In the humorous, heartfelt new novel by the author of The Next Thing on My List, a personal organizer must somehow convince a reclusive artist to give up her hoarding ways and let go of the stuff she’s hung on to for decades.
Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.
While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.
In Smolinski's heartfelt newest (after The Next Thing On My List), Lucy Bloom, a personal organizer, is desperately trying to get her life back on track. After getting dumped, she had to sell her home in order to finance her 19-year-old son Ash's stint in rehab; now Lucy is sharing a bedroom with a friend's toddler. In order to make a little money, she accepts a peculiar assignment: famed reclusive painter and hoarder Marva Meier Rios wants to clear out most of her possessions before her 65th birthday. Despite initiating the project, Marva is extremely reluctant to relinquish her belongings. Desperate, Lucy brings in ex-boyfriend Daniel, a collectibles enthusiast who treats Marva's things with an appropriate amount of respect. As the artist begins to open up and let go, Lucy and Daniel learn about Marva's complicated past and troubling secrets, and start to realize that even they might have relics holding them back from one another and moving forward. Smolinski gracefully balances lighthearted humor with insightful musings on addiction, mortality, nostalgia, and affection, making this an entertaining and touching read.