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Other Peoples Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious tale of Adventure (Audio Book Download)

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~ Available as an audio book in download format at LoDingo Louise Rafkin never imagined she'd end up cleaning refrigerators or have a preference for a particular brand of paper towels. But what started out as a quick way to earn a living became a curious preoccupation with all things clean... and messy. Witty and revealing, Other People's Dirt is a thoroughly irreverent loo ~ Available as an audio book in download format at LoDingo Louise Rafkin never imagined she'd end up cleaning refrigerators or have a preference for a particular brand of paper towels. But what started out as a quick way to earn a living became a curious preoccupation with all things clean... and messy. Witty and revealing, Other People's Dirt is a thoroughly irreverent look at the untidy business of life. Housecleaner extraordinaire Louise Rafkin reads her own work as efficiently as she cleans bathtubs and snoops through the letter pile. Rafkin's voice is pleasantly modulated and well suited to her dry humor in Other People's Dirt, a parallel tale of her cleaning habits and socio-spiritual explorations. Vacuum-cleaner sound effects demarcate chapters in this nearly unabridged version, whose brief chapters are punchy and well suited to audio. ~ Barrie Trinkle Louise Rafkin's most recent book, Other People's Dirt, was published by Algonquin Books, and reissued in paper by Plume. It's been translated into French, Italian, German and Chinese. Rafkin's articles and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals including The New York Times, The Utne Reader, Ladies' Home Journal, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Phoenix. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.. Format: M4B File Size: 43 Length: 3 hr Downloading from LoDingo is easy, safe & customer friendly... All audio books come in chapter format M4B for easy listening. No (DRM) file restrictions & Your audio books at LoDingo can never get lost or broken. They are always shelved in your download center at LoDingo and you can come back and instantly download them at any time.


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~ Available as an audio book in download format at LoDingo Louise Rafkin never imagined she'd end up cleaning refrigerators or have a preference for a particular brand of paper towels. But what started out as a quick way to earn a living became a curious preoccupation with all things clean... and messy. Witty and revealing, Other People's Dirt is a thoroughly irreverent loo ~ Available as an audio book in download format at LoDingo Louise Rafkin never imagined she'd end up cleaning refrigerators or have a preference for a particular brand of paper towels. But what started out as a quick way to earn a living became a curious preoccupation with all things clean... and messy. Witty and revealing, Other People's Dirt is a thoroughly irreverent look at the untidy business of life. Housecleaner extraordinaire Louise Rafkin reads her own work as efficiently as she cleans bathtubs and snoops through the letter pile. Rafkin's voice is pleasantly modulated and well suited to her dry humor in Other People's Dirt, a parallel tale of her cleaning habits and socio-spiritual explorations. Vacuum-cleaner sound effects demarcate chapters in this nearly unabridged version, whose brief chapters are punchy and well suited to audio. ~ Barrie Trinkle Louise Rafkin's most recent book, Other People's Dirt, was published by Algonquin Books, and reissued in paper by Plume. It's been translated into French, Italian, German and Chinese. Rafkin's articles and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals including The New York Times, The Utne Reader, Ladies' Home Journal, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Phoenix. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.. Format: M4B File Size: 43 Length: 3 hr Downloading from LoDingo is easy, safe & customer friendly... All audio books come in chapter format M4B for easy listening. No (DRM) file restrictions & Your audio books at LoDingo can never get lost or broken. They are always shelved in your download center at LoDingo and you can come back and instantly download them at any time.

30 review for Other Peoples Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious tale of Adventure (Audio Book Download)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Josephine (Jo)

