Keepsake by Kristina Riggle
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
When Trish’s younger son, Jack, breaks his arm in an accident around the house, his doctor calls Child Protective Services. It isn’t that Trish is abusive by any means – she loves her son dearly – but her house may not be a safe place for him to live, in fact her older son Drew already chose to move out and live with his girlfriend’s family. The problem is that Trish is a hoarder, just like her mother was. She started years ago, as more of a pack rat, but after her husband left the obsession to keep things grew until her house became bad enough that her son could have an accident in the piles of junk capable of breaking his arm. Now Trish must show Jack’s case worker that she can clean up her act – literally – if she wants to keep him. The idea of Jack being taken away spurs Drew to reach out to his Aunt Mary, Trish’s long-estranged sister.
Keepsake is told from both Trish and Mary’s points of view, the woman with the uncontrollable urge to hoard and the woman with OCD, which are evidently two sides of the same coin. Having both of them narrate keeps a good tension between the current crisis situation and their shared past which made these women who they are. This also helped keep the plot of Keepsake be driven along by the characters instead of simply by the plot.
In Keepsake Riggle is telling an incredibly compelling and engaging story. The hoarding pathos rings true, as does the tension between Trish and Mary (not to mention the rest of the family). The family must learn how to work together in order to move forward and heal, but Riggle never makes things pat or maudlin. Keepsake is a wonderful family drama, and not one that seems the same as all you’ve read before. Highly recommended.
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