A story of addiction, recovery and the removal of stubborn stains

by Michele Kirsch

  • Published: 07 Mar 2019
  • Price: 12.99
  • Format: Demy Paperback
  • Extent: 288p
  • ISBN: 978-1-78072-381-5
  • Short Books territories:
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When she leaves her home in New York to go to college in Boston in the 1970s, Michele Kirsch – an anxious 19-year-old, with a growing Valium dependency – starts taking on cleaning jobs to help make ends meet.

It gives her a window on the life she hopes to live: big comfortable house, teenagers’ music blaring from their rooms, a crock pot bubbling away in the kitchen… And yet, when she finally does have something like that life, as a wife and mother in 1980s London, she is the one blaring music from her room, downing vodka and Valium and making an almighty mess of her home and family.

Cleaning other people’s houses, eventually, is the only option left. At 50 years old, post rehab, living alone in a Hackney bedsit, Michele finds herself finishing her working life as she had begun, “in a dumb job that you do when you can’t really do anything else…”

This is a remarkable, powerful, and often unbearably funny story in which cleaning and getting clean lead to a strange and magical form of redemption.

““A memoir of addiction and recovery that is funny, sad and transcendent. It says so much about addiction - not just the drink and drugs kind, but also all the rituals and behaviours we use to get by. I could not put it down.” ”
““I LOVE this book.” ”
““Clean is that rare book that can literally make you laugh and cry within the space of a few pages. A searing and often painfully funny story of reaching rock bottom and finding hope again, it deserves to win every book award going.” ”

About Michele Kirsch

Michele Kirsch is a writer and author, who combines blogging, editing and writing with her work supporting people living with the effects of brain injury in East London.