Review: Why Cleaning Has Meaning: Bringing Wellbeing Into Your Home

Two words: false advertising.

Quick review for a quick read: not recommended, boring prose, falsely advertised, and I can’t even believe I wasted my time with it. To be fair, I received this as an ARC because I thought the blurb was very interesting and I love productivity/home organization books. This was a no brainer for me to pick up on premise, right?

Major forewarning: this is not a productivity guide – this will not help you or give you a step by step guide for cleaning your house (as I woefully discovered after taking a break from a bout of spring cleaning in my home just minutes before reading this book). It’s advertised as one, but it is not. It’s more of a sociological/anthropological/spiritual examination surrounding “cleaning” as interpreted in different societies and cultures, and a personal history from the author’s experience as a cleaner for so many years. This would be interesting in theory (and I was interested at first, because I love seeing such practices examined in different cultures and histories), but Linda Thomas’s prose is so dry and tedious that I had a hard time going through it. It’s offputing especially since the blurb gives no warning for what you’re in for from this particular guide. When the author starts talking about gnomes and water spirits and the impact they have on the environment of your house, to say the least- anyone picking up a guide of this nature looking for productivity would likely run in the other direction.

I’m actually not opposed to looking at non-traditional guides that examine cleanliness from other cultural and spiritual perspectives. Even with the amount of Feng Shui books I read, I read those with an open mind and find them useful and even put some of those measures into practice. But I can honestly say I didn’t find anything helpful or expansive from this text – it makes assumptions about what I know/expect and does a poor job leading the reader into Thomas’s arguments. Plus, I didn’t really feel this text was by any means encouraging or inspiring, it felt like one tedious toss between the author’s experiences as a cleaner and a spiritual lecture/dictation with very little practicality.

Not recommended, seriously not recommended. There are other texts that are out there that tackle this subject matter and do a more brilliant job of immersing the reader and getting them excited over the subject matter as well as giving them insight. This felt out of date, out of place, and completely falsely advertised. I would not read this again.

Overall score: 0.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.

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2 comments

  1. Wow, so interesting that you feel so strongly opposed to this book as I strongly disagree with your musing. I found this book to be captivating from the moment I began reading it. I understood every angle she was coming from in regard to her approach to cleaning. It resonated with me on a deep level. So perhaps it is a very small market that this book would be suitable for. I was quite surprised that I actually came across this book in a local library considering it is suited to a niche audience.

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    • Hi, F. I don’t begrudge you for having a different opinion of the work collectively, and I respect that you were able to enjoy it. For me, it had a range of problems, not limited to marketing and presentation. Even with the small market venture – I hesitate to recommend it for execution as well, because it’s not as if the subject isn’t interesting, but I don’t think the author did a good job of balancing her personal experiences and interpretations with the core sentiment and aim of the book: which is to establish why “cleaning has meaning” and how to make that meaningful to other people.

      But it is what it is. Every person’s reading experience is different, and I hold no grudges if people still want to check this out for themselves. But I think it left much to be desired on multiple levels, with all due respect.

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