Ancient Weaver's Reviews > Down and Out in Paris and London

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
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's review
Jun 06, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: bio-and-autobiography

Rated 5 stars for being interesting, thought-provoking, challenging accepted ideas and attitudes, and being a personal favorite.

Orwell spent a short part of his life as a bum on the streets of Paris and London and as a kitchen slave in a Parisian hotel and a Parisian restaurant. This book is an autobiographical account of that time, of all the people he met, and of the experience of that kind of life.

Down and Out is filled with interesting characters and insane situations, all the more interesting and insane because they actually existed. It's also filled with the kinds of insights born out of experiencing life on that level.

Some insights that stuck with me:

When Orwell absolutely doesn't have a cent (er, pence/sou that is) to his name, he discovers that the worst thing about being flat broke isn't any of those imagined fears he had about poverty back when he was a regular member of the middle class with money in his pockets. The worst thing about poverty is the boredom.

Orwell also punctures some myths about the goodness of all those who are in the charity business. There's a kind of degradation of the soul that often goes along with accepting other people's charity, and charity isn't always quite
charity when there are certain religious, ideological, and psychological strings attached.

But, forget the review - go out and give this one a read!
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02/27 marked as: read

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