Objects of My Affection
Lucy Bloom's boyfriend left her, her son is addicted and in rehab, she has lost her job, and she has sold almost everything she has, including her home, to pay for the rehab. The only thing she has kept is her 1971 vintage cherry red Mustang convertible - that needs repairs. She is staying at an old friend's home, sleeping with their young daughter. She has a job interview to organize an older woman's home. She learns at the interview that the woman is a hoarder - and possibly a bit crazy.
The pay is low, but if she can get the woman's house emptied and organized before the deadline, there is a hefty bonus that will help her get back on her feet. She decides to accept the job before the woman's son gives it to a company that specializes in this type of work.
Now she is working for Marva Meier Rios, an artist who started a new trend many years earlier. She no longer paints, has diabetes and bad knees, and doesn't want to let go of anything in her home. It takes three or four days to even get the woman to look at things Lucy is trying to clear out. Marva insists on seeing every item before it is removed. Some will go to a high end art dealer, the rest will go to a yard sale. Lucy recognizes there is also a fortune in collectibles, including the original "Rosebud" sled from Citizen Kane. She finally pulls in her ex-boyfriend, Daniel, to help with those. The high end dealer turns up his nose at them. But they are worth a lot of money in the right market and Daniel can identify the items and the market.
Now Lucy is dealing with a crazy hoarder, the young muscled moving man, her ex-boyfriend, and her son in rehab. Of course, her son won't talk to her and may not stay in rehab. Lucy feels like she's at her wits' end. She had been hiding from her son's addiction, even though that was why Daniel had left her. Still the supportive mother, she sells their home and furniture to put him in a good rehab center a thousand miles away. Now she needs to learn to be strong - for her son, for Marva, and for herself.
Jill Smolinski has the knack of taking on important topics with a light touch. Objects of My Affection quickly catches the reader's attention as Lucy's first person narrative reveals a woman who is reaching the end of her rope as she deals with the chaos around her. Smolinski pulls in the touches of humor immediately as Lucy describes sleeping with her young roommate who hogs the bed, clutches her stuffed animals, and snores.
Objects of My Affection is a charming tale that makes the reader identify with Lucy's problems. Marva is a wonderfully eccentric, cranky character. Marva's son is pompous and distant. When Lucy is ready to stand up for herself, the reader is ready to cheer for her.
A first-rate book, Objects of My Affection is a good reading choice.
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