Opposite of Tidy by Carrie Mac Essay

Opposite of Tidy by Carrie Mac Essay

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Do you tend to keep old things in order to preserve memories from the past? Do you know that it can be classified as a kind of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a mental illness? The award-winning Canadian author Carrie Mac sets her story in this hardly touched field in her novel The Opposite of Tidy. Junie, an ordinary 16 year old girl in high school, appears to be no different from others. However, nobody knows how difficult her life has been: Junie’s mom is a compulsive hoarder, and her hoarding drives her husband away. Junie, in attempt to hide her embarrassing family from Wade, her new boyfriend, tells lies one after another. That’s why Junie panics when the TV show Kendra arrives at her house, because all her secrets, lies, and her mother’s hoarding are about to be exposed to the whole world. What will happen to Junie? Will Wade leave her? Most importantly, “how do you come clean when your life is a mess?” Carrie Mac employs a well-chosen title, conversational style of writing, and thought-provoking themes in The Opposite of Tidy to reflect people’s desires and struggles to gain control of their life.
The first thing readers see on a novel is its title; therefore, its significance cannot be neglected. First and foremost, it grabs readers’ attention immediately. Why does Carrie Mac use “the opposite of tidy” instead of “messy”? Messy means dirty and disordered, while “the opposite of tidy” gives readers room for imagination. It can be interpreted as dirty, chaotic, disorganized, both physically and mentally. Since the original title covers a much wider topic, it is obviously better than one word “messy”. In addition, this title foreshadows the the importance of self-control: it decides your life. If you make the same mistake as ...


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...ght way to cure her hoarding and she gets rid of the illness. In addition, both Junie and her mom are the victims of lack of self-control. Nevertheless, they support each other and succeed at fighting against their messy life by regaining control. The theme serves the purpose of delivering author’s message behind the novel: importance of self-control.
To summarize, The Opposite of Tidy is an unusual novel about the process and importance of gaining control, both physically and mentally. The effective usage of title, style of writing, and theme all make it enjoyable but also thought-provoking. After finishing the novel and coming back to answer the question “how do you come clean when your life is a mess?”, it is clear that everything is possible if you have enough control. Since “come clean” does not kill you, and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?”



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