cover image Afraid of the Light

Afraid of the Light

Cynthia Ruchti. Kregel, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-82544-657-3

Ruchti (Miles from Where We Started) delivers an insightful portrait of a wounded psychologist trying to make amends for the mother with hoarding disorder that she couldn’t save. Camille Brooks, host of the Let in the Light podcast, aims to help hoarders. Eli Rand, a local trash hauler, wants to sponsor Camille’s podcast and help her clean out clients’ homes. Wary of the garbage collector but needing the cleaning help, she accepts his offer and is soon frustrated when Eli interferes with how she works with her clients. Eli interjects in an effort to find the root of their traumatic stories, and argues that his ideas may be a gift from God. Though Eli’s work becomes indispensable in cleaning houses, Camille worries he may be hiding his own hoarding disorder, a deal-breaker for any budding relationship. When a client, Allison, reminds Camille of her mother, she confronts her childhood memories of living with a hoarder and determines to help Allison reconcile with her own estranged children. As Camille and Eli discover each other’s secrets, they realize they share much in common, but it will take a leap of faith for Camille to begin to trust. This sensitive portrayal of mental illness and its generational impact is Ruchti’s best work yet. (June)