Jill Smolinski is an expert at pointing out the pain in life, while treating it with humor. Objects of My Affection brings together two women living with pain, both afraid to reveal their feelings.
Lucy Bloom gave up everything for her son, Ash. She sold her house, kicked out the man she loved, and spent all her money to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab in Florida. She's sharing a bedroom with her best friend's four-year-old daughter while she tries to get a job. Her best chance is to take a job that no one else seems to be able to handle. As the author of a book on organizing, Things Are Not People, she's hoping to get the job of cleaning out Marva Meier Rios' house. Marva's son, Will, promises her a bonus if she can get his mother's house cleaned in two months. The renowned artist is also a hoarder. Although she herself has given a date of May 15, she is reluctant to part with anything.
Day after day, Lucy finds herself fighting Marva for every piece of clothing and every collectible piece in the house, some to go to auction and some to a yard sale. It seems to be a losing battle until Lucy calls in her ace in the hole, her ex-boyfriend, Daniel, a movie and collectible buff who understands the value, sentimental and monetary, of much of Marva's possessions. Even so, it's an ongoing battle to pry possessions away from her. Lucy's fired and rehired a couple times, until the day she and Daniel learn why Marva has set a date for the goods to be out of her house. Then, it becomes a battle between the two women, each trying to show the other what is important in life, and when it's time to let go.
Smolinski deliberately made Lucy an organizer and Marva a hoarder to show the contrast between them, and the difference in their beliefs and their lives. The war between the two women, and Lucy's attraction to the head of the work crew bring humor to the book. And, it is quite funny at times. However, Objects of My Affection is also a story that digs deep into the emotions and fears both women have. Both women use their obsessions to hide their neediness. And, despite their ongoing battles, Lucy and Marva need each other. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what's wrong with a pattern of thinking and living. And, sometimes, even an organizer needs to learn when to let go.
Like one of my favorite authors, Barbara O'Neal, Jill Smolinski has a gift for writing about the lives of women. It's in the daily routines, the jobs, the relationships, and conversations and the wit, that both authors bring their characters to life. Objects of My Affection is Smolinski's latest slice of life. Her characters, and her readers, need to take time to appreciate it.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
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My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.