    Louise Rafkin has written and interesting and most amusing book about the life of a cleaner. We are literally taken in to the corners of other peoples’ houses and shown all their little eccentricities and foibles. People who horde or collect, those who are obsessively tidy and those who never seem to actually live in their house at all. Louise also talks to many other people in the cleaning business from all over America and even from as far away as Japan, I found her visit to Japan fascinating! It Louise Rafkin has written and interesting and most amusing book about the life of a cleaner. We are literally taken in to the corners of other peoples’ houses and shown all their little eccentricities and foibles. People who horde or collect, those who are obsessively tidy and those who never seem to actually live in their house at all. Louise also talks to many other people in the cleaning business from all over America and even from as far away as Japan, I found her visit to Japan fascinating! It seems to be for Louise a labour of love and she take such a pride in leaving a home in a pristine state but it is such hard, backbreaking work to do for the whole day, every day. I take my hat off to the ladies (and gentlemen) who do this for a living.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    When Louise Rafkin was a child, she wanted to be a spy. Instead, she grew up to become a housecleaner, which allows her to snoop into the lives of other people, without the risks that come with espionage. Like most people, Rafkin didn’t set out to make a career of cleaning, but found it to be a quick and easy way to make money, and almost before she knew what had happened, it had become a career. This book is partially a memoir of her experiences as a cleaner, and partially an exploration of the When Louise Rafkin was a child, she wanted to be a spy. Instead, she grew up to become a housecleaner, which allows her to snoop into the lives of other people, without the risks that come with espionage. Like most people, Rafkin didn’t set out to make a career of cleaning, but found it to be a quick and easy way to make money, and almost before she knew what had happened, it had become a career. This book is partially a memoir of her experiences as a cleaner, and partially an exploration of the world of cleaning. Not only does she dish the dirt about her own work and the lives of those for whom she cleans, but she also investigates the wider (and sometimes weirder) industry that works to make the world more tidy. From the sweatshop conditions of a corporate cleaning franchise to a Japanese cult that cleans as a religious practice, Rafkin travels far and wide to see how other people take on the job of cleaning up after others. She also checks out the strange niche of nude cleaning and investigates those who clean up crime scenes. The result is a fascinating glimpse at what the world looks like to those whose job it is to clean up after the rest of us. The stories here are conveyed with wit and humor, and actually make for a compelling read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I almost always enjoy these "slice of life" books and this was no exception as Rafkin relates some of her best housekeeping stories and also does stints with Merry Maids and a person hired to clean up crime scenes, just for additional information. Rifkin's voice is lively and, if you are lucky enough to have someone who cleans your home or office, you'll look at him/her in a new light. It is a bit dated (published in 1999) so the money doesn't work - she's generally making $5-$7 an hour and if s I almost always enjoy these "slice of life" books and this was no exception as Rafkin relates some of her best housekeeping stories and also does stints with Merry Maids and a person hired to clean up crime scenes, just for additional information. Rifkin's voice is lively and, if you are lucky enough to have someone who cleans your home or office, you'll look at him/her in a new light. It is a bit dated (published in 1999) so the money doesn't work - she's generally making $5-$7 an hour and if she delve into what it's like to live on those kinds of wages, you can go read Nickled and Dimed for that. My only complaint is that it ends incredibly abruptly - I actually checked my table of contents thinking my copy must be missing a chapter. If you are interested in these types of books, well worth your time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Willa Guadalupe Grant

    This books starts out being somewhat glib & strange. The author is a person I don't really relate to, yet, I found I wanted to keep reading this book. Toward the end the is a more interesting person being shown to us than at the beginning & the last chapter was worth reading the whole book for. In the last chapter we are let into the authors heart much more than in the rest of the book. This is a small book & worth reading. This books starts out being somewhat glib & strange. The author is a person I don't really relate to, yet, I found I wanted to keep reading this book. Toward the end the is a more interesting person being shown to us than at the beginning & the last chapter was worth reading the whole book for. In the last chapter we are let into the authors heart much more than in the rest of the book. This is a small book & worth reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Louise Rafkin, possessing a Master's degree in Comparative Literature, chucks it all and takes up cleaning other people's homes. Told with a wry sense of humor, it was quite interesting to read what you can infer about others when you are cleaning their abodes. Some of her clients are the rich and famous (she does not break any confidences) and you realize quite quickly that they are just people too. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Louise Rafkin, possessing a Master's degree in Comparative Literature, chucks it all and takes up cleaning other people's homes. Told with a wry sense of humor, it was quite interesting to read what you can infer about others when you are cleaning their abodes. Some of her clients are the rich and famous (she does not break any confidences) and you realize quite quickly that they are just people too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dree

