Author: Corinne Grant
Review date: October 2010
Corinne Grant: stand-up comedienne, tv presenter, radio broadcaster, writer...hoarder.
Or rather, she was.
It never ceases to fascinate me how much we think we know someone, when in actual fact, we really don't. Even Corinne's family members and friends (except for her friend, Adam - who sounds an hilarious and super fun guy!) had no idea just how big a problem Corinne had (literally) hidden from them.
Corinne spent years and years (since the age of 8 when she believes it all started) storing clothes, books, old tv scripts, hair products and even - would you believe - her first bunch of flowers ever received by an old boyfriend (that had essentially become a bunch of sticks by the time a friend found them when helping her to pack before a house move). Holding on to personal items, essentially because she was afraid to let go of them, meant that those possessions had built up so much over time, that Corinne felt trapped by it all.
After realising she needed to do something about her problem, it took Corinne a year to get her head above water and deal with all the mess; a year in which she lost a dear friend, and then promptly lost her way.
Lessons in Letting Go, Confessions of a Hoarder (recently released nationwide in Australia) is just as the back of the book describes it: '...an honest, moving and often uproariously funny memoir of the year in which Corinne Grant decides to do something about her hoarding.' (I laughed out loud in many spots throughout the book, but in particular when Corinne, a country girl, tried out an escalator for the first time, which didn't end up the smooth ride it should have been. Hilarious.)
It's also inspiring. Although I wouldn't call myself a hoarder exactly, (I'm probably somewhere between what Corinne would describe as a 'Level 3 and Level 4' - you'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about) I do hold on to things I don't need to. (Maybe I'm in denial now!) After finishing the book, and witnessing just how much Corinne went through trying to sort out her own life, and the joy she experienced in finally letting it go, I immediately went to my wardrobe and started really going through stuff in there. I'm proud to say I finally got rid of my wedding shoes (which I have never worn since the big day over 10 years ago), as well as two more pairs of shoes I never wear (and that's really saying something, because I don't have many pairs of shoes to begin with)! I also managed to get rid of a bunch of clothes, including a Country Road dress I bought in 1999 that I wore a lot back then, but probably haven't worn since 2001. (I always believed some event would come up that I could wear it to, and that I'd eventually get in shape and be able to wear it again. Ah, nope.) I also put together a box of kids' books, ready to donate to our school fundraiser...and I'm not done yet!
Corinne's book is written in such a personal way, you can't help be drawn in. I couldn't put it down. Even if you're not a hoarder yourself, you'll really enjoy it. I promise. And if you are a hoarder - even on a small scale - you have to go out and buy the book.
My rating out of 5: