Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu - Review

We all have secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.

And as you read this first line, you are hooked. Of course we all have secrets. The question is: what will we do to keep them hidden? And what do they do to us in turn

Lucy is sixteen and like so many others of her age is worried about her friends, the boy she has a crush on, what people think of her, and her schoolwork. She seems almost distant and mysterious to others and that’s because Lucy has a secret. Although her house looks like everyone else’s from the outside, inside it’s a teeming mess of stacked newspapers, clothes, bags of “treasures”, and rotten, forgotten food. There is no clear surface anywhere, no footpath through the house. So Lucy can never invite friends over, can’t even hire handymen to fix broken appliances. She’s trapped until she graduates and can move.

But everything changes one morning when she comes home and finds her mother dead under a pile of magazines. Lucy knows that if she calls 911 she will end up on the evening news, exposing how she lives, changing the way she and her family are seen. So what should she do?

I read this in one sitting – fascinated, horrified, unsettled – and can’t seem to shake free. It’s a heartbreaking, disturbing look into a disorder not much discussed and the strength it takes to know you are not to blame, and do your best to make a future for yourself. And, as I tried to second-guess her best options, I’ll admit that I didn’t see the ending coming at all.

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