Customer Reviews for

Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding

Average Rating 4
( 80 )
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5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Brilliant and haunting

This is no ordinary mother-daughter tale. Sholl's brilliant writing hooks you in the first sentence, and doesn't let up even after the last page (How could I ever stop thinking about this book?) A true tale of her mentally-ill mother's compulsive hoarding, the book is f...
This is no ordinary mother-daughter tale. Sholl's brilliant writing hooks you in the first sentence, and doesn't let up even after the last page (How could I ever stop thinking about this book?) A true tale of her mentally-ill mother's compulsive hoarding, the book is fierce, funny, deeply compassionate, and impossible to put down. I cannot wait for her next book, but right now I'm still compulsively thinking about this one.

posted by 5630415 on December 31, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

oh god..This is awful

I can understand writing about your mother and her hoarding. This was just awful. The author did nothing but whine about her problems and to tell you the truth I didn't finish the book. Let's pin all lifes problems on others and not deal with what lfe throws at us. I'm ...
I can understand writing about your mother and her hoarding. This was just awful. The author did nothing but whine about her problems and to tell you the truth I didn't finish the book. Let's pin all lifes problems on others and not deal with what lfe throws at us. I'm not sure who has the worst problem, the author or her mother. The author needs to seek counseling for her issues in life. Don't waste your time.

posted by Zbearman on January 26, 2011

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    A Must Read for Every Daughter

    Five stars for Jessie Sholl's moving memoir, Dirty Secret. Not only does this book shed light on the psyche of a compulsive hoarder, it does so with intelligence, wit, and incredible compassion. This is more than a "tell-all" about what it's like to grow up with a mother who has a clinical condition; it is also a story about the incredible love, patience and understanding that is necessary for any relationship to survive: daughter and mother, daughter and father, and wife and husband. The author describes what she went through to hold all of these relationships together when her world seemed to be caving in around her, triggered by having to confront her mother's life-long hoarding problem following a cancer diagnosis. And in the end she shows us that sometimes in order to keep someone dear to us in our lives, we must hold them a little further away from us, so that everyone has the space they need to live... and continue to love. She is a talented author who bravely writes about some incredibly difficult and personal challenges in her life, and in doing so reveals what a sensitive and compassionate human being she is as well.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2010

    Brilliant and haunting

    This is no ordinary mother-daughter tale. Sholl's brilliant writing hooks you in the first sentence, and doesn't let up even after the last page (How could I ever stop thinking about this book?) A true tale of her mentally-ill mother's compulsive hoarding, the book is fierce, funny, deeply compassionate, and impossible to put down. I cannot wait for her next book, but right now I'm still compulsively thinking about this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Not for everyone

    If you do not have a hoarder in your life I can understand how this may seem like the author is just bashing her mother. As the daughter of a hoarder there is no way I could ever explain how relieved I was to find out I am not the only adult child that has to deal with this dirty secret.
    This book gave me the tools to deal with my own mother, and finally be able to stand up to her. Now she knows I will no longer be the one to clean up all her messes.
    I only gave it 4 stars because I know it is not for everyone, but I have recomended it to others who deal with a hoarder in their lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    I think this is my mother!

    Jessie lived a horrid life like many of us children of hoarders have. This book is simply written and so easy to relate to. I'm sure this book with not only encourage young people who are still living in these grim situations, but give them hope to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. One day you can leave and no longer hide your parents dirty secret and the shame that comes with it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I loved this book and I am telling all my friends that they should make a point of reading!!! It tells us a story about hoarding from the daughters perspective and how it has influenced her life. LOVED IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An intriguingly intimate look at the effects of hoarding

    As I deal with my own "collecting" tendencies,I find morbidly fascinating the topic of hoarding. I watch TV programs and read articles related to the behavior to better understand, monitor, and regulate my own impulses. I ran across this book while on a Nook search. After I read the synopsis, of course I downloaded it.

    I wasn't disappointed.

    Jessica Sholl lets us into her tormented experience, and allows us full access to her feelings about herself and her relationship with her mother, the hoarder. For most of her life, despite her best efforts to get away from them, Sholl's mother's problems were the guiding force in her life.

    It's difficult to understand how we can continue to love someone who causes us so much pain and brings so much difficulty into our personal lives with their confounding behavior. Most of us have been there. Sholl manages to admirably illustrate this most human phenomenon in her book.

    There were places where I felt the story meandered a bit, but sooner or later Sholl usually managed to let me know why the side trip had been necessary one. She's good at wrapping up the important loose ends. Definitely NOT a hoarder- any more anyway.

    A very worthwhile read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    oh god..This is awful

    I can understand writing about your mother and her hoarding. This was just awful. The author did nothing but whine about her problems and to tell you the truth I didn't finish the book. Let's pin all lifes problems on others and not deal with what lfe throws at us. I'm not sure who has the worst problem, the author or her mother. The author needs to seek counseling for her issues in life. Don't waste your time.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2011

    great read

    i really liked this story, and learned alot about the disease. makes me want to read other books on the subject.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

    Great book, couldn't put it down

    Having very little personal exposure to mental illness, I found this book fascinating. The mind is a mysterious thing, and the insight the book provides into how and why some people hoard and live in such filthy environments (including a bad case of scabies) was eye-opening. The writing is very good, and I was captivated by the author's struggle with her overwhelming desire/need to clean her mother's house and, in at least that way, to "fix" her mother. Despite the fact that her mother clearly lacked your standard motherly skills (understatement) and their relationship is very complicated, the author clearly loves her and wants her to be happy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Spirit

    Glares at her s l u t

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Mystery

    Watches jackson

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Sadie to girl

    * pushes u agianst wall and winks*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    a funny and gentle commentary on hoarding

    The author's journey from a child embarassed by her mothers odd behavior to an adult trying to help her mentally ill parent without losing herself and without harming her mother. Well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2011

    a very long monologue of problems

    As much as I sympathize with Ms. Sholl, this is a lot of problems to hear about in one book. I was so thankful when she finally had a breakthrough and realized she couldn't fix her mom. Honestly, I wasn't sure she was ever going to get there. I really think I could have lived a very full life without this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Very readable!

    I have zero connection to hoarding but a friend whose taste I trust recommended Dirty Secret. It reads like novel--smooth, intriguing with a captivating narrative arc--and is educational. Sholl proves to be an amiable narrator as she--kind of a spoiler alert!--comes to terms with her mother's mental illness and accepts her for how she is.

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    Posted March 4, 2011

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    Posted June 2, 2011

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    Posted February 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2011

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    Posted June 28, 2011

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