Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a beautifully tidy apartment in Brooklyn. You would never guess that behind the closed doors of her family's idyllic Long Island house hid teetering stacks of aging newspaper, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father's painful and unending struggle with hoarding.
In this dazzling memoir, Kim brings to life her experience of growing up in a rat-infested home, hiding her father's shameful secret from friends for years, and of the emotional burden that ultimately led to her suicide attempt. And in beautiful prose, Miller sheds light on her complicated yet loving relationship with her parents that has thrived in spite of the odds.
Coming Clean is a story about recognizing where you come from and understanding the relationships that define you. It is also a powerful story of recovery and redemption.
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You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!
Some of the recent comments posted about Coming Clean:
Are there parts of your family history that you've needed to keep secret? How has that affected your life?
My mom was bipolar and not diagnosed until much lter in her life. This made life hell in the family. Not until she was diagnosed and taking medication did things calm down but much of the resentments on the children were already in. - guntak
Did anyone else wonder about money?
I wondered about the money also. They were always eating out too. Doesn't she talk about unopened boxes piled up from Amazon? It would be a treasure hunt to see what was in all those boxes. - carmen s
Did this book change your life in anyway?
I recently stayed with a friend who has become a hoarder over the years. It motivated me as well; I just need to get started! - deby
Do you relate to Kim's father’s hoarding habit? Do you own anything that you can't get rid of because it has too much sentimental value?
I am a hoarder of books and shoes. It is extremely hard for me to part with either. I am beginning to take books to the local places that accept such donations because I have far too many and no room for more shelves. I also have a hard time giving... - juliaa
Have you also read Glass Castle? Compare and Contrast Coming Clean and Glass Castle
It has been awhile since I read Glass Castle but it is one of the most memorable books I have ever read. I really liked Coming Clean too but I agree with Michelew that this book doesn't have the depth of Glass Castle. I liked the way that both ... - lynnr
"Starred Review. This searing tale of the damage caused by the disease reflects Miller's deep consideration of her experience; a deeply affecting, remarkably thoughtful, and well-reasoned book, yet the horror is always there. One can only admire Miller's courage in coming clean." - Booklist
"Harrowing As a child Miller realized her family wasn't like other people's families with tidy, presentable homes; far from it. Miller never invited anyone home and had to adopt a 'decoy' house to be dropped off at by friends Stuff and unused purchases were piled so high that little room was left for the family even to eat or sleep or use the bathrooms." - Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing, sympathetic exploration of living with hoarder parents." - Kirkus Reviews
"Kimberly Rae Miller is a brave and gifted writer, and her insightful examination of her troubled relationship with her parents will speak to anyone who has every struggled to hide a family secret. Coming Clean is a standout coming-of-age memoir. A must read." - Kjerstin Gruys, author of Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall
"Turn off the reality TV and read Coming Clean, an engrossing, beautifully written memoir of growing up in a hoarding family that treats its subject with humanity and grace." - Doreen Orion, author of Queen of the Road
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Kimberly Rae Miller is a writer living in New York City. She has written for Yahoo's Shine, Figure magazine, and contributed to CBS Radio/CBS New York. In 2012, Kim was featured in Katharine Sise's career guide Creative Girl. She blogs at TheKimChallenge.com.
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