DOWNLOAD Coming Clean (A Memoir) by Kimberly Rae Miller
Coming Clean (A Memoir)by Kimberly Rae Miller
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.
A few-day cleanup of a junk-filled home on an episode of Hoarders is nothing compared to what Miller went through growing up. This memoir recounts a childhood in which it was impossible to shower in her house or cook in the kitchen, of being bitten by fleas and listening to rats rustle at night. The hoarding surrounds everything else in the Millers’ life, papers encroaching on her parents’ marriage, parenting, and friendships. The despicable mess comes with shame, guilt, and often-thwarted attempts at redemption.
With a poignant child’s perspective, wishing for normalcy, Miller remembers the attitudes and self-involved thoughts of a child and presents them compellingly. Although she has every right to be bitter, she doesn’t let that define her emotions toward her parents, and love and family togetherness are clearly evident. This searing tale of the damage caused by the disease reflects Miller’s deep consideration of her experience; it is a deeply affecting, remarkably thoughtful, and well-reasoned book, yet the horror is always there. One can only admire Miller’s courage in coming clean. —Bridget Thoreson, Booklist Starred Review
“Harrowing… As a child Miller realized her family wasn’t like other people’s families with tidy, presentable homes; far from it. Miller never invited anyone home and had to adopt a ‘decoy’ house to be dropped off at by friends… Stuff and unused purchases were piled so high that little room was left for the family even to eat or sleep or use the bathrooms.”—Publishers Weekly
“Miller renders her harrowing account without self-pity, and her empathy for her parents, as well as her refusal to treat the hoarding as a spectacle, allow space for redemption—both theirs and her own.”—Elle