Author: C. J. Omololu
Release Date: August 2010
Published By: Walker Books
Pages: 224 pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.74 stars
Review: Everyone has secrets, but Lucy's are dirty - literally. Her mom is a hoarder, which means her entire house is filled with so much garbage that there are only tiny paths to squeeze through when moving across rooms. Lucy is so ashamed of the state of her house and her crazed mom that she refuses to let anyone get near where she lives. Except one day her mom dies from a heart attack, and Lucy knows that if she calls an ambulance, the reporters will get wind of her secrets and turn it into a news story. This book is an hour by hour account of one teenage girl attempting to fix everything in just a few days, and the final decision she makes.
Before reading DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, I had only a vague concept of what hoarders are. The descriptions of Lucy's junk-filled house were horrifying. There were literally walls of garbage towering over their heads, and not only was it disgusting, it was dangerous. Her older siblings had already moved out, and once they were gone, they refused to acknowledge the problem. Lucy was left alone to deal with her problems and shame, but despite this, she remained a strong character. Like anyone would be, she was often afraid and worried, but she continued to take control of her life and do what she had to do.
What I did find concerning was Lucy's apparent disregard for her mother's death. I understand that she hated her mother to a certain point, but it still disturbed me when almost as soon as she found the corpse, she was already worrying about what people would think. I saw the mother as someone who was severely mentally unbalanced, but not inherently a bad person, so I was hoping Lucy would either show at least some emotion or there would be more anecdotal evidence of her mom being hateful.
I found DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS to be a suspenseful read, and I was mostly able to sympathize with Lucy. Her lack of remorse for her mom's death threw me for a loop, but I was able to get over that and enjoy the book. It opens your eyes to what exactly hoarders are and how children of them have to deal with the shame and difficulties involved. This stands out when compared to other issues books cover, so I would recommend this to anyone who's tired of reading depression/eating disorder/death books.