Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pesi Dinnerstein's A Cluttered Life -- Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys (Seal Press, 2011; ISBN 978-1-58005-310-5): A Review

Pesi Dinnerstein has written a memoir that enchants, engages, confounds, mesmerizes, amuses and charms the soul.

How can one book be all these things?  Because Pesi Dinnerstein, through her writing, is all these things.

Pesi is a woman in search of more than a way to declutter her life -- she is in search of peace, clarity and yes, her keys.

Before the reader turns to Chapter 1, he or she is captured by a quote from Carl Jung:  "In all chaos there is a cosmos; in all disorder a secret order."

Despite Pesi's constant search for order and lack of detritus (clutter) in her life, I believe that she had a secret order, a secret method for keeping her life, as she wants it, organized.

Pesi has taken a slice of her life, her clutter, and to it she has added her soul's need for spirituality and serenity.  Thus, she engages us with a memoir that doesn't overwhelm with an entire life story.

The writing in this memoir is captivating and humorous and filled with worthwhile quotes that leave the reader taking away something for tomorrow.  We each have our clutter, whether it fills the rooms of our homes, our minds, our cars, our relationships.  There is something that hinders us from moving on to that grand and organized life we've all dreamed of.

Pesi is supported throughout her quest by well-meaning and loving friends, who attempt to aid her in arriving at a solution for her problem.  But Pesi's overriding love of trinkets, books, and thrift shops consistently nudges into the well planned solution and overthrows like a wild group of protesters.

A writer wanting to do her best work is beset with a need to keep drafts upon drafts, not throwing away unnecessary mail items, and stacks and stacks of research.

And her soul is another part of her clutter.  What has she done with God?  How can she address this?

Pesi explains, "Trying to simplify can be really complicated." And this statement rang true with me the moment I read it.  Since retirement and attempting to simplify my life from one of working long days and into the evenings, I'm still finding it difficult to pull myself away from writing and computers to get to the everyday necessities of household chores and running errands.

A journey worth taking with Pesi Dinnerstein, especially if you are a clutterer and a seeker!


  1. Sounds like a nice book. I liked your point" "We each have our clutter, whether it fills the rooms of our homes, our minds, our cars, our relationships." It certainly seems like fighting it is a lifetime job. :)

    1. Hey, Sara! It's a great book, and if you were just next door, I'd lend you my copy. :) Yes, we all have our clutter in one way or another, and mine is definitely a lifetime job trying to declutter it all!

      Hope the fam's doing well!


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