Clean Sweep: A Novel
E.B. Lee sheds light on the grim realities of homelessness and heartbreak in her novel Clean Sweep. The book recounts the tale of Carli Morris, a wealthy, retired entrepreneur, who decides to lend a hand with a local church group. Upon joining, Carli soon realizes her former blindness to those around her: the woman in the park with her shopping cart, the man on the corner without a coat or gloves, the woman sleeping in a tent next to the gray stoned church and so many more. In reading these pages, I found myself questioning if I, like Carli, turn a blind eye to those in my community in need. It did not take more than a drive through town after reading these pages to realize that I as well, do not always notice those destitute on the streets. Similar to the average New Yorker, Carli had passed these people with little more than a thought of sympathy, too busy to stop and lend a hand. However, after volunteering just once at a “Church-run”, her eyes are opened to the harsh reality of everyday street life. Soon after being involved, she meets a man named Grant who works with a program called Outreach that works to get the homeless off the streets in New York. Although they cannot always convince those in need to turn into shelters, give up drinking, or stop drug trades, this group never stops trying to help those in tough situations make the right choices. Before long, Carli finds herself immersed in this group with Grant, dedicating her time and energy to help get people off the street and rehabilitated back into society. Having lost someone dear to her at an early age, Carli hopes she can help these men and women be found and helped by their loved ones, as she never found the person she loved.
Lee truly brings to life the homeless characters and sheds light on the choices that put them in such bleak situations. Insightful and engrossing, I felt attached to each character and their story of hardship. I especially adored the banter between Carli and Vera Dear-a; I felt the warmth of their friendship through the pages. Truly heart-wrenching, the plot twist in this novel between the main characters will catch you off guard in the best way possible. Those interested in serious fiction would appreciate this book and the many topics it explores including mental illness, suicide, and turbulent pasts.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Author||E. B. Lee|
|Page Count||362 pages|
|Publisher||Little Brown Dog Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|