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.
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.
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.
One of the best-read memoirs.
The failure of her mother's surgery.
I wish more memoirs on audible were read by the authors.
No because I usually only listen once
It was a pure look into a deep dark shame that she carried for so long. The honesty and truth in this book was something that touched me like a book not has in a while
It is so easy to sit in judgment of others as it is with severe hoarders. This intimate look into a hoarders life and family allowed me to see past the decay and see the love, hope, and dreams. Allowed me to see them as people. What a gift.
After finally getting my parents to move out of their tri-level home full of 'collections' and into a senior condominium community, I am still wrestling with how to get my mother to let go of her stuff. Though I did not go through the unsanitary conditions as the author endured, I could certainly relate to the struggle of trying to understand a parent who cannot get rid of anything because it may be valuable later and brings comfort to them. The author describes many encounters with throwing away her fathers papers, I wish it was as easy as she made it sound. After donating some useless cat figurines to the local Goodwill, my mother proceeded to tell everyone she met that I was robbing her.... My next step will be to read/listen to a non-fiction book on hoarding to see what I can actually do besides love my parents and all their faults. BTW I married a neat freak, possibly to make sure I didn't follow the same path as my parents. Good book to let you know you are not alone and you are NOT your parents.
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