Monday, May 3, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

2010. New York: Walker & Co.

Lucy, Phil and Sara have lived with their mother and her habits most of their lives, which seemed to get worse after their father left the family. But now, Lucy is the only one left at the house, and she has to continue to keep her mother’s secret, even though it’s emotionally putting a chokehold on her.

At first it wasn’t too bad. Lucy was able to navigate through the house, and her room was always clean. They still had running water, and the appliances in the kitchen worked. But that was over three years ago. Now, there are only pathways between all of her mother’s “collectibles.” Running water is non-existent, and the kitchen floor is filled with dirty brown sludge. Mold is beginning to creep up the curtains, and the house smells…

“Garbage girl….” It’s the words that keep Lucy from making friends, becoming too close to anything, revealing her mother’s secrets. But regardless of how insulated she keeps herself, it doesn’t work. She has a best friend, Kaylie, and it’s here she finally finds relief from her everyday life. And now, Josh is beginning to notice her….and Lucy isn’t sure if she should get involved, even though her heart tells her differently.

But when her mother dies unexpectedly in the house, Lucy must make a choice. Call 911 and ensure that her life will become not only local news, but possibly headline news too, or try to clean up her life…and her house…on her own. No one ever needs to find out.

This novel takes the reader through the day in the life of Lucy, and not just any day but the most critical day. Her decisions are heavy and she debates these over and over in her mind. Not only does the reader see Lucy’s predicament, but they also see her past revealed with every layer of trash she shovels out of her house. The topic is new and news, and interest in it is high (ie television series about this psychological problem). Omololu writes about not only the character by this disease with clarity and feeling. Readers will keep turning the pages to find out what decisions Lucy makes and what ultimately happens. This is a book to watch....powerful, relevant, and intriguing.


Patricia said...

I just finished this book and it was really distressing for me to read. What a terrible problem and how difficult it must be for families to cope.
I felt the ending was somewhat simplistic and yet, possibly realistic. It was the solution a teen might actually consider, although I think most would go the conventional route.

Ghammonds said...

It’s difficult to imagine anyone living in these circumstances but given the recent attention to this topic, we know hoarding exists. Emphasis is often placed on the hoarder themselves while the loved ones most affected by their disorder are a distant afterthought. Your review and book trailer truly capture the sadness and hopelessness Lucy feels living in the reality of this horrific situation. I know this will be an emotional but powerful read. Thanks for sharing!