    I almost gave up on this book after the first chapter--because the author was trying way too hard to be funny. After she the writing relaxed a bit it was fine. Not a great book, not horrible, a very quick read. But really, I think she cleans houses because she is meticulous and it pays well enough--and there are no journalism jobs out there. After this? I bet she no longer cleans houses.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    It ended rather abruptly, but on an interesting note. I liked the whole thing--blew through it in a day--though it felt a little outdated and I don't think I'd want the author cleaning my place (she'd hate us). Still, an interesting look at a job that is often underappreciated and work that's underrated. It ended rather abruptly, but on an interesting note. I liked the whole thing--blew through it in a day--though it felt a little outdated and I don't think I'd want the author cleaning my place (she'd hate us). Still, an interesting look at a job that is often underappreciated and work that's underrated.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    This is such a great book!! I love being in someone else's life and I love reading this amazing book. The memoir author was so likable and so interesting. I love this book and if you are looking for a book to take you away from life and but you in others for a while, this is a great book for you! Put yourself in other people's shoes:) This is such a great book!! I love being in someone else's life and I love reading this amazing book. The memoir author was so likable and so interesting. I love this book and if you are looking for a book to take you away from life and but you in others for a while, this is a great book for you! Put yourself in other people's shoes:)

  9. 4 out of 5

    eRin

    This really wasn't what I was expecting. Yes, Rafkin describes some of her curious adventures, but more in the form of investigative journalism like Stiff or Nickle and Dimed, but not exactly. Yes, she has worked as a housecleaner--quite a bit, as it seems. But instead of dishing dirt (pun intended) about clients and things she discovered about people, mainly she looks into others in the profession. She does write about her own experiences and she does give us some of the goods--but it seems lik This really wasn't what I was expecting. Yes, Rafkin describes some of her curious adventures, but more in the form of investigative journalism like Stiff or Nickle and Dimed, but not exactly. Yes, she has worked as a housecleaner--quite a bit, as it seems. But instead of dishing dirt (pun intended) about clients and things she discovered about people, mainly she looks into others in the profession. She does write about her own experiences and she does give us some of the goods--but it seems like more of a tease than anything else. Because next thing you know she's joining a Merry Maids-type service in order to see how it operates; or she's flying off to Japan to stay with a cleaning cult; and then she's interviewing naked cleaners. The book itself is kind of scattered and reads like more of a first draft than a completed book. I didn't hate it, but it definitely wasn't what I thought I was getting myself in to. And that disappointed me. Oh, and best line ever a few pages into the book: "I was no Betty Crocker. I was a Feminist." Went a bit downhill after that.

  10. 5 out of 5

    StarMan

    "In this fresh, funny, strikingly original memoir..." Fresh? Maybe. Funny? Barely (see below) Strikingly original? I suppose, having not read another memoir about a housecleaner. VERDICT: Overall, passing grade. Perhaps 2.75 stars, not a full 3. But thanks for the one LOL. With a dose of editing Ritalin, could've been a 3.5 star affair. I got my money's worth (52 cents, thrift shop book). * Overall, not bad, but not as intriguiging as I hoped. * One laugh-out-loud (page 68; no spoilers). Other than t "In this fresh, funny, strikingly original memoir..." Fresh? Maybe. Funny? Barely (see below) Strikingly original? I suppose, having not read another memoir about a housecleaner. VERDICT: Overall, passing grade. Perhaps 2.75 stars, not a full 3. But thanks for the one LOL. With a dose of editing Ritalin, could've been a 3.5 star affair. I got my money's worth (52 cents, thrift shop book). * Overall, not bad, but not as intriguiging as I hoped. * One laugh-out-loud (page 68; no spoilers). Other than that, not a single grin for me. * Author jumped from story to story, often stopping one just as it started getting interesting. * A latter part (about author's visit to Japan) was pretty good. RECOMMENDED for: anyone fascinated by tidbits (nothing deep) about filth, OCD, and toilets. Or haters of a certain "happy" maid company. NOT FOR: readers expecting a totally hilarious or in-depth memoir, or any sort of detailed tips on housecleaning (there are plenty of other books that cover that).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hank Stuever

    Read this at a time where I was dying to write a feature about housekeepers. (I never did.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chazzi

