Read and Release Book Review: Coming Clean, A Memoir

The first book I read on my new Kindle Paperwhite was Coming Clean, A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller. I’m going to jump right into the review categories.

Technical Execution and Style: Positives were the clear and direct language. I didn’t stumble on any of the language and never had to reread even one sentence that was unclear. For a memoirist getting out memories, such clean/clear language all the way through is a sign of good editing and attention to detail. That shows respect for the reader and the story. The only negative I have is that even though I never had to reread a sentence for clarity, I never wanted to reread a sentence to savor the language or deeper meaning. The book was not that nuanced/artful. There were a few loose ends about pets and friends that I would have like to see closed or left out but nothing jarring. So, I give this book a 7 for execution because the writing was solid but not beautiful and there was more telling than showing.

Voice (Authenticity): Ms. Miller has a great narrative voice. Her humor and kindness come through in her writing, as does her vulnerability. I would give this a ten for voice but there are some points where it feels like she’s holding back and not trusting the reader with the full story, or she hasn’t reached deeper meanings to her narrative yet. However, altogether she has a great voice and I give it a 8.

Story (Plot/Characters/Pacing): This book scores points for originality in revealing what it’s like to live with hoarders and the psychological impact both for child and allusions to what the parents suffered to become victims of their own excess. I felt that the book could have been a few pages shorter because there was some repetitious explication of conflicts. I realize that this is because there was a pattern of conflict, but the episodes don’t vary enough to justify so much space, and I found myself skimming. If I’m skimming, the story has lost me until I start reading again. The ending could have been stronger with more insights about how the author was impacted and continues to be impacted. Again, this is a telling versus showing issue. She hits the ball but not out of the park. If the book wasn’t so unique (I’ve never read one on this topic before) I would give it a 6, but it was different so I’m giving it a for story.

The highest possible score I could give a book is 30 points, this book gets 22 points from me which means I would recommend buying it, but then sharing it with friends. Don’t horde this book.

  • I want my time back, 0-6 points = 1 Amazon star
  • Approach with caution, 7-13 points = 2 Amazon stars
  • Use the library,  14-19 = 3 stars Amazon stars
  • Buy but share with friends, 20-25: 4 Amazon stars
  • Worth your shelf space: 25-30: 5 Amazon stars

For more on the criteria I use to review books see the introduction post. The next book I will be reviewing will be from my private collection and a candidate for give-away, so make sure to come back and read the review.


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