Jeffrey’s review of Down and Out in Paris and London > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Caroline (last edited Sep 24, 2014 10:01AM) (new)

Caroline I think I would rather be in book-selling poverty than washing-up-dishes poverty; but both are vile. Everyone needs enough.


message 2: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Caroline wrote: "I think I would rather be in book-selling poverty than washing-up-dishes poverty; but both are vile. Everyone needs enough."

Absolutely! I only had a brush with poverty working in the book business, but Orwell really experienced true poverty trying to survive in Paris.


message 3: by Ted (new)

Ted Magnificent review Jeffrey!


message 4: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I have a theory that if everyone were made to work for a year after high school in restaurants or in retail and forced to live on that pay with no other income before they could attend college, the world would be a better place. Just think how many great writers we're losing out on because they have things too easy.


message 5: by Samadrita (new)

Samadrita Orwell's essays and nonfiction are always so eye-opening and perceptive. After going through your elaborate and insightful review, I cannot wait to read this one, Jeffrey.


message 6: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Ted wrote: "Magnificent review Jeffrey!"

Thank you Ted! You are most kind!


message 7: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Diane wrote: "I have a theory that if everyone were made to work for a year after high school in restaurants or in retail and forced to live on that pay with no other income before they could attend college, the..."

I was going to college while I worked in the book business. I certainly have a different perspective on every interaction I have with a retail person or a waiter/waitress after working in the book store biz for many years. I did my time, for the love of the game as they say. Our CFO at my company raised what we could give for tips (reimbursable) to 15% instead of the 10% established by the CFO before him...reason why he raised it? Because he worked as a waiter in college. If the service is good I give 20% or higher.

I do agree that everyone should have the experience of working a low paying job. For one thing I learned more about life in the bookstore trenches than I did going to college. For one thing you learn just how NUTS, how RUDE, how KIND, how INCREDIBLE people can be.


message 8: by Jeffrey (last edited Sep 25, 2014 11:34AM) (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Samadrita wrote: "Orwell's essays and nonfiction are always so eye-opening and perceptive. After going through your elaborate and insightful review, I cannot wait to read this one, Jeffrey."

I didn't intend for this review to be so elaborate, but it just had a mind of it's own. As I was writing more ideas about presentation kept coming to me. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed it Samadrita!


message 9: by Ted (last edited Sep 25, 2014 08:23AM) (new)

Ted Jeffrey wrote: "Diane wrote: "I have a theory that if everyone were made to work for a year after high school in restaurants or in retail and forced to live on that pay with no other income before they could atten..."

About tipping. When I'm in a tip situation what I'm generally thinking is this person needs the money more than I do.

As for low-paying jobs - unfortunately for many nowadays that's the only option, regardless of their age or circumstances.

There was a news item in the paper today that a study found that "Americans believe that CEOs make 30 times the average salary of a U.S. worker ... (they actually make 350 times the average)". What a clueless lot. I have to believe that these are people who get all their knowledge of the world from YouTube. Thank goodness there is still a segment of the public who understand what's going on.

I'll shut up now. ;{


message 10: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Ted wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Diane wrote: "I have a theory that if everyone were made to work for a year after high school in restaurants or in retail and forced to live on that pay with no other income before ..."

Exactly Ted! They most certainly do need the money. The now hiring signs that I see as I criss cross the country are all low paying jobs so the options are very limited for people in need of work.

I read about the 350 times the average not too long ago. It boggles the mind. All the money is being funneled upward and only a dribble is going downward. It defies gravity! These same companies then complain that they can't provide health care for their workers. It is a crock of...well you know. Thanks Ted. You have hit on one of my favorite topics of conversation. the smaller and smaller group of haves and the growing and growing group of haves not.


message 11: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King An excellent review as ever Jeffrey. Imagine down and out in Paris! My.


message 12: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Lynne wrote: "An excellent review as ever Jeffrey. Imagine down and out in Paris! My."

