I have always been fascinated by the Hoarders show on television. When the opportunity to read Kristina Riggle’s new book Keepsake came up I knew without a doubt that I had to read this one and I’m so glad I did because I loved it! While my fascination stems from desperately trying to understand how people can live like that it’s important to note in many, if not most, the people involved in these cases have suffered some kind of traumatic event at some time in their lives.
It is no different for Trish, the main character in Keepsake, and to top it off her mother was a compulsive hoarder as well and even passed away as a result of her hoarding. As the novel opens we learn that Trish’s son Jack has been injured in the home and as it was reported Trish now has to contend with either cleaning up her home or losing her sons. While her 17 year old son Drew has pretty much distanced himself from his mother Jack is only seven and still desperately clings to his mother and vice versa. Having already lost her husband because of hoarding she knows she can’t lose Jack as well but neither can she imagine throwing out all her things.
Without her knowing Drew goes to his Aunt Mary, Trish’s sister, to ask for her help. The sisters haven’t talked in years, not since their mother’s death and there is so much anger built up over the years since Mary left home at 15 to live with their father while Trish stayed on with their mother. While Trish took after their mother and began hoarding Mary went in the opposite direction and can’t stand anything but complete order in her home . Can they possibly get the house cleaned up and mend their relationship as well? Can Trish battle her inner demons from past tragedy as well as inheriting her mother’s illness in order to keep her son?
I really connected with this book and the characters. Trish was so real in her pain and her agony over having to give up those things which gave her comfort. To the normal person that old art project that your child made in grade one may not be all that important anymore but to a hoarder they believe they are throwing away a part of their child, not just an art project. It’s such a complicated mental illness and there are no easy answers. It’s hard to imagine a person can fill their homes from corner to corner and up to the ceiling with ‘stuff’ but they can and to them each and every piece – garbage or not – has special meaning. This is a great book for anyone interested in learning more about hoarding and possibly the reasons behind it or even how to deal with a hoarder. It would most definitely make a great book club choice and there are even discussion questions at the end of the book to get the conversation going. Keepsake is an emotional novel that deals with the issues of hoarding and it’s effects not only on the hoarder but on their relationships with everyone in their lives as well. I highly recommend this novel!
I read Keepsake by Kristina Riggle for her book tour with TLC Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops to see what others are saying about the book. Kristina can be found on her website, Facebook, and Twitter and you can pick up your own copy of Keepsake here in the US and here in Canada. Kristina Riggle will also be joining Book Club Girl on Air to discuss her novel Keepsake on Wednesday, July 25/12 at 7 pm ET. I bet that’ll be one great discussion!
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and William Morrow via Edelweiss. No compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.