By: Jill Smolinski
Genre: Romance Fiction
Reviewed by: Bonita L. Ledzius
Reviewed on July 9, 2012
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Published in: 2012
The world is spinning out of control for Lucy Bloom. Her son is in drug rehab in Florida, which she paid for by selling her home. The book she wrote about organizing you life and home is a failure as far as sales go. The man Lucy has loved for two years has left, because of her son’s drug addiction, and now she has lost her job as well. So now she has lost everything, but what she could pack in a small storage facility and a suitcase. Lucy has moved in with her friend, Heather, and Heather’s small family. How much lower can Lucy get? Turning to her ability to get rid of things and organize, Lucy tries to make a new start by taking on a job to clear out the home of artist and recluse Marva Meier Rios, who has become a hoarder of the most extreme type. Will Lucy get the job done by the deadline, or will Marva continue to block every step Lucy makes? Will she ever find out why Marva has become such a hoarder and why there is no flexibility in the deadline for the job? Will Lucy’s son, Ash, complete the rehab, or fall back into his old habits and addictions? Will Lucy fall in love with a fellow worker, Niko, or find the love she longs for in old flame, Daniel Kapinski?
Jill Smolinski’s “Objects of My Affections” is like a slice of modern day life for an everyday woman. It not only reads as a romance, but so much more. There are elements of mystery and of an inspirational story woven into the story. As the reader moves farther into the story they will find themselves on an emotional roller coaster, from cheering Lucy on, then wondering how she could be so naive, to thinking Marva is just a lonely old woman, then wondering how she could be such a selfish mother to Will. Smolinski takes the reality television look at hoarders and paints a sympathetic and understanding picture of what the cause is behind people who suffer from this addiction, to the point that you will feel like you are part of the process of helping Marva overcome her problem with hoarding. There are so many elements to this story, that it is amazing to see Smolinski pull them all together into a true understanding of the human condition, and the need for love, understanding, forgiveness, and hope.
I have to admit that it took me a while to get into the story, but I quickly found myself sympathetic to the main character, Lucy. I have loved, lost, dealt with family members with addictions, and even a couple who are hoarders due to their special needs which have made their organizational ability nil. Still I also found myself upset with Lucy because it seems that she could be so naive, and self-deprecating when dealing with others. To see the main character become a strong, confident woman throughout the story, and in her dealings with the other characters was a joy. I found myself often trying to verbally will my advice into the book, whether warning Lucy, or telling her to stand strong. The story took me from moments of anxiety to moments of triumph over and over. One of my favorite parts of the book were the bits of wit and wisdom that were given at the beginning of chapters as if they were quotes from Lucy’s book, various other sources, and future books. For a fiction book, I found that these little quotes had a great deal of truth to them. I had so many of these that rang true that I swore I would embroider them and place them in important places around the house for my family to see. One of my favorites from the book is as follows…
“The best way to honor someone who’s passed on is not by keeping their belongings, it’s by keeping their memory alive in the way you live your life.”
-Organizing expert Claudia Marx, as quoted in Things Are Not People
I wouldn’t hesitate a moment to recommend this book to other readers who are 18 and older. As far as those younger than 18, there are some foul language and intimate situations that would keep me from thinking that “Objects of My Affection” was alright for them to read. If you are looking for a light-hearted romance, with a great plot line, then this is your book. I think “Objects of My Affection” is so much more than just a romance, and is truly a well layered, fiction novel that could fit in many genres. It made me feel like I was on an archeological adventure, where under each layer of dirt and rock you clear, you see more of the story of human life in the past. That is exactly what you are doing as you watch Lucy clear the trash from Marva’s house to uncover the true treasures from Marva’s life, both the tangible ones and the emotional treasures as well.
Rating…R…due to the language and sexual situations in the story.
Copy Provided by: Publisher…Thank you!