Fascinated by STUFF

Lately, I can’t stop talking about an adult galley I just read, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. Turns out I’m not the only fascinated by it. Last night, the authors, Randy Frost and Gail Steketee were featured on NPR’s Fresh Air. The book is now rising on Amazon and libraries are showing significant holds in libraries.

No wonder; it’s truly a compulsive read. Frost and Steketee write about people who collect stuff to the extent that it interferes with normal everyday living…no livable space due to piles and piles of things most people feel no need to collect, whole rooms filled, tunnels formed between dangerously tottering layers of clothing, books, newspapers and trash.

Frost and Steketee begin their examination of this psychological condition with by looking at one  of the most well-known case, the Collyer brothers of New York who died trapped in their piles of junk (they were the protagonists in E.L. Doctorow’s novel Homer and Langely).

These are not dry case studies but rather an empathetic exploration of theories and observations of why a person might become a hoarder. The book helps us examine our own hoarding tendencies and the triggers that may cause it. In addition to working with the individuals who are suffering, the authors devote a chapter to the effect excessive collecting has on relationships, especially with hoarders’ children who must learn to survive living with a parent who cannot stop creating chaos in the home.

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – (2010-04-20)
ISBN / EAN: 015101423X / 9780151014231

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