Book Review: Keepsake by: Kristina Riggle

Rating: 5/5

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Publish Date: June 26, 2012

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: From the critically acclaimed author of Real Life & Liars and Things We Didn’t Say comes a timely and provocative novel that asks, What happens when the things we own become more important than the people we love?

Trish isn’t perfect. She’s divorced, raising two kids — so of course her house isn’t pristine. But she’s got all the important things right and she’s convinced herself she has it all under control. That is, until the day her son gets hurt and Child Protective Services comes calling. It’s at that moment Trish is forced to consider the one thing she’s always hoped wasn’t true: that she’s living out her mother's life as a compulsive hoarder.

The last person Trish ever wanted to turn to for help is her sister Mary — meticulous, perfect Mary whose house is always spotless … and who moved away from their mother to live somewhere else, just like Trish’s oldest child has done now. But now, working together to get Trish’s disaster of a home into livable shape, two very different sisters are about to uncover more than just piles of junk , as years of secrets, resentments, obsessions, and pain are finally brought into the light.

Review: “Keepsake” by Kristina Riggle is a story of family, secrets, trauma, obsessions, and self-realization. Trish, like her mother Frannie, is a compulsive hoarder. Mary, Trish’s sister, is an obsessive cleaner. Since Frannie’s death in a house fire, Mary and Trish haven’t spoken. Until Trish’s oldest son, Drew, shows up on Mary’s doorstep telling her about Jack (his brother) and how he was injured due to Trish’s mess. Mary is recently unemployed and recently heartbroken, so she goes to Trish’s to help…but she had no idea how bad it had gotten with Trish. Child Protective Services will take Jack away if Trish doesn’t get her house and her life under control. How can she do it, even to save her son? Everything in the house has some kind of meaning to her from the smallest piece of trash to the recently discovered diary of her mother’s.

“Keepsake” was both a difficult and mesmerizing story to read. Trish and Mary’s family was torn apart because of their mother’s compulsive hoarding and now the same is happening to Trish’s. I can feel for and see from both Trish and Mary’s sides. When I was younger I was a lot like Trish – holding on to everything because I was afraid to let go, afraid to lose. When I hit my teens, I became more like Mary and even though I’m not as OCD as Mary anymore, I’m still more like her than Trish. Trauma has interesting effects on everyone and while you may feel no different, no one comes out truly unscathed. Reading “Keepsake” was heart wrenching, but I think it will be eye-opening to a lot of people who know little to nothing about hoarding. Even though hoarding seems to be the main focus of the book, I believe it is about uncovering the hidden meaning behind the characters’ behavior and the affect people have on one another, regardless of how insignificant it seems at the time. Ms. Riggle knows how to delve into the depths of human emotion and deftly bring readers along for the ride!

Other books by the author: Things We Didn't Say


  1. I have a book on hold at the library about a compulsive hoarder. It's nonfiction. It's taking a long time to come back to the library. I liked your review. Would like to read this one and see how life turns out for her.

  2. Hi,

    I'm the editor for the Books section on Before It's News, and I came across your website. 

    We'd love to republish your RSS feed on our site, with a link back to your website. You'd benefit from having some of our millions of readers see your posts and go through to your blog.

    Let me know if this sounds like something you're interested in!

    Best regards,
    Sebastian Clouth


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