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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Book Review - Lessons in Letting Go (Confessions of a Hoarder)

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:


Posie Patchwork said...

Fascinating, i'm not a hoarder, as it is i'm turning out the children's bedrooms (you know the drill, psycho clean in the school holidays) & my children will not hoard either, killing it in the earliest form of school project collecting, all gone to the recycling bin!! Moving every 2 years, interstate, really helps cull any crap collection. Looks like a good read, enjoy, love Posie

MMBB said...

I'm a hoarder, big time. Getting a bit better since I've moved house a few times but there is still so much that I just shouldn't have. The only thing I don't hold onto is money, unfortunately, if I had money, I would get that book. :)

Mx said...

You know the bestie is Adam Richard (the fabulous... )

I read the book in a day - I'm inspired but yet to actually start - and your comment about wedding shoes reminds me that I still have mine (almost 13 yrs), never worn since!!! I'm closer to a 5 or 6 on her scale!

Bronnie and family said...

I have hoarding tendencies thanks to my Dad, but my itinerant adult life has meant I've had to declutter regular. This has meant a few garage sales, loads of donations to organisations like vinnies, school and friends, and chucking out of junk. But over the years I have gotten rid of things that I wish I'd kept - things like school report cards, and uni assignments where the author-lecturer I adored wrote how intelligent I was when giving me an A. So I'm not sure hoarding is all bad. I really wish I'd hoarded a little more, but of course, space and dust is always a problem.

Thea said...

I saw that book in the shop this week, didn't pay much attention to it, but it sounds really good. Might have to read it now.

I don't think I'm a hoarder, just too lazy to get rid of stuff. I used to be able to keep my boy's room tidy, but now there's so much stuff in there (and same in my girl's room) that I just wince and walk out.

River said...

I'm not a hoarder, more of a stockpiler. But the book looks interesting and I've added it to my library list of books to track down and read.

Anonymous said...

I'm half way through the book. It could have been written about me! I'm definitely a 5 or 6. I'm hoping that by the end of the book there will be a quick fix solution like a zap from a magic wand to fix it all! Meanwhile I'll keep reading.

rocketman said...

I really enjoyed this book. I was never a huge Corinne Grant fan, but I found this book to be honest, candid and ultimately quite funny.

Nice review as well.

MargieR said...

I have just finished this book and it was truly an epiphany for me. Not only was it utterly hilarious and beautifully written it really struck a chord that found me asking myself "Is she writting about me????". I could not put it down and have learnt so many lessons from it that I am amazed. I lazily picked it up (off my mothers beadroom floor from a huge pile of books of which she says "I'm going to get to those one day").
I never thought of myself as a hoarder, merely a custodian of precious things, a lot of precious things! I laughed and laughed and cried and cried, both at Corinne and myself and just wanted to say thanks Corinne, this book may have just changed my life!