helped me see life through my child's eyes. While I am not a full-blown hoarder, I do struggle with clutter and have trouble assigning a place to everything. So it can get messy. This is a heartfelt read and the delivery was perfect, in a friendly, personal tone.
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.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
Growing up, I was friends with two sisters, M- and J-. They lived in a large three story Victorian house that was charmingly painted in authentic pre-20th century colors. I was invited to their home one day, and was shocked to find the living room stacked to the top of the 12' high ceiling with boxes, with just a narrow path to a couch and to the restroom. Startled, I asked if they were getting ready to move. M- and J- assured me they weren't. I've wondered for more than 30 years what it was like for my friends, living like that.
Years later, shows like Style Network's "Clean House" (2003-2011), followed by A&E's "Hoarders" (2009-2013; 2015-present); TLC's "Hoarding: Buried Alive" (2010-2013) gave a name for what I'd seen so long ago: compulsive hoarding. It's a phenomenon that's been trendy to watch - in a train wreck kind of way - for a while. It's often a heartbreaking, sometimes inexplicable watch - why do hoarders hoard, and why do people stay with them?
Kimberly Rae Miller touches on the first question lightly, but "Coming Clean: A Memoir" (2013) is really about why she and her mother stayed with Miller's father, a prodigious hoarder. Miller's physically and emotionally fragile mother had a compulsive shopping habit, so there's a synergy - or, more aptly, a codependence.
Miller, as their child, didn't have a choice. The conditions she grew up in were not only oppressively cluttered but often out-and-out dangerous. Miller mentions broken pipes that weren't fixed because her parents were too embarrassed by piled up papers and junk to have someone in to make repairs. There was flooding, squishy papers, fleas, vermin, and even a squatter who lived undiscovered in the attic. She also mentions repeated trips to the hospital emergency room for asthma. Miller was treated so often the hospital gave her a breathing machine. No one investigated how she was living and why she kept getting so sick. Miller did such a good job covering and passing, she appeared to almost everyone to be a typical middle class teenager. What Miller described was something I'd tried to imagine about my friends' life, but I know now that I underestimated how bad things must have been.
Miller is an actress now, but in a way, she's been one almost her entire life. She's also so compulsively an unhoarder she could probably give Marie Kondo ("The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" (2011, Japanese; 2014, English), "Spark Joy" (2016)) lessons on throwing things out. What was most touching about the whole book is that Miller - although she is probably always going to be mad at her parents for her upbringing - doesn't hate them. She loves them, and time after time, with patience mixed with exasperation, tries to help them.
Miller performed the book herself, and it was a good production. I'd expect she would do well as an Audible narrator for other authors if she chose.
The title of the review is a paraphrase of a longer quote from "Coming Clean."
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I started listening and couldn't put it down. Saw so many insights for myself. I realized that my father was and I am a hoarder. Changes will be made now that I have more context to understand the whole "child of alcoholic" thing.
Thanks for sharing your struggle and it's impact.
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