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Other People's Dirt (Anglais) Cassette – Livre audio, 1 juillet 1998


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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.

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Présentation de l'éditeur

After earning an M.A. in Comparative Literature, Louise Rafkin, facing a career choice, took the road less traveled. She became a housecleaner. The money was better than teaching, the lifestyle intriguing for someone with an insatiable curiosity about her fellow human beings. And while she quickly became an expert on the best vacuum cleaner in the world--and the most efficient paper towels--she also saw the unseen parts of people's lives. In this fresh, funny, strikingly original memoir, she talks about her invisible status as a domestic worker in a world of illicit sex and secret livees, of closet alcoholics and binge eaters, unlikely spiritualists and revealing celebrities. In Other People's Dirt, Louise Rafkin reveals something about our values, our society, and ourselves. And, from the detritus of our lives, she gives us something at once delightfully entertaining and profound.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Biographie de l'auteur

Louise Rafkin's articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Utne Reader, Ladies' Home Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Phoenix. She lives in Berkeley, California.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .


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Amazon.com: 59 commentaires
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A good quick read 29 mars 2000
Par David M. Chess - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A quirkily interesting book, worth at least the couple of hours it'll take you to read it. The author, a thoroughly educated sometime-writer, works as a cleaner, cleaning people's houses. She tells us something of what that's like, and she also pokes into other corners of the cleaning world, talking to someone who cleans up after murders, talking to folks who get paid extra to clean in the nude, and spending a week in a spiritual community in Japan that finds sustenance in service, including cleaning.
The book is a somewhat uneven read; now and then we get close to an insight into the human condition, or a lovely bit of prose. More often, though, the text reminds me of Paul Theroux or William Least Heat Moon at their grumpiest: going to interesting places and having a lousy time, meeting interesting people and disliking them. The author of "Other People's Dirt" doesn't really seem to like anybody very much, and her dislike keeps her at a distance that prevents most real insight. On the other hand, she doesn't give in to the dislike enough to really get nasty; while she constantly claims to know lots of little intimate secrets about her clients, and apparently shares them with fellow cleaners, she doesn't share many with us, so we don't even get that naughty illicit fun.
Anyway, the book is worth the read. You may get a laugh, or an interesting wince, or learn something about cleaners and their clients. But don't expect it to change your life.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Interesting topic; tiresome attitude 21 mai 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Although the notion of life as seen by a housecleaner is interesting--how much do our homes reveal about our "secrets"?--and the style is mildly entertaining, the chip on the author's shoulder detracts from the book. An example--she freely admits that she "overcharges" a lot of clients for various services, but then counsels those who use housecleaners to leave little uplifting notes like "you're amazing!" She wants top pay *and* ego-stroking for doing her job? Nice work if you can get it.
In one nearly repellant episode, while cleaning for a commercial service she considers exploitive, she notices that the home's owner has many books on his shelves about the exploitation of labor. Interrupting him as he works, she waves one of the titles at him and expects him to join her in a discussion of the plight of certain workers, especially those in the cleaning business. The poor man is, understandably, less than enthused at this prospect....he was hoping for clean floors; instead he's being harangued about social issues by some woman he's never seen before, one who's being paid to dust the books, not wave them at him.
The book is breezy and mildly entertaining, but the author's attitude is tiresome, and her manners are appalling (inviting your boyfriend over to make use of a client's bed when no one is home, and then charging someone for the privilege?). It's enough to make you scrub your own bathroom.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Wow! Such uproar over a little cleaning book. 16 février 2000
Par J.B. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Amusing, especially in the beginning, but can't decide where it wants to go. Uneven execution of a clever topic. I appreciate the acecdotes, however, because I too am a cleaner. My clients have nicknames such as "Hair House" (too many dogs,) and "Witness Protection Program" (generic decor.) Therefore, I find her rantings funny much in the way a server finds commentary on the restaurant business a hoot. This book is not going to appeal to everyone, but doesn't warrent the outrage it generated. My main gripe with this book, and I have a few, is her half-attempt to explore the role of minorities in domestic employment. Search as she does, she never seems to find why, as an educated, white woman she fits so neatly into the cleaning business. Could it be that ultimately she sees herself as an outsider, perhaps even a minority? Maybe the answer lies in her lesbianism. We that are gay often fall into the non-traditional job role. It would have been interesting to see her explore this issue instead of conspicuously dance around it. In closing, to those finding it unreasonable/unacceptable for domestic help to ridicule employers I must ask: what planet are you from?
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Real Dirt 19 avril 2005
Par Michelaneous by Michele - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book should be required reading for not only every person in the business of cleaning houses, but also for those who have their houses cleaned. "Other People's Dirt" portrays a truthful, funny, occasionally aggrieved, but always intelligent story of occupation--an occupation often overlooked and stereotyped.

As the owner of a vacation resort, a mom and pop operation where I'm not only the "glamorous" hostess but (on Saturdays) the very unglamorous cleaning woman, I could relate to the tales exposing sometimes surprising (sometimes revolting) lifestyles. While the author seemed to dive into lives of her clients far more than I would ever consider, it's clear she did so with the purpose of studying human nature. To call her "grumpy" or even resentful by exposing these stories in the book, critics fail to see the pure entertainment value of this quick, little read.

On the other hand, I've had weekly cleaning ladies enter my personal home(s) for many, many years. Through Louise Rafkin's book, I have learned how to keep anything truly personal, personal. For example, you bet I strip my own bed lest anyone attempt to get an inside look at my sex life!!!

Particularly because of the controversy and strong reader reactions it has caused, I think this book is a gem and I highly recommend.

Michele Cozzens, author of I'm Living Your Dream Life: The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The mean queen of clean 18 mars 2003
Par ensiform - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
A collection of essays from an ex-academic and writer who cleans houses. Why does she clean houses? Well, therein lies the tale. She uses cleaning as an excuse to snoop, living out her faded CIA dreams; she cleans because it helps her organize the mental and emotional clutter of her own life; and she cleans, at least once, simply to serve (in Japan, where a cleaning sect called Ittoen does precisely this). Other pieces investigate how others clean: the aforementioned Japanese cleaning commune, ascetic and humble; her childhood Mexican maid, whom she interviews with minor success; the maid to nobility and American moguls; naked house cleaners; even a woman who cleans up after homicides and suicides. At one point, Rafkin joins Merry Maids, a corporate cleaning service, partly due to desperation and partly as a kind of experiment (the horrifying abuse of labor she encounters there echoes Barbara Ehrenreich's findings from her own similar experiment in Nickel And Dimed). Rafkin certainly has her downside: she gossips about her employers (in stark contrast to the proud, confidential maid to the ultra-rich she interviews), treats their possessions with indifference, to say the least (she doesn't even apologize for breaking one client's knick-knack), looks through their things, tries on their clothes, even makes love on one clent's bed. But her prose is crisp and clear, and she has an unusual power to be disarmingly funny about a mundane subject like dirt, or zeroing in on the tragedy of a life without wallowing in sentimentality. She's at her best when talking about her interview subjects rather than herself, but she's open about everything. It's a quick, edgy read, and everyone who's ever hired a maid should read it.
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