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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Woman Who Kept Everything...#BookReview

About the book:
The Lady in the Van meets The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in this uplifting, funny and moving debut novel about a 79-year-old hoarder who is convinced the world is against her.

79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, cardboard boxes and endless knick-knacks that are stacked into every room of her home, and teeter in piles along the landing and up the stairs.

She hasn’t left the house in years, but when a sudden smell of burning signifies real danger, she is forced to make a sudden departure and leave behind her beloved possessions.

Determined she’s not ready for a care home, Gloria sets out to discover what life still has to offer her. It’s time to navigate the outside world on her own, one step at a time, with just one very small suitcase in tow...

Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about the loneliness of life, the struggles of growing old, the power of kindness, and the bravery it takes to leave our comfort zones..

Gloria is a hoarder. She doesn't realize it and climbing over stacks of stuff and garbage isn't a problem for her. The bathtub is full? No worries, she doesn't need a shower anyway. She just doesn't understand why her son won't visit.

When an electrical fault causes social services to move her out of her house, she is forced to stay at a facility for care and counseling. It is here that she begins to realize how her hoarding has affected her life. When she is released from the facility, she goes to live with her son and his family, believing that her home was just being cleaned and she would return there.

Once she realizes her son intends to sell the house, keep the money and commit his mother to a facility somewhere else, Gloria decides she has had enough and sets out on an adventure. She begins traveling, meeting people and making friends. And along the way, she learns that she is a woman with a lot to offer.

I appreciated that while the story was more light-hearted than serious, it did not treat the subject of hoarding lightly.

I loved Gloria's spunk and tenaciousness. Watching her blossom into a remarkable woman was a delight. Seeing her joy at helping an old friend, a hoarder herself, and realizing how unhappy and unfulfilled she was for so many years was gratifying.

While this is a story of one woman discovering who she is, it is also a story about relationships. It is a story about kindness and compassion; about adventure and friendship and finding joy in life. It is a story that shows us it is never too late for anyone to learn to love their life.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books UK for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Jane Gilley on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Read 10/18

* * * *
4/5 Stars

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