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Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life
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Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life

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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Like One of the Family, which provides historical context for Kathryn Stockett's nove, The Help, is comprised of a series of conversations between Mildred, a black domestic, and her friend Marge. They create a vibrant picture of the life of a black working woman in New York in the 1950s. Rippling with satire and humor, Mildred’s outspoken accounts capture vividly her white ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published October 31st 1986 by Beacon Press (first published September 1986)
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Dustin
Jul 12, 2015 Dustin marked it as to-read
This is surely better than The Help, so I'll give it a go..
Amanda
Originally published as a serial in African-American papers in the 1950s this series of monologue-style short stories are all in the voice of Mildred--a daytime maid for white families in New York City. The monologues are all addressed to her best friend and downstairs neighbor, Marge, who is also a maid. The stories range from encounters with southern relatives of moderately minded employers to picnics threatened by the Ku Klux Klan to more everyday occurrences such as a dance that went bad and ...more
Taylor Mccafferty
The format of this book took a little getting used to; it's written as dramatic monologues, but as soon as you get the hang of it, you see what a gem of a book it is. Mildred's voice rings true as if you've somehow become her friend Marge and you'll find yourself laughing, sighing, and thinking, most importantly. Mildred's not afraid to share her exact opinion on things, and it will inspire you to do the same. Her thoughts and opinions are also years ahead of her time - this book was written in ...more
Kari
I loved this book because of its breakdown. Mildred and Marge are domestic workers; Mildred creates a counter public in Marge who listens to every story Mildred has to tell. Mildred shares are exploits of sticking it to the man or woman as it is usually. Some of Mildred's stories are embellished, but there is a truth to them. Mildred tells her employers the things all domestic workers want to say, and Marge appreciates that. The end of the novel is interesting because Mildred trades in one emplo ...more
Melanee
If you can manage to make it through the way too long and exhaustively overdone introduction the small snippets of the character's personality that the reader is allowed to view I found were smart and sassy! She was entertaining and a lot of fun all while being very poignant.
theri
hilarious!
Johnny
I picked this up after reading a series of articles on The Help in Entertainment Weekly. The articles focused on some of the more socially problematic elements of the book (and film), essentially because it is another story where a white savior provides freedom for a collection of oppressed black folk (a la Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird). Entertainment Weekly suggested Childress's novel as an authentic voice written by an African American woman within the time period in which it is set. ...more
Betty
This book was recommended by the Association of Black Women Historians as an example of fiction that authentically portrays women who worked as domestic help. Although "preachy" at times, Mildred, the narrator, is funny, opinionated, and wise. Set in New York City, the South is never too far away from Mildred's mind.

I doubt that she would really have spoken her mind to her white employers in the way she relates, but the authenticity of what she says is never in doubt. When a white woman employe
...more
Ruthie Jones
This was a fun and quick read. I enjoyed the main character's (Mildred) biting wit, sarcasm, and tell-it-like-it-is attitude. A bit unrealistic, however, because no worker, black or white, would probably go off on several employers like Mildred often does. But Mildred's opinions and advice often reflect the truth in the hard light of day and the dark corners of night. I love the style and format of this book: conversations (we only read Mildred's side) with her neighbor/friend, Marge. I'm inspir ...more
Jenny Gruber
LOVED this book! Written as a series of conversations between the main character, Mildred, and her friend, Marge. Mildred is a domestic worker, and for those who have read The Help, I think this book provides a much better perspective. Not to mention, Mildred is freaking hilarious--and wise. Many great observations, told from Mildred's perspective, about life, friendship, dating, racism, child-rearing, and various aspects of human relations. Found myself cracking up, nodding, and or shaking my h ...more
Faith
Recommended by the Association of Black Women Historians as a much-needed antidote to The Help. Gave me good insights. The point of view gets a little tiresome--the book isn't a conversation between two women, as described here. It's a dramatic monologue.
Jessie
Aug 24, 2011 Jessie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who liked or hated the Help
Funny, insightful, and moving--a great, and much more authentic alternative to the Help.
Robin
I always like feisty females, and this one has a great way with words.
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Alice Childress (October 12, 1916 – August 14, 1994) was an American playwright, actor, and author.

She took odd jobs to pay for herself, including domestic worker, photo retoucher, assistant machinist, saleslady, and insurance agent. In 1939, she studied Drama in the American Negro Theatre (ANT), and performed there for 11 years. She acted in Abram Hill and John Silvera's On Strivers Row (1940), T
...more
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