    Picked this up from a pile of books one of my daughters was getting rid of. A fun read. Louise Rafkin is a housecleaner. She also has an MA in literature, has been a teacher and is a published writer, besides this book. She chose tho be a housecleaner for better money, better hours and the idea intrigued her. This is her memoir. It is a humorous view from her perspective of the cleaning world. The different clients and their preferences she has dealt with based on what she has seen and experienced Picked this up from a pile of books one of my daughters was getting rid of. A fun read. Louise Rafkin is a housecleaner. She also has an MA in literature, has been a teacher and is a published writer, besides this book. She chose tho be a housecleaner for better money, better hours and the idea intrigued her. This is her memoir. It is a humorous view from her perspective of the cleaning world. The different clients and their preferences she has dealt with based on what she has seen and experienced while cleaning up. Clues found in trash baskets, laundry, cupboards and counter tops, can add up to interesting tales. She also came to know which is the best vacuum, cleaning products, paper towels and other cleaning supplies to use and that clients don’t always agree. It isn’t really a book of cleaning tips, but there are a few. She also has studied some of the various styles of housecleaning and interviewed people who work in these various s tyles. “Exotic” — nearly naked and lingerie-clad cleaners, sexy male cleaners, cleaners who work for services: she even went to Japan to learn about Ittoen, a group of cleaning people who live in a commune and have dedicated their lives to cleaning. Who knew what a variety can be found among cleaning services! A fun and interesting read from an inside view.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    An enjoyable insight into the lives of cleaners. As a housekeeper, Louise Rankin writes with wit and humor about the unseen heroines keeping our homes and offices in order, clean and hygienic, showing the comic side in her various cleaning job. The fact that she gained her housekeeping badge as a young girl in which she took great pride and her research into cleaning ladies in a variety of settings. There are some poignant moments, describing the lot of the cleaner employed by her parents and th An enjoyable insight into the lives of cleaners. As a housekeeper, Louise Rankin writes with wit and humor about the unseen heroines keeping our homes and offices in order, clean and hygienic, showing the comic side in her various cleaning job. The fact that she gained her housekeeping badge as a young girl in which she took great pride and her research into cleaning ladies in a variety of settings. There are some poignant moments, describing the lot of the cleaner employed by her parents and the cleaner whose child had been left brain damaged, but who was raising her children as well as travelling to her cleaning jobs, cleaning efficiently and with compassion for her clients. I have done cleaning work myself in people's homes, in factories and in pubs, but I learned a lot from reading this and can recommend this to any reader who enjoys reading unusual and quirky books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Smart, funny and poignant memoir of a woman who decided to become a professional housecleaner. Perspectives on how we as Americans feel about dirt and those who we pay to clean up after us. Rafkin interviews the woman who cleaned her own family's home, those who have cleaned up after the rich and famous, the dying and the dead. The author even travels to Japan to stay in a spiritually based community of those who clean as service to humanity. A sensational and yet authentic inquiry into a topic Smart, funny and poignant memoir of a woman who decided to become a professional housecleaner. Perspectives on how we as Americans feel about dirt and those who we pay to clean up after us. Rafkin interviews the woman who cleaned her own family's home, those who have cleaned up after the rich and famous, the dying and the dead. The author even travels to Japan to stay in a spiritually based community of those who clean as service to humanity. A sensational and yet authentic inquiry into a topic that in American society is often swept under the rug.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melody Loomis

    I enjoyed this audiobook. It got a few laughs out of me. Toward the end, my interest began to wane, like when she went to Japan. I wasn’t quite clear on why she went there. But in any case, I did enjoy her stories about her clients, especially the different nicknames. “The Shedders”, “The Cheerio Lady” lol. I would have loved more of those stories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    More, later, but for the moment: This memoir held my attention for the couple of hours required to finish. Upon re-reading it, I sent my copy to a friend who cleans houses. The author grew into servant-hood. A blessing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Kok

    An interesting look into the mindset of somebody who actually likes to clean.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzann

    Surprisingly engaging insight into human nature as magnified by our living space.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Liakopoulos

    Funny stories and interesting way to make a good, clean living!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A brief audiobook read by the author—perfect to listen to while cleaning windows!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Spivey

    Collection of essays - one about her trip to Japan as the best.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lize

    From the jacket: "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." The above paragraph drew me like a mag From the jacket: "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." The above paragraph drew me like a magnet. Of course it would--voyeuristic me still likes to take walks in the evening so that I can see into people's houses through open windows and imagine things about their lives. But this is probably one of the most uneven books I've ever read. Is it a humorous tell-all? An exotic travelogue? A sentimental memoir? A bit of muckraking journalism a la Barbara Ehrenrieich's "Nickel and Dimed"? The author doesn't seem to know, and I was muddled by the end. Of course, to me, the 'paydirt' was in the many descriptions of the clients she cleaned for: "Not long after my visit with Rose, I was on my knees washing a floor when I started to feel resentful. The lady of this house spent more on cut flowers than I did on rent. She would walk around her house in white anklets, the thin cotton kind kindergarteners wear, and she was secretly addicted to vanilla ice cream. Several times during my shift I would catch her standing behind the open freezer door spooning ice cream from her daily pint and wearing those ridiculous socks. If the socks became soiled--a hair, a crumb, a drip of misdirected Haagen-Dazs on the pristine soles--she would strip them off and deposit them on the kitchen counter. By the end of the day there'd be three or five or eight pairs slumped on the counter. My last task of the day was to run a load of these dead socks through the washer." That's too bizarre to be anything other than true...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    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, a 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: On (Not) Getting By in America). 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 client’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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Petra X feels sophisticated living in Manhatten

