June 8, 2014

Claustrophobia and paranoia OR why I'm now reading a memoir about a kitchen maid

Room is one of those books that will change the way you view the world. What if you had grown up only knowing one room and believing that all you saw on TV was from another planet? What if you were a five year old boy who believe that you and your mother were the only "real" people? I think the author's choice of using the five year old as a narrator was particularly brilliant as the reader got to see Outside in an entirely different light. Donoghue used real cases to build a fictionalized tale about a woman and her son in an impossibly agonizing situation. At times, I had to stop reading just so that I could catch my breath from the intensity and the descriptive power of her words made me feel like I was trapped (probably didn't help that I read a lot of it on the train). I don't want any of this to put you off reading this book though because I thought it was fantastic (even though it ended rather abruptly for my tastes). In fact, I'll be adding some more of this author's books onto my TRL for the future. :-)

I have to admit that this next one caught my eye when one of my favorite bloggers, Jenny Lawson, who you might remember from my review of her book Let's Pretend This Never Happened. She mentioned that she was going to give Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell and it piqued my interest. I find this topic very interesting because I can't imagine living on either side of this divided line. I most certainly wouldn't have been a mistress of a household and I would be a horrendous maid of any kind. What did the "help" really think of their lords and masters? Were they as keen to be of service as they were meant to be by their employers? I suppose that's exactly what I'll be finding out!

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