I hate spending time reading about the plot of a book on review sites - just tell me, Did you like it or not?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Below Stairs

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"


4 stars

212 pages

Published Jan. 3, 2012 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1968) 


After reading Austen and Gaskell and watching Downton Abbey, etc., I've begun to wonder about the lives of servants. They play such a huge part in the lives of the upper-class - but always in the background, never noticed. Servants cook, clean, garden, raise children, do hair, serve the food, welcome guests - so much stuff!! But rarely, if ever are they even mentioned.
This book, "Below Stairs," gives a fantastic glimpse into the lives of those in service and the undeniable inequality and injustice of the "master and servant" system. Though as a mother, I sometimes feel I am still a part of that - my kids being the masters and I the servant. Hmph.
As this memoir was written by a fairly "modern" woman (she was born in 1907), it would be really interesting to read a memoir of a servant who served back in the 1700s or 1800s, to see if the same dissatisfaction was still apparent.
All in all, a good book. One that I recommend. It's funny, sad, and eye-opening.

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