Kimberly Rae Miller has written a thoughtful and touching account of her life as the child of loving, supportive parents who also struggled with hoarding. From the outside, her life in a working-class community on Long Island probably seemed typical to most of the people around her–because even as a young girl, Miller put tremendous effort into creating that impression to protect her family.
In fact, she lived in homes that were packed to the brim with papers, broken appliances, and more–homes in which the plumbing didn’t work, and repairs went unmade, and fresh food was an impossibility. But she writes with tremendous compassion for her parents and the challenges that shaped their lives.
She also writes about how the public awareness of hoarding developed during her lifetime, and the challenges and opportunities that came from that awareness. Her story is an example why I’ve never been able to watch shows like Hoarders. These are real people dealing with profound issues, not an object lesson or entertainment.
Miller’s challenges in dealing with her surroundings and finding a way to build her own life while staying close to her parents were incredible, yet utterly believable. I listened to the audiobook, and she tells her own story in a calm but compelling manner.