It sure beats being down and out in Phoenix. :-) Thanks Lynne!


message 13: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King I always thought that Phoenix was rather nice?


message 14: by Steve (new)

Steve I like your review, Jeffrey, and the glimpse back at your character-building years, but I have issues with this book. My problem is indirect. It was my wife who read it, and it taught her that my years of bragging at having been a noble dishwasher would now ring hollow since, according to Orwell, the plongeur's job was so lowly regarded. C'est la guerre.


message 15: by Jeffrey (last edited Sep 26, 2014 11:21AM) (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Lynne wrote: "I always thought that Phoenix was rather nice?"

Phoenix is fine, but I'd rather be poor in Paris. :-) Oh and one must have a car to get anywhere in the sprawling expanse of Phoenix.


message 16: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Steve wrote: "I like your review, Jeffrey, and the glimpse back at your character-building years, but I have issues with this book. My problem is indirect. It was my wife who read it, and it taught her that my..."

Ahh yes, the low of the low, and you had to shave what I'm sure was glorious Rollie Fingers style mustaches. The dishwasher may not be a noble profession but at the end of the day a dishwasher knows he has earned his dime. I'm not sure I feel the same way every day in my current profession. :-)I would guess that your wife was onto you long before she read Orwell. haha Thanks Steve!


message 17: by Steve (new)

Steve :#) You're one for two, Jeffrey. My facial hair in high school left much to be desired. But you got my wife and her finely calibrated BS-o-meter exactly right. The people close to you no doubt have the same abilities.


message 18: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Steve wrote: ":#) You're one for two, Jeffrey. My facial hair in high school left much to be desired. But you got my wife and her finely calibrated BS-o-meter exactly right. The people close to you no doubt ..."

I allowed my mustaches to grow in for my senior year, but had to shave it for basketball. The coach did not appreciate my efforts to grow a silky worm under my nose. Oh, yes, those days of having my tall tales automatically believed have long become dust in the wind. :-)


message 19: by John (new)

John Behle Jeffrey--I like the photo selection. Your story of the bookstore is on target. There is a bookstore in Frederick Maryland that was a supermarket from the 1970s. They really do a great job of knowing where everything is.
I salute everyone who has worked in the book business.
But then, after the Paris restaurant stories, I'm suddenly not hungry.


message 20: by Forrest (new)

Forrest Great review! I've been in the poverty seat a couple of times myself, most notably when I was in grad school. We had two months when we ate almost nothing but rice and beans, because that's all we had. Thankfully, our youngest was still nursing and my other kids qualified for reduced lunches at school. I stumbled on one of the gifts I had made for my oldest son that year. We couldn't really afford to buy much. So I took an old piece of wood - a broom handle or something similar - and carved a rocketship flying to the moon through a field of shooting stars. I had some old paint and a can of ptotectant, so I painted it and, voila! Instant bas-relief carved space scene on a stick. We rediscovered it about two weeks ago, along with a wooden sword. Looks like the kids were probably fighting with them when we confiscated them and his them away (too well). When we gave the stick back to my 19 year old son, he was thrilled beyond words. I thought he was going to cry.


message 21: by Margitte (new)

Margitte Loved your review, as usual. You really takes us with you wherever you decide to take us in your reviews, and it works every time! What an interesting book!


message 22: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten John wrote: "Jeffrey--I like the photo selection. Your story of the bookstore is on target. There is a bookstore in Frederick Maryland that was a supermarket from the 1970s. They really do a great job of kno..."

Most people who work in bookstores do it for the "love of the game" as they say, not because they ever expect to earn a decent living. I loved my time in the bookstore biz and if I could afford it I'd still be working in the business. I support the business now, best, by earning enough money that I can afford to buy...way...too many books. :-)


message 23: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Forrest wrote: "Great review! I've been in the poverty seat a couple of times myself, most notably when I was in grad school. We had two months when we ate almost nothing but rice and beans, because that's all we ..."

