The Joy & Guilt of Bingeing and Keeping

I binged this book in a one-day listen. I had other things to do on this Sunday. I was torn between the joy of a page-turner and the guilt of ‘not being productive’. On theme with the book, I simultaneously listened and cleaned out my filing cabinet, and boxed up a pile of stuff I had designated for donation.

Love Objects by Emily Maguire is about the joy and guilt of stuff, the keeping and hoarding of objects a subject I am interested in, and have been researching for one of the characters in my yet-to-be-named work in progress.

Maguire’s main character’s hoarding aligns with my research on this relatable disorder. Nic collects, keeps and surrounds herself with a myriad of objects and they replace the relationships in her life that have been lost, unkindled or not rekindled. Her complicated relationship with her stuff is a danger to her life, as it can be for people who hoard and why hoarding is now included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. At the point where the inability to part with objects meets the excessive accumulation of objects, there is too much stuff. Why a person accumulates and grips run deep and are the reason just cleaning up is not the solution. I mean, would you part with your most precious possessions? Those with meaning?

There are two other point-of-view characters in Love Objects. Lena and Will, niece and nephew of Nic. Lena is the victim of misplaced trust in the handsome rich boy in her university class and Will is still finding his feet after a stint in prison and a broken relationship. A lot is going on. Climate change politics, #MeToo and untangling family shame, but it is not challenging. I would call this a holiday read for when you want something easy with just a little meat.

Nic’s items are treasures and the reason I call this a relatable disorder is we all have treasures we would not part with and they are often of no value to anyone else, mostly they are sentimental, and Nic has attached a love and reason for all her objects.

I don’t predict this will be one of Pocket Bookclub’s favourite reads for this year, but it did lead us to share our love objects and the meaning of things. Precious to members are;

  • a broken transistor radio, the only childhood procession to accompany a child on her immigration journey
  • a plate handmade by a sister for the birth of a daughter/niece
  • an eulogy written by a best friend for a mother
  • my handwritten jam drop recipe (though I could choose a hundred other things I have).

I have forgotten what we called the cuntail of the night but I think I felt dusty the next morning.

The Pocket Bookclub raged against a book of literary cocktails that only included quotes from men. We embarked on a cunttail project, inventing a cunttail for every book we read in 2022. We made a literary cunttail book! What’s wrong with the word cunt? Nothing

Literary Cunttails 2022 is hand-drawn by Miriama and includes every recipe. Get a free copy.

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