    Although I read this book the year I joined GR, I remember it well. I've just read Stephanie Land's Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive which was also about a house cleaner, but read like one long entitled whine from a person with very bad judgement and no insight at all and it reminded me of this book. Louise Rafkin had a Masters in Comparative Literature but decided she'd rather clean than teach and said it paid more too. She enjoyed cleaning and, as did Stephanie Land, sno Although I read this book the year I joined GR, I remember it well. I've just read Stephanie Land's Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive which was also about a house cleaner, but read like one long entitled whine from a person with very bad judgement and no insight at all and it reminded me of this book. Louise Rafkin had a Masters in Comparative Literature but decided she'd rather clean than teach and said it paid more too. She enjoyed cleaning and, as did Stephanie Land, snooped into the private possessions of her employers. Unlike Stephanie, she approached them glee and wrote entertaining stories in this book. The book is also a selective investigation of cleaning around the world. The one that most interested me was the men who, quite naked, clean for women, for their mistresses! How do I find one of them? Also when on the floor on hands and knees (they like this), don't they have to wear panties to protect their danglies from cleaning products? Rafkin has left the world of professional cleaning. She is a journalist and writes children's, women's and books about her lesbian experience. I wonder if she now employs a cleaner, or a 'treasure' as they are sometimes called in the UK, of if she still does it herself? Reviewed 20 April 2021, read in 2008, this review took a looong time to surface!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Disappointing. The writing is more college-level than polished graduate student. There are holes in the descriptions and empty spaces where the author should have told us more about what she was thinking or seeing. She falls back a lot on lame descriptions: for example, "sad" is used a lot to describe things she finds pathetic. Clever phrases and comparisons are few and far between. Compared to other profession-based memoirs, she isn't very insightful. Some of her observations in fact don't ring Disappointing. The writing is more college-level than polished graduate student. There are holes in the descriptions and empty spaces where the author should have told us more about what she was thinking or seeing. She falls back a lot on lame descriptions: for example, "sad" is used a lot to describe things she finds pathetic. Clever phrases and comparisons are few and far between. Compared to other profession-based memoirs, she isn't very insightful. Some of her observations in fact don't ring true. They feel forced and contrived. And in hindsight, I wouldn't consider this much of a memoir. It appears to be more a collection of essays on the topic of cleaning, informed by her experiences cleaning. As others have noted, it is less about the people she cleaned for and more about the housecleaning profession. There is where the holes and empty spaces are most apparent. She interviews a nude housecleaner, but never goes with him to a job or hires him herself, so she can't really tell us what it is like to have a nude housecleaner. She interviews a crime-scene cleaning service, but as she repeatedly tells us, luckily she didn't get to see the service actually do it's job. What a shame! That would have put some meat on the bones of what she had written. Maybe then these chapters would have read more like a polished book than an essay a student wrote for an English Composition course.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This book was not actually about 'other people's dirt'. It was about this woman's thoughts on cleaning and how she liked to clean. She had her own little house cleaning business. I desperately wanted to read a book about how other people kept house and their strange quirks. I wanted her to tell about the weird lady that kept two small litter boxes in her hallway instead of just getting rid of her cat who couldn't remember to walk two more steps down the hall to the regular litter box. I wanted t This book was not actually about 'other people's dirt'. It was about this woman's thoughts on cleaning and how she liked to clean. She had her own little house cleaning business. I desperately wanted to read a book about how other people kept house and their strange quirks. I wanted her to tell about the weird lady that kept two small litter boxes in her hallway instead of just getting rid of her cat who couldn't remember to walk two more steps down the hall to the regular litter box. I wanted to hear about the house that had 2 dozen squirt bottles around the house, supposedly used to train the cat. I wanted to hear stories about the odd woman who obsessively kept her Kool-aid packets in the freezer for fear that they would spoil in the cupboard. I wanted to hear about the family who marked the date of purchase on all of their Hamburger Helper. I guess I wanted to hear a story about me. Perhaps she did not share 'dirt' because she wants to keep her clients and that might frighten them away. But no dirt meant a boring book. However, it was a quick read and the book is small enough to fit in my purse. I always like that. When I write my book I'll make sure it fits in my purse.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lain