Ahhh yes I've eaten many meals of rice and beans and sometimes just beans, lots of spaghetti and grill cheese. I was extremely trim in those days. :-)

What a great story about the carving. That rocket ship is now a piece of family history that should be passed down for many generations with more and more fantastical stories told about you and the carving of this archival piece. I think I would enhance the story with this was carved while on a whaler ship or while my ggg grandfather was in the foreign legion. haha Poverty is the best asset to creativity. Imagine if you 'd kept carving gifts. I might be trying to figure out how to afford a Totem Pole carved by the master carver Forrest. :-) Thank you for sharing this story. I've thought about it several times with a smile on my face thinking of your son seeing his treasure returned.


message 24: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Margitte wrote: "Loved your review, as usual. You really takes us with you wherever you decide to take us in your reviews, and it works every time! What an interesting book!"

Thank you Margitte! Books are magic carpet rides. I'm merely the scrivener that attempts to pass the magic along.


message 25: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean Brilliant review Jeffrey. I love Orwell, and I especially appreciated your personal take on this :)


message 26: by mihika (new)

mihika wow!!!wat a review!!!!:)


message 27: by mihika (new)

mihika you are looking like a big reader


message 28: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Jean wrote: "Brilliant review Jeffrey. I love Orwell, and I especially appreciated your personal take on this :)"

Thank you Jean! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!


message 29: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten mihika wrote: "wow!!!wat a review!!!!:)"

Thanks Mihika! I do like to read a bit here and there. :-)


message 30: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Cheryl wrote: "Really enjoyed reading your review, Jeffrey. You may have left some of yourself on the page. I hope you're saving them for your own publication. Thanks."

Thanks Cheryl! I do probably need to start thinking about stringing words together and see where it will take me. Writing reviews are certainly improving my writing and my confidence.


message 31: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Cheryl wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "Really enjoyed reading your review, Jeffrey. You may have left some of yourself on the page. I hope you're saving them for your own publication. Thanks."

Thanks Cher..."


I really appreciate that Cheryl!


message 32: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the word "maquereau" and it means pimp, right? Perhaps that was more derogatory then than it seems like now.

I think most co-workers probably get together after work to hash out the day...there is a camaraderie found no place else but with your co-workers.

Keep reading those fun books because they turn into fun reviews.


message 33: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Cathy wrote: "Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the word "maquereau" and it means pimp, right? Perhaps that was more derogatory..."

Thanks Cathy! Where I work now there is none of that camaraderie. A very conservative company which seems to equate to no mixing after hours. As the old publisher said after I attempted to make conversation with him by asking about sports, reading, etc etc, I have a VERY narrow focus.


message 34: by Cathy (last edited Oct 01, 2014 06:33AM) (new)

Cathy DuPont Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the word "maquereau" and it means pimp, right? Perhaps that was m..."

And you are the boss, remember? They probably get out and don't tell or ask you thinking you wouldn't be interested in their little chats...and your name probably comes up, too. You know what Jeff did today??? Oh, my, that Jeff, he's such a cut-up. If I worked for you, I wouldn't dare tell you what I was thinking. :D


message 35: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Cathy wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the word "maquereau" and it means pimp, right? Pe..."

I have a feeling that you might be rather BLUNT about what you were thinking to me. haha You could be right, my position is different for sure. In the book biz I was in the trenches with the troops, now I am generally far from the action, sipping tea, lifting my field glasses ever so often to see how things are going, dispatching new orders, and wondering when the orderly will bring me a danish (the tasty desert version not the blond bombshell version).


message 36: by Cathy (last edited Oct 01, 2014 02:05PM) (new)

Cathy DuPont Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the word "maquereau" and it means pi..."

Ha, ha! You forgot posting on Goodreads! :D You are just much too funny, Jeffrey. Who me? BLUNT? Surely you jest.


message 37: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Cathy wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the word "maquereau"..."

