The Cost of Living {Book Review}


Published Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Digital Jam, LLC
Author: M. L. Pressman
Pages: 235

Spanning the course of 30 years, a mother-and-daughter relationship is put to the test due to the mother’s eccentric, compulsive hoarding habits. Beginning in the 1980s, “The Cost of Living” follows Caroline Kurchowski (C.C.) as she grows from an 8-year old girl into adulthood with her single mom. Jean Kurchowski lives by the motto “If it’s free, it’s for me” – which explains the mile-high pile of wood chips in the driveway, the cramped basement filled with giveaway samples, the refrigerator of tupperware-filled science experiments, the boxes of garage-sale bought holiday presents, and the jalopy that will only come to a stop by crashing. – Summary from Goodreads

First off, let me say HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to my wonderful mother, Dahlene and my awesome step-mom Heidi. You ladies have been such an inspiration to me and I love you very much!! Happy Mother’s day to all of my followers out there also! I hope you have a great day with your kiddos.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this off of Amazon. It was sitting there in my “Recommended for you” list and without much thought, I purchased it. This wasn’t an author or novel I’d heard of but the story seemed interesting enough. And lemme tell you, I’m so glad I bought it.

In The Cost of Living we meet Caroline and Jean Kurchowski. The former is the daughter/narrator, the latter is the mother who has a major issue. Jean is a hoarder. Her motto is, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” She’s the woman who justifies any purchase so long as it’s a deal. Needless to say, their house becomes a hoarders dream…filled to the brim with knickknacks, mismatched sports equipment {for the sports that neither of them played}, heinous clothing, moldy expired food {which must NEVER be thrown out} and a lifetime supply of little motel shampoos and conditioners. Caroline struggles through life trying to understand why her mother is the way she is, why she’s so critical of everything Caroline does, why her father isn’t in the picture, why her friends don’t like coming over. We find out the answer to all of these questions and it all comes full circle. This is a story about acceptance, tolerance, frustration, embarrassment and unconditional love.

Y’all, I don’t know about you but my mother is “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” hunter. She’s had me pick up discarded shutters on the side of the road {“I can use them somewhere”}. She can sniff out the best estate sales and garage sales and come home with a heap of shit that she doesn’t need, which always makes my step-dad roll his eyes {It’s pretty funny, actually}. My step-mother on the other hand is a dollar-store, mega sale shopper. She can marathon shop on Black Friday and come home with enough toys to please the entire town. She is the person who bought a bunch of glass table tops for a $150 bucks because it was a “great deal”…mind you, she only need one table top. I don’t understand the logic but it’s her money, right? I know none of these examples are like Jean but I understood how Caroline felt when she watched her mom get more crap that she didn’t need. All you can do is shake your head and vow to NEVER be like that.

This is such an honest look into the relationship between a mother and daughter. I can’t tell you how many times I whispered, “Oh my gosh, that’s so true!” or “I would die!” I felt for Caroline in every way. I laughed with her, sighed with her, shook my head with her. I found myself shaking with frustration when she was fighting with her mom or cringing when she had to pick her prom dress {that scene was hilarious}. And the “garbage” scene had me cheering, literally! Pressman made this book so real and hilarious and cringe-worthy and sad that you can’t help but love it. And I did love it.

I’ve talked about this book so much that now my mom wants to borrow it {I told her about how the mom got a minivan and how she’ll be able to fit more stuff in it and my mom says YAY GREAT IDEA} No, mom, it’s not a great idea! Haha. Anyway, if you haven’t read this book then do yourself a favor. Read it.

If you’re looking for a hilarious yet heartbreakingly honest book chocked full of feels, and a book that will make you want to clean your house of all clutter, then this is your book!!

Buy on Amazon


2 thoughts on “The Cost of Living {Book Review}

  1. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but this sounds like a great break from the type of books I usually read. Light, funny, emotional. I’ll definitely have to check it out! 🙂

    • Oh, you definitely should! It was a quick read that made me giggle, feel the feels and in the end, made me think. Thank you for the comment and the follow:)

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