Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act by Barry Yourgrau

This was a review I wrote for Library Journal Magazine. 

Yourgrau, Barry. Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act. 8 CDs. Unabridged. 9 hours 5 minutes. Dreamscape. 2015. ISBN 9781681414027 $49.99.
Barry's girlfriend has given him an ultimatum, clean up your mess or else. A self proclaimed clutterbug, Barry has been keeping odds and ends of all types- from a broken vaccum cleaner he will eventually fix to many many bags. Turning this into a writing project Barry decides to document his journey of decluttering, with before and after photos of his messes. The author goes on the examine packrats and horders throughout time from Mark Twain's Bleak House to the folks of Socrates' era. Talking with various shrinks, Ron the "disaster master", and Clutterers Anonymous, Barry looks at the different reasons why people may keep their items. With a failure to launch type situation, Barry over thinks his workflow, but with inspiration from Cheryl Mendelson's book "Home Comforts" Barry finally starts to chip away at his clutter. 
Yourgrau, born in South Africa, has penned other novels including "Haunted Traveller" and "A Man Jumps Out of An Airplane". He has won a Drama-Logue award for "Wearing Dad's Head." He also appeared in the film version of his novel "The Sadness of Sex." He splits his time between New York and Istanbul. 

Narrated by Peter Brooke, who has voiced numerous audiobooks in his career, has a very pleasant voice. Reading smoothly, Barry, his girlfriend Cosima/Medea/Prunella, and an abundance of secondary characters, Brooke speaks clearly and the sounds quality does not have that "phoning it in" feeling that some audiobooks will have. 
Folks who enjoy watching the TV Show Hoarders, will find this an interesting read, especially if they are looking for a psychological reasoning behind a persons "mess". 

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