Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Book review #29
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
Rating: Four stars (refer to the rating system on the right)

Summary: (taken from the inside flap of book-the Goodreads summary gave way too much information)

From the outside, Lucy's home looks normal. Inside the front door is where the secrets begin. Towering piles of newspapers and magazines. Bags of junk flooding every inch of open space. The rotting smell permeating the air. That is what she's kept from everyone-that her mother's compulsive hoarding has reduced their lives to garbage...literally.

With just two years until graduation, Lucy finally feels like a normal life is within her grasp. Her new best friend, Kaylie, and her longtime crush, Josh, make a future seem almost possible

Then one morning Lucy comes home to find something she never expected, something that will change her life forever. And she must ask herself-how far can she go to protect her family's secrets?

That was the craziest, most disgusting, sad, twenty one hours I've ever read about. Even though it was  set over twenty one hours, it felt like several days each full with lots of events. Told through present tense and flashbacks Dirty Little Secrets was one of the most unique books I've ever read. I almost felt like I was intruding on this secret lifestyle, that I knew existed, but never experienced.

Lucy has the normal side to her life, such as  hanging out with her friend Kaylie, going to the movies, babysitting the neighbors, and meeting with her crush Josh (aka normal teenage things). On the other hand, Lucy's life comes down to counting down the days until she can escape the walls of garbage she is forced to live in. Her mother is a hoarder. Each room is crammed with magazines, trash, and garbage- things known as "collectibles" to her mother. With bathrooms that barely work, Lucy can't even take a shower at her own house. Lucy has the responsibility of keeping this secret in order to protect herself and her family. She has to live in fear of not letting anyone see the inside of her house. Now that a tragedy has happened, Lucy has to go above and beyond to try to avoid letting her secret from becoming exposed. But how far can she actually go?

The descriptions and scenes were so powerful and vivid. I easily imagined everything in my head- the disgusting trash and house, the intense scene at the party, and every encounter she had with Josh. I'm not going to lie the house was really sick. I really really wanted to just jump in and start cleaning for days (I'm sort of a clean-freak). I almost felt dirty and a bit uncomfortable myself. I think it's amazing that a book can actually do that.

Lucy tops the list for characters I feel most sorry for. Saying that-she also tops the list for characters I'm most proud of. Lucy has a horrible life-not only a terrible mother with issues, but a runaway father, an overall messed up family, and an unbelievable lifestyle she has no control over. I couldn't imagine living like that, I was very impressed with how Lucy handled everything.

I had zero ounce of love for Luce's mother. I know she does have issues, but I really just couldn't understand her no matter how hard I tried. I mean imagine begging your mom to let you clean up the house.  Kaylie, Luce's one friend, on the other hand, I loved. She was true friend that anyone would be lucky to have. She brought the normal to Lucy's life- which you do get a glimpse of. I did feel like Kaylie really could have helped Lucy, if she opened up about her problems, but I understand why she couldn't do that. Lastly, there was Josh. Josh was unbelievable,perfectly adding a sprinkle of romance to the story.

The only thing I didn't love so much about this book was the ending. It just wasn't my favorite, I mean it was in theory a good ending, but it felt really rushed. I was still very hungry for more. I wanted to see how Lucy's life ended up after making her final decision.

Overall Dirty Little Secrets was really an extraordinary novel! I've never read a book about this subject before, and I'm definitely glad I finally did. This was so unique, powerful, and fast-paced that is not to be missed. It is really impossible to put down, I would recommend this to anyone and everyone :)


Juju at Tales of said...

Great review!

Jo said...

Nice review! I had bought this book for our library's collection, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm definitely going to pick it up now! :)

Mindi Scott said...

I loved this book, too.

I was literally gagging and crying while reading certain parts. What an emotional ride!

Christina T said...

I watched an episode of the T.V. show Hoarders and it was horrifying. It was really sad seeing the way this woman lived and her grown children talked about what it was like growing up there and how ashamed they were. It is sad that there are people living like that.

Thank you for sharing your review. I am definitely going to read Dirty Little Secrets.

Heather said...

i hadn't even heard of this book. wow. I couldn't watch the show 'Hoarders' on tv as it made my stomach cringe, To know that people have such illnesses . Thanks for sharing your review.

Lorielle said...

I was on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to read this one, but after your review, I think I do.

Emidy said...

I've been reading so many great reviews of this book! Hoarding is definitely something you don't hear about every day, so I'm sure this is a very interesting read. I'll have to pick it up!

Ky said...

I think I read the description like once before and of course then immediately forgot what it was about. This sounds like a truly unique read. Hoarding is something that lately has just begun to be revealed. I had NEVER heard of such severe cases before and now there's tv shows popping up all over the place. It's a cool twist to tell it from a daughter's POV. Can't wait to read it! :D

Jan von Harz said...

Great review, I think this is one book that would be hard to read, but still after reading your review, I think it is a book I want to read. Thanks!

Jami said...

Fabulous review Sara! Wow, it sounds like an intense read. I want to clean my house just from reading your review! I will be adding this one to the TBR list. :)

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Great review! I've been wanting to read this one!!

Elle said...

Sara! You have a fantastic blog, and this review was really well-written! This book has gotten many rave reviews, so I can't wait to get hold of it. And I see you're Muslim :) well, I live in the Middle East! :D And I love the image in your header. (I'm sorry, this comment is a little off-topic :P)