One Man's Struggle to Clean up His House and His Act

Book - 2015
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Millions of Americans struggle with severe clutter and hoarding. New York writer and bohemian Barry Yourgrau is one of them. Behind the door of his Queens apartment, Yourgrau's life is, quite literally, chaos. Confronted by his exasperated girlfriend, a globe-trotting food critic, he embarks on a heartfelt, wide-ranging, and too often uproarious project--part Larry David, part Janet Malcolm--to take control of his crammed, disorderly apartment and life, and to explore the wider world of collecting, clutter, and extreme hoarding.

Encounters with a professional declutterer, a Lacanian shrink, and Clutterers Anonymous--not to mention England's most excessive hoarder--as well as explorations of the bewildering universe of new therapies and brain science, help Yourgrau navigate uncharted territory: clearing shelves, boxes, and bags; throwing out a nostalgic cracked pasta bowl; and sorting through a lifetime of messy relationships. Mess is the story of one man's efforts to learn to let go, to clean up his space (physical and emotional), and to save his relationship.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780393241778
Characteristics: 276 pages :,portraits ;,22 cm


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May 15, 2016

Loved this book. Well-written, honest, and a compelling story. Even surprisingly uplifting at times.

Dec 29, 2015

I wasn't a big fan, though I usually love hoarding books and memoirs. Yourgrau just seemed really pretentious, and almost seemed to revel in his inability to clean up. Funny at moments, but not the book for me.

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