Meet Lucy Bloom. Despite being old enough to have a nineteen-year-old son, she is single, unemployed, and currently homeless, having sold her house to pay for her son’s drug rehab program. As a result of the minor success she had with an e-book she has written on organizing called Things Are Not People, she is offered a job helping eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios clear out the clutter she has accumulated over the course of her life.
Lucy quickly finds that Marva is much more attached to her stuff than one would expect and realizes that her hopes of meeting the deadline that has been set may never come to pass. After several false starts, Lucy and Marva find a way to work together and finally being to make slow progress through the house, aided by Lucy’s ex-boyfriend, who turns out to be a big fan of Marva’s work. Along the way, we see that, in contrast to Marva’s hoarding tendencies, Lucy’s almost pathological aversion to stuff is her own way of reacting to having been deeply hurt. And the connection that slowly forms between the two women offers a chance for each to examine her heart and come to terms with feelings they have been hiding for a long time.
Despite the serious nature of the issues Lucy and Marva are dealing with, Objects of My Affection has a strong element of fun as well. Between Lucy’s flirting with the younger Niko (the man in charge of the moving crew), a late-night warehouse break in to retrieve a precious book that was accidentally boxed up for sale, and a madcap trip to Michigan to track down one of Marva’s paintings, the story is far from being dry or maudlin.
It is fascinating to me how the books I read occasionally converge on a theme. I read Jill Smolinski’s Objects of My Affection shortly after reading Kristina Riggle’s Keepsake, another book about hoarding which I reviewed earlier this summer. Comparisons are inevitable given the subject matter, as both novels center ultimately on the issue of how we cope with (or avoid) the painful things in our past and whether we choose to let people get close to us or hold them at bay.
The authors’ each have a unique style that makes these two very different books, however, and each is worth the read on its own merits. Objects of My Affection is a fun book with a serious twist that I highly recommend!
Trish loves a good relationship story, especially when it has a happy ending. You can see more of what she’s reading at her blog, In So Many Words.
Other Titles You Might Enjoy
- The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe
- A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci
- The Rock Star in Seat 3A by Jill Kargman