An affecting and humorous account of one talented woman’s search for organization and meaning.
Dinnerstein, who recently retired as a language-skills teacher at CUNY where she worked for more than 30 years, had an office infamous for heaps of boxes, a home cluttered with mementos and a head-turning car full of junk—including several pieces of lumber she intended to return to Home Depot someday. But a chance meeting with an old acquaintance on the eve of her 50th birthday caused the author to rethink her unorganized life and ask herself why she had spent a lifetime hoarding broken pottery, unsorted nails and buttons and unused furniture. What she discovered surprised her; she’d been “searching for God” the entire time. Enter “The Holy Sisters,” a group of offbeat friends and fellow spiritual seekers, who helped haul away the author’s excess physical and mental baggage. Even after an epiphany when struggling to recall why she kept a bowl with a broken lid for years, she still had a hard time letting go, as each object was attached to a memory, pleasure or future hope. Dinnerstein’s revelations amass like slowly unearthed jewels through writing, therapy and even Clutterers Anonymous. A poignant visit with her mother, an unexpected home purchase and the trauma of 9/11 combine in a breathtaking journey that delivers kabbalistic wisdom.
Patience for a hoarder’s personality is required, as the ups and downs of the quest, while realistic, are often tedious. However, hanging onto the author’s smooth-flowing voice is easy, and there is nothing junky about what she discovers beneath the rubble.