Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty Little Secrets
By C.J. Omololu
Publication date: February 2, 2010

Synopsis from book cover:

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. This 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?

My review:

Lucy's mom Joanna is a compulsive hoarder. She calls herself a collector and becomes upset when Lucy tries to clean or throw anything away. She considers the items she collects to be treasures and she won't give anything up even when there is junk on every surface of the house. Lucy's older brother and sister have already left home and now Lucy is the only one stuck in this horrible life until she is 18. It is no wonder that Lucy has become withdrawn and unable to have close friendships. She is afraid that people will find out the truth so she lies all the time.

Lucy's only friend is Kaylie. Lucy loves when she gets to spend the night at Kaylie's house and be around a normal family. During those moments she can pretend that her life is normal too. I was glad that Lucy had someone like Kaylie in her life even though Lucy believes she can't confide in her. The other person Lucy is somewhat close to is her older brother Phil but she can't depend on him to be there for her. Her family is pretty much devastated by their dad's defection years ago and now their mother's hoarding. Lucy's horrid sister Sara is already showing signs of being a hoarder too and loves to suck up to their mom. It was hard to read about Lucy's mom. The disorder stripped away her ability to care about her daughter. There are sad glimpses of what Joanna's life used to be like which I found to be very moving. Besides Kaylie the other bright spot in Lucy's life is Josh. She has had a crush on him since eighth grade and now he appears to be interested in her. He is a really caring guy and I enjoyed their developing relationship. Lucy really deserved some happiness after all that she goes through.

This was a difficult book to read. The descriptions of Lucy's home life are horrifying and there are several disturbing scenes when Lucy starts to clean up the mess. The hardest thing to read about is the choice that Lucy makes to enable her to have a new life. She thinks in an emotionless and clinical way and her decision is truly shocking. She has been through hell and she doesn't feel that she can trust anyone. Even though I thought her choice was terrible I still felt for Lucy. The novel does leave us with the belief that there is hope of a better life for Lucy. She is an unforgettable character with a really believable voice.

Hoarding is a terrible mental health disorder and it effects not just the hoarder but their families. I thought that CJ Omololu handled this topic in a very sensitive way. Dirty Little Secrets is the kind of book that stays with you long after you've finished.


  1. I'm always fascinated with hoarders. Perhaps I should try this one.

  2. I'm the opposite to Lucy's Mum. I can't stand mess or clutter, and people who hoard like this intrigue me. Sounds difficult but worthwhile. Thanks.

  3. Wow, fantastic review. There aren't many books out there about this topic, so I really want to read it.

  4. This one has been on my TBR list and I keep forgetting about it, definitely need to read it.

    Nice review

  5. Yes, great book!! Definitely makes you think!

  6. I had a really hard time with this book because there were parts I really enjoyed but many parts I read in disbelief, at the character's choices. It was definitely a thinking read.

  7. Watching the Hoarders TV show is tough, too. It definitely affects the entire family and their mental and physical health. This sounds like an emotionally gripping read. Great review!

  8. Wow, very heartfelt review!! I really want to read this one.

  9. Such a great review and I'm so intrigued by the subject matter. I really can't wait to pick this one up even if the topic seems a little overwhelming. Fabulous review!

  10. I want to read this one. Thanks for the review.

  11. I've had my eye on this one for a while. It sounds like it was a compelling, through disturbing, read for you.


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!