This GR thing is becoming such a cottage industry I might have to design a similar studio to Rembrandt and farm out my reviews to understudies. Before posting I would go in and add a Keetenesque flair to the final product...ok...I'll say it for you...Oh Brother! haha


message 38: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Hi Jeff: I love GOrwell and your review was such fun to read. Have to admit that my French is limited so looked up the wo..."

Oh Brother! Have to say it myself. You sound like James Patterson and his second in command whoever it may be this week.

Please tell me you would at least give your understudy some recognition like Patterson does.

Your Kenntenesque flair would be inclusion of what word?


message 39: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Burrough Fabulous book and a great review Jeffrey, thanks.


message 40: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten C.S. wrote: "Fabulous book and a great review Jeffrey, thanks."

Thanks C.S.! It certainly brought back some memories.


jasmine jada ford My name is paris


message 42: by Peter (new)

Peter That made me chuckle! Thanks Jeffrey.


message 43: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Peter wrote: "That made me chuckle! Thanks Jeffrey."

:-) You are welcome Peter. Thanks for reading the review!


message 44: by Vessey (new)

Vessey Well, now I am afraid to go to a restaurant, but aside from that, great review. I really like it how you have emphasized the importance of gaining experience and the personal angle. There it is an example how hardships not only separate, but also bring people closer together.


message 45: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Vessy wrote: "Well, now I am afraid to go to a restaurant, but aside from that, great review. I really like it how you have emphasized the importance of gaining experience and the personal angle. There it is an ..."

The rule is always be nice to the waiter although there is a waiter in Paris who is lucky he isn't wearing permanent impressions of my knuckles on his face. :-) I did restrain myself even though he was so insulting that he really did deserve an attitude adjustment. I dreamed of the various things I should have done to him for the rest of the trip. :-) I think that everyone should do a stint working in a restaurant or working retail. It would give them maybe a bit more patience with those that may have moments of struggle trying to serve them.


message 46: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Sabah wrote: "Brilliant review and on one of my most favourite authors. Thankyou for sharing your impoverished day, it's what make this review from great to excellent. I recall mine just as easily and remember w..."

This book certainly reminded me of those belt tightening moments (when I could afford a belt)in my life. Living in Arizona of course a car was essential; therefore, gas was essential. The battle to keep feeding the monster so it would carry me to work and school was always one I was on the verge of losing. I did learn that I didn't like being poor. A good lesson that certainly influenced many future decisions. Thanks Sabah! I hope you enjoy the book.


message 47: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Hades wrote: "Excellent review - nothing like an empty stomach to quickly adjust one's priorities, amazing how much time is wasted on triviality. My E light was red, and the sickening tension and stress of runni..."

Thanks Hades! We do waste so much time on things that don't really matter. I was in constant fear of hearing that chug, chug of the fuel pump trying to muster up a few more ounces of gas before expiring completely. Even now to this day I still feel a pleasant sense of well being every time I start my vehicle and see the gauge pointing to F.


message 48: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Hades wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: ". Even now to this day I still feel a pleasant sense of well being every time I start my vehicle and see the gauge pointing to F."

So glad you said this, a furtive smile slides acr..."


There are things I would change about my life, but not being poor. Everything I do, everything I invest in, or any new venture is done with a healthy amount of certainty. I firmly believe in only risking what I can afford to lose. I don't hit home runs, but I rarely strike out sort of like my Royals. :-) Money is after all rather boring, but not having enough to sustain oneself is an all consuming problem. Starving does seem to lead to some compelling writing though. :-)


message 49: by Jessaka (new)

Jessaka Very good review. I really like your personal touches too.


message 50: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Jessica wrote: "Very good review. I really like your personal touches too."

Thanks Jessica! I definitely could identify with aspects of this book. I learned a lot about myself walking that line between poverty and having just enough.


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