Corinne Grant’s book, Lessons in letting go (Allen & Unwin, 2010) was not what I expected. About 20 years ago I met Corinne and her family and for about a year my family rented a house that had been Corinne’s grandparents’ home. Over the years I have vaguely kept track of Corinne’s career and I have seen a couple of her appearances on TV. Amongst other things Corinne is a stand-up comedian, actor, and a writer. So I was expecting her book to be a collection of funny stories about the useless stuff we keep.

Instead it was a deeply personal biographical account of her compulsive hoarding behaviour. It was interspersed with humour but it was difficult to laugh until the latter part of the book because there was such a sense of pain in her words. Perhaps this may not have been the case if I hadn’t felt such a personal connection to the places and people she wrote about.

I did enjoy the book and it does contain a lot of useful lessons in why we hang onto to things when really we ought to let them go. Personally I hoard books even though I know the only time I will take them off the shelves is if we move. Corinne’s book made me realize the reason I keep them is for emotional reasons not rational ones. Yet it is not until we identify these emotional reasons that we are freed to get rid of our junk.