    I'm not sure what this book is supposed to be -- a tell-all? An exploration of the history of cleaning and its place in western culture? A treatise about the underclass? I think part of the problem is that the author herself is not sure where she is, in the metaphysical sense. I couldn't tell why she was a cleaner. If she liked it. Even where she lived! And as far as "other people's dirt," there was precious little here. Not at all what I expected. I was more than a little annoyed at the curious I'm not sure what this book is supposed to be -- a tell-all? An exploration of the history of cleaning and its place in western culture? A treatise about the underclass? I think part of the problem is that the author herself is not sure where she is, in the metaphysical sense. I couldn't tell why she was a cleaner. If she liked it. Even where she lived! And as far as "other people's dirt," there was precious little here. Not at all what I expected. I was more than a little annoyed at the curious tone the book took towards the idea that those who hire cleaners are somehow exploiting them... Very confusing. I was looking for an author who was going to dish some dirt and instead got an earful about Marxist theory.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    Louise Rafkin is a professional housecleaner. She’s done it her whole life and has some rather interesting and touching stories to tell about the subject. The last chapter details Louise’s visit to Kyoto, Japan. She spends a week with a group of people who have given up everything to do humble services, such as cleaning, for other people. The last chapter really made me want to read Memoirs of a Geisha again. Along with Louise’s personal housekeeping adventures, she seeks out others who have expe Louise Rafkin is a professional housecleaner. She’s done it her whole life and has some rather interesting and touching stories to tell about the subject. The last chapter details Louise’s visit to Kyoto, Japan. She spends a week with a group of people who have given up everything to do humble services, such as cleaning, for other people. The last chapter really made me want to read Memoirs of a Geisha again. Along with Louise’s personal housekeeping adventures, she seeks out others who have experience in the world of cleaning. From exotic housecleaners to the people that clean the crime scene after something gruesome happens. This was a really quick and fun read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ann G. Daniels

    Ever wonder what your housecleaner thinks of you as she goes through your house? Ever wonder why she is in your house, cleaning up after you, in the first place? Louise Rafkin talks about these questions, and other questions you may not have wanted to ask (has your housecleaner ever had sex in your house? Or, more importantly, is your housecleaner paid a living wage? Is your housecleaner grossed out by what you leave for her to clean?) in this frank, funny memoir of her days cleaning other people Ever wonder what your housecleaner thinks of you as she goes through your house? Ever wonder why she is in your house, cleaning up after you, in the first place? Louise Rafkin talks about these questions, and other questions you may not have wanted to ask (has your housecleaner ever had sex in your house? Or, more importantly, is your housecleaner paid a living wage? Is your housecleaner grossed out by what you leave for her to clean?) in this frank, funny memoir of her days cleaning other people's dirt (and her own). It's a fun read but it's also thought-provoking and, I guarantee, will stay with you long after that pine-fresh scent is but a memory.

  30. 4 out of 5

    SouthWestZippy

    Very behinds the scenes look at house cleaners and if you think they are just cleaning, think again. I found this disturbing in parts to be mildly humors other parts. I did enjoy the memoir it is very different. This is on the back of the book so not a big spoiler. " Alone in a house, I piece together strands of life stories as if I were an archaeologist, the home a midden. I know who has sex with whom, and how often (condoms in the bathroom, stray hairs on the pillow). I don't read diaries, I r Very behinds the scenes look at house cleaners and if you think they are just cleaning, think again. I found this disturbing in parts to be mildly humors other parts. I did enjoy the memoir it is very different. This is on the back of the book so not a big spoiler. " Alone in a house, I piece together strands of life stories as if I were an archaeologist, the home a midden. I know who has sex with whom, and how often (condoms in the bathroom, stray hairs on the pillow). I don't read diaries, I read clues. I am there when the answering machine picks up....." This could be a quick read but I took my time with this one.

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