This is the hardest FoodFic post I’ve had to write so far; in fact, I actually finished the book almost a month ago and am just getting my thoughts together now. My procrastination isn’t a result of my not liking the story; on the contrary – once I got to a certain point, I couldn’t put it down.
No, the trouble is that something major happens very early on (chapter 2, to be exact) that makes almost anything I might say here a spoiler, which is something I try to avoid at all costs. (Apparently the cost here will my sounding completely cryptic and odd. :) So I’ll just say what I can in the best way I’m able and know that when you read the book yourselves, you’ll understand.
In this book, the “dirty little secret” is that Lucy’s mom’s a hoarder. Now, I’ve seen enough episodes of Buried Alive to know what sort of food I should expect in this story – old, moldy, rotten, forgotten…you get the idea. And it’s all here: petrified pizza boxes and takeout containers full of food that had sat long enough to congeal into one black, furry, mess, a no-longer-used sink full of a dark brown mass that…looked like chocolate pudding, and a plastic grocery bag full of some gelatinous brown goo that was probably produce at one point. It’s enough to make you throw up, really – even if you’re expecting it – and more horrifying still because it’s so accurate.
What I hadn’t pre-known, however, was the shame felt by the children of hoarders; they’re embarrassed and scared that other people might find out their family secret, as well as terrified of being thought of as dirty or gross by their peers. I found this both eye-opening and eye-wetting – another way kids suffer internally and externally because of their parents’ failings.
Omololu certainly gave me some food for thought with this one, and I particularly loved that she included a website (childrenofhoarders.com) at the end of the narrative for the real-life Lucys out there.