January 5, 2013
Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey: Margaret Powell
My Husband always seems to manage to surprise me at Christmas, with something I love and didn't know that I was missing or needed and this year wasn't an exception. In my pile of books from him this year was this one and a memories about the Lady that inspired Downton Abbey.
This book is written by Powell who grew up in a family that was always growing and parents who would barely make ends meet to survive. As early as she could Powell was sent to work and ended up going into service as a kitchen maid. It funny to see how she choose what part of service to go into based on assignments. She didn't like sewing so she went into the kitchen so she didn't have to do repairs on things. Then she talks about her experience in service; what she learned and how she was treated differently from other servants and the "THEM" of the house. As well as how her position changed between households and moving from Kitchen Maid to Cook and how they had an effect on how she was treated.
During the time period that she served and the different situations that she served in. There was a change in serving, how people were treated, and how people acted/reacted to servants.
I enjoyed reading this book. I really do like reading about other peoples lives, autobiographies and biographies. But, I am very picky as I may have mentioned before in that I like hearing stories and ways I can relate to the person, beyond just a facts kind of list. They meet this person, worked on this item, etc. This was relatable to me. There was some of the I worked for these type of people who had these ideas or ways of doing things while this happened, but then it would go back to how it related to her personally and experiences more than just facts. This is what really appeals to me. I would suggest this to others who enjoy biographies and I can see how it inspired what it did, 3 stars.