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Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid (Pan Real Lives) (English Edition)
 
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Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid (Pan Real Lives) (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Margaret Powell
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Arriving at the great houses of 1920s London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's life in service was about to begin… As a kitchen maid – the lowest of the low – she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and even bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. It was a far cry from her childhood on the beaches of Hove, where money and food were scarce, but warmth and laughter never were. Yet from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress's nephew, Margaret's tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation.

The Pan Real Lives Series brings together some truly remarkable stories. From moving accounts of suffering and redemption to fun and fabulous confessions, entertaining adventures and touching tales of devotion, these are life-changing stories told from the heart.

For the full range of titles available in The Pan Real Lives Series, visit www.panmacmillan.com/reallives


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 509 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 225 pages
  • Editeur : Pan; Édition : Unabridged (4 mars 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004OC07QM
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°52.879 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2.0 étoiles sur 5 pas magnifique 14 avril 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
When it came out originally, much fuss was made of Margaret Powell. I find it was overrated. Although some of the happenings were accurate, I find there was a lot of exaggeration.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Le précurseur de Downton Abbey 6 septembre 2014
Par Marie
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Sujet très intéressant et écrit avec assez d'humour pour faire passer la pillule! Après tout, les conditions de vie et de travail des domestiques de grandes maisons étaient plutôt horribles.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  237 commentaires
162 internautes sur 166 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Charming. Delightful. I wanted to read more! 5 janvier 2012
Par S. Goldberg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I bought this book solely on the basis of the second half of the title - "The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey'". I am a far bigger fan of Downton Abbey than I was of Upstairs, Downstairs, but never mind that. What a charming and delightful memoir!

The book's notes say that the first volume of Margaret Powell's memoirs were first published in 1968. That would also be consistent with the declaration that this book helped inspire Upstairs, Downstairs which I think originally ran from 1971-1975. I am assuming (but I may be wrong), that this book is the compilation of her original memoirs. Since the author passed away in 1984, she couldn't very well have added anything recently unless the family came across additional writings which she might have done.

Anyway, onto the book itself which is charming and written in very British English. I had to resort to the dictionary a few times to find the meaning of a British term with which I was unfamiliar, but who doesn't love learning some new words? It tells Margaret's story in her own words, from childhood through older age when she was finally able to return to school. It was so easy to put myself in her place as the story unfolded, trying to imagine what I might have said or done in the same circumstances which she describes as first a kitchen maid in service and then a cook.

One thing I might want to point out to potential readers who are expecting to read something with a storyline like Downton Abbey's multilayered saga - This is Margaret's personal story. Other characters enter and exit, but it is essentially Margaret's struggle to survive in service during the early part of the 20th century. She describes in first person a bygone era which we now watch on television. I can't always agree with her opinions or decisions at times, but I greatly respect the journey which she took as well as the ultimate thirst for life and learning which she embodied.

The only reason this book received four stars instead of five is a very personal one. I loved reading the novel from beginning to end, but I wish it had been a little more detailed in places. I would have liked to have known what happened to the author's family, for example. I would have liked to have known a bit more about how she met and courted Albert the milkman. I would have loved to have heard about the rest of her personal life, but I suppose there are only so many pages in a book. Either way, the lack of one star does not mean a lack of quality in the book. Reading this book is like sitting down and listening to the tales of a beloved relative with tales to tell. It's an opportunity you don't want to miss.
69 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 delightful, and there is more 14 janvier 2012
Par Susan Woodward - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The book is a delight for its honesty and a special window into a life that is very different from ours. The narrative is observant, direct, and informative about a world now long gone. If you read to live a little slice of a life not your own, you will like this book. But it is not brilliant, so don't expect Remains of the Day or some such.

The reader above who complained he wanted more should check out Powell's other books, including "Climbing the Stairs" and "Albert: My Consort", which continue her life and report the details of her successful connection to Albert the Milkman. "Climbing" can be found on the US Amazon, but for the others one might need go to Amazon.co.uk, which is just as accessible as Amazon.com, but of course, the shipping is a bit more.

