Author: C.J. Omololu (website)
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: Feb. 2, 2010
Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.First I have to say that the cover of this book really grabbed my attention! You can almost feel the anxiety of Lucy as she peers into the window of her home. I am fascinated by the topic of hoarding and have watched the t.v. series Hoarders and Hoarding many times. Usually the pervading thought is "how can a person live like this?" This book focuses more on how this disorder effects the lives of those who live unwillingly in this chaos. Lucy's siblings have moved out of the home and have the opportunities to start new lives but Lucy is trapped in her mother's world of garbage. You'll discover in this story though that their mother's hoarding is far reaching and continues to impact the lives of the two who flew the coop. What was also interesting to learn was not only the process of accumulating all of this stuff but how Lucy's mother viewed her treasures and became so emotionally distressed when anyone tried to interfere with her "collecting. I could not put this book down and was compelled to read more on this topic. If you are interested in reading more on this topic check out C.J. Omololu's blog where she also has information about an organization for children of hoarders. I was so inspired to read more that I purchased the book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. This is a non-fiction book in which you will learn the how and why people hoard. After reading a few chapters I swear that I'm inspired to go clean out a closet or clear away a stack of junk mail that has accumulated on my kitchen counter. Finally, I'm curious to know what other readers thought of the ending of Dirty Little Secrets... I didn't see it coming and wished Lucy had chosen another way out.
For sixteen years, Lucy has kept her mother's hoarding a secret. She's had to -- nobody would understand the stacks of newspapers and mounds of garbage so high they touch the ceiling and the rotting smell that she's always worried would follow her out the house. After years of keeping people at a distance, she finally has a best friend and maybe even a boyfriend if she can play it right. As long as she can make them think she's normal.
When Lucy arrives home from a sleepover to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she starts to dial 911 in a panic, but pauses before she can connect. She barely notices the filth and trash anymore, but she knows the paramedics will. First the fire trucks, and then news cameras that will surely follow. No longer will they be remembered as the nice oncology nurse with the lovely children -- they'll turn into that garbage-hoarding freak family on Collier Avenue.
With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has only minutes to make a critical decision. How far will she go to keep the family secrets safe?