09 February 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Other People’s Dirt: A Housecleaner’s Curious Adventures by Louise Rafkin

I purchased this book thinking it was going to be quirky and fun, she’d dish about the housekeeping industry and give insight into what it’s really like to clean other people’s houses. I expected the good, the bad, and the dirt.

Boy, was I disappointed.

I found the author to the shallow, self-loathing and well, downright rude at times. There isn’t a thing wrong with scrubbing a toilet or mopping a floor – I’ve done it myself many times, but she seems to feel that because she knows the proper way to scour a shower, she’s above you. She goes off on these tangents that have nothing to do with her subject matter and everything to do with making sure you, the reader, dislike her.

To save you the $10 (probably $0.99 at the bargain table, I’d hope), here’s the gist of it – the author decides she’s bored and above academics so instead of using her degree, she decides to be a house cleaner. She sometimes doesn’t clean (like when it’s a clean house already and she reads a magazine while letting the vacuum cleaner hum – this was, by the way, what I expected to see more). She apparently also has sex and eats the food of her clients (yeah, that makes me want to run right out and get another housekeeper). She dislikes the big name maid companies (can’t blame her there, that’s why I try to hire a single-run company, although I may never hire someone again. Ever.) She visits some other housekeepers who have dirt, but no one ever seems to dish it, the author included. The end.

Yeah, not exactly what I was expecting either. I came away disliking this woman. A lot. Getting it on with your boyfriend in someone else’s house where you are paid to be there just seems so lowlife, not to mention dipping into the fridge without asking (again, I probably wouldn’t care, but it’s not the point).

As someone that has hired house cleaners in the past and hopes to in the future, this book gives me pause. I’m glad I work at home. I try not to get in their way, but at least I know they aren’t bringing in their boyfriends to frolick on my sheets.

Skip this one. It will just make you disgusted and angry.

What do housecleaners know? Everything. Everything about what makes life a messy affair. And in her quirky, irreverent book Louise Rafkin shows that a housecleaner finds a lot more than dust bunnies under the bed. Armed with a battery of housekeys, Rafkin takes us on an intimate tour of people’s lives, introducing us to unsuspecting clients and to a diverse group of housecleaners who have seen their fair share of dirt. Whether she’s piecing together stories from the evidence she finds in her clients’ homes or talking to other cleaners who have their own stories to tell, Rafkin debunks the stereotype of the humble housemaid. From a brief stint with the Happy Maids agency to an undercover attendance at a Messies Anonymous meeting, Rafkin’s encounters in the cleaning trade come in many guises–the humorous, the odd, and the insightful. OTHER PEOPLE’S DIRT takes a look at a side of life readers may never again take for granted.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Book count for 2010: 12

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.