Mess: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act by Barry Yourgrau
3 words: snarky, self-effacing, personal
Reading the memoir of a hoarder is something that completely wouldn’t happen in my world, except that when Bybee wrote about this book, I knew I had to read it.
And then (this is so excellent I can hardly stand it), after I said so on her blog, she sent it to me!
Dang, I adore book bloggers.
Thank you, Bybee darlin’, for the book mail!
So: the book. This is the type of memoir that, if done badly, could devolve into whiny navel-gazing. Fortunately, this fellow can really write.
And he allows the reader inside his secret world of needless (my word) souvenirs and sentimental objects and piled-up paraphernalia. His apartment got so bad, he wouldn’t let his girlfriend see it.
I had an immediate Gretchen Rubin flashback: one of her secrets of adulthood is “Pay careful attention to anything you try to hide.”
And I thought, Dude, you are in some serious trouble.
But it turns out OK in the end, and I think it’s largely due to the fact that this guy really owns his crap.
Literally, figuratively, in all the ways.
And it’s kind of funny that he sort of wants to be identified as a hoarder, but also dreads that designation. It’s almost like he wants the diagnosis so he can name the Thing, but also fears that he’s One Of Those People.
If this book lacked a happy ending (he deals with his stuff), I think I’d’ve felt dissatisfied.
But since there was some personal growth going on here, including some interesting family revelations, the book had a nice — dare I say “neat”? — wrap-up at the end.
Now this girl is off to deal with that tote bag cache that continues to grow, despite my best efforts to keep it under control.
OK, guys… So what’s your not-so-shameful, quasi-hoarding weakness?