Powell has written several other books including cookbooks, indeed it seems she scribbled right away, but they are found only in the UK as of now.
47 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful details and anecdotes - how life really was for a kitchen maid! 22 janvier 2012
Par Amy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This could be an inspiration for, but also a counterpoint to Downton Abbey's representation of effacing servants and thoughtful employers. Of course, Margaret Powell's story is somewhat different - instead of working in an aristocratic manor house, she toils in London homes with 5 or less employees. Her life is what you might expect - born into a working class family, she goes to work as a teenager, starting as a kitchen maid and eventually becoming a cook. Her life seems to be continual work, making the most of almost Victorian conditions, serving well-to-do families with little pay and certainly no thanks.

There is an undercurrent of anger and contempt for those she works for - you really cannot hold this against her. But the book is funny, charming and you can hear her unique voice as you read it. I read this in a day - you won't want to put it down. In conclusion, she mentions that by the time the book was written (late 1960s) things had changed drastically and domestic servants were treated much better than in her time. Still, she points out that it's useful to know how things really were.
31 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Clean Fun With Wry British Humor 10 février 2012
Par D_shrink - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This was a humorous account of life in service in the early to mid 1900s. Margaret Langley Powell [1907-1984] started in the lowest position of service in the British household, that of being a cook's helper; meaning she did all the dirty work in the kitchen. She finally rose to the rank of cook with her own helper, after which she became an author and life was a bit easier for her later years. Since this book was originally published in 1968, she really had a hard life until she was 61.

I particularly loved her descriptions of life in service without the use of vulgar language thrown in gratis by most modern authors. I would like to give a few examples that sum up her thoughts, at least as I see them.

1. "...when you see an economic recipe and they say you can't taste the difference from the original, [normally this meant substituting margarine for butter] well probably you can't if you've never eaten the original." P96
2. In speaking of her disdain for employers always being practical, "At Christmas we got presents of cloth to make things with, aprons and horrible sensible presents." P98
3. One of the cutest stories about sex without using the word was told about the upstairs parlor maid Gladys and her family, "According to Gladys, her father drank like a fish and he came home most nights roaring drunk and incapable. I used to think he couldn't have been SO incapable, otherwise her mother couldn't have had nineteen children, could she?" :)
4. In describing her regular Spring cleaning chores at one household she says, "During these four weeks I got up at five o'clock each morning and I worked until eight o'clock at night. Then I had to get supper for the servants after that. We all worked those hours, but of course, I remember mine in particular because it was mine that made me tired, not theirs." P121
5. In describing an outhouse still used at one home Margaret says, "And it had one of those seats with two holes. The sort for Darby and Joan who couldn't bear to be separated. Talk about two hearts that beat as one! Heaven knows it was lethal enough when only one had been in. I shouldn't think two could have come out alive." :0
5. In discussing the advantages that employers gave for paying low wages and stressing what the servant would learn, she says, "When I left domestic service I took with me the knowledge of how to cook an elaborate seven course dinner and an enormous inferiority complex; I can't say I found those an asset to my married life." P191
6. To explain poverty and sex she said, "...when I was a child I'd lived on a street where most babies were born as a result of Saturday night reveries. They were known as beer babies." P193

I really liked this little book which can easily be read in one very long sitting or several shorter ones. It kept my interest throughout, and the lack of any vulgar language was a refreshing change. I would say it is a safe book for middle aged kids, although they may ask what some of the anachronistic terms mean. I highly recommend this book to all.
21 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 In service to others 9 février 2012
Par Heidi G - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Margaret's story of her time in service, first as a kitchen maid and then as a cook, brings to light the working conditions of the serving class in the early 1900s. Just as interesting is the attitude of "them" living upstairs in those great houses, the employers, their family members, and their friends. To think that just because a person was a servant that they couldn't read is so sad; to treat servants as less worthy of the basic comforts of life (food, shelter, kindness) is deplorable. As with many other reviewers, I have come down with Downton Abbey fever and am watching similar movies and reading books regarding about the servant class. Powell's book is a quick read; I enjoyed her wit but sometimes felt I was slogging through the details.
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