Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review

I am trying to read 60 books during this year (or two) of 60. I actually have checked a few books out of the library, and even managed to read them. So today’s book review is on “Below Stairs” by Margaret Powell.

Since I am a huge fan of “Downton Abbey,” this book seemed like a read I would enjoy. Basically, it’s the autobiography of a woman who actually worked “downstairs” at one of the estates represented by the television series (while I have never seen the series “Upstairs, Downstairs,” I think I may have to).

Anyhow, Margaret never really planned to enter domestic service. She actually got into a college program, but her family couldn’t afford it. The only job open to her (since she had no other real skills) was domestic service. She started as a kitchen maid, one of the worst jobs. I was amazed at some of the tasks she was required to do, such as scrub the front steps, and the materials she had with which to perform them. It clearly brings my lackadaisical cleaning skills to a new low.

Margaret was inspiring to me because she always looked for more. She was also very brave in speaking out for herself and asking for what she wanted. In this book, she describes the jobs she had and the families she worked for – some good, some not so good.

She does hope to get married, and she did, which brings a whole new thread to her life. She finds work and then decides to go after her education for herself.

I think what I took away from this book is wondering what would have become of Margaret, had she been able to continue her education when she was young. Like all of us, we have different paths to follow. While one may lead us into a certain way of life, sometimes we do wonder what would have happened, should we have chosen the other path.

And while Margaret doesn’t bemoan the life she had, she does wonder what might have been. But the most important thing is that she didn’t sit around and wish the rest of her life away. She went out and did the things she wanted to do to create the life she wanted. Bravo Margaret!

Blessings today include: actually finishing a book; sending some packages in the mail; marking a few things off my lists

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