13. The House We Grew Up In

By Lisa Jewell

Also recommended by my friend, Tiffany

This is a good book.  It is well-written and is about a hoarder and her family.  The hoarder’s explanations of why she has too keep things are very interesting.  They lead me to believe the author has first-hand knowledge of the affliction.

The mother’s behavior affects her whole family, each member in a different way.

Let me indulge in some lengthy quotes:

“Oh, God, Meggy.  You just don’t understand, do you?  You never have understood.  Everything that I posses is part of the context.”

“The context?”

“Yes! The big picture!”  She made a frame with her hands and then finally joined Meg at the garden table.  “For example, today, the tenth of April 2004.  Easter Saturday.  The day that Meg and the children came to stay.  The day that I wore my favorite rainbow cardigan and painted my toenails periwinkle.  The day that was cloudy and cool with the threat of localized showers later.  The day that I got an e-mail from Daddy in Thailand telling me that he’d landed safely and was on his way out for dinner with Rory.  The day that I had yet another argument with you, darling.”  She smiled sadly and looked tearful.  Then she brought her shoulders up and said, “So the newspaper fills in some of the gaps.  Of the context.  Of the big picture.  So, does the bottle of nail polish.  Once it’s empty I can’t throw it away.  Because it’s like throwing away something that happened.  It’s like throwing away the e-mail from Daddy and the visit from you.  It’s like throwing away the clouds in the sky and the chill in the air and the very momen’t we’re living in.  Do you see darling, do you see?”

So, the mother has agreed to let Meg remove ONLY the trash – empty food packaging – from the kitchen.  Then, there is this funny exchange:

Lorelei jumped up from her chair and said, “I shall want to watch, you know?

“Yes,” said Megan, “of course you will.  Come on then, Mother dearest, let’s go and have a big old screaming row about egg cartons.”

“Oh, no,” said Lorelei, “I never throw away egg cartons, darling, they’re useful.”

“No,” said Megan, “they are not useful.  And I will be throwing them away.  Are you coming?”

Lorelei let her shoulders slump just a degree and then she looked at Megan and smiled, “Yes,” she said, “I’m coming.”

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