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One Pair of Hands by Monica Dickens

One Pair of Hands

by Monica Dickens

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Former society girl Monica Dickens (great-grandaughter of Charles) decides her life of leisure and gaiety has no point and takes a series of jobs as a cook-general. She has no real qualifications and bluffs her way into various places and is suprisingly competent most of the time. However, it is her howling mistakes that make for the fun of this little memoir. Very enjoyable and lightweight.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
Really enjoyed this slice of everyday life. ( )
  girlwriter | Mar 31, 2010 |
This is such a surprising story for its time. Monica Dickens decides to go and find a job--because she's bored! Not only does she find a number of jobs, she sticks with a ridiculously difficult profession even though she has little need to do so. Her determination is admirable, and her insights into herself and others are sharp, uncompromising, and very funny.

it's interesting to compare this to the BBC Upstairs Downstairs series, which I'm currently watching on DVD; the Bellamys' servants had a life of unyielding hard work as well, but fared better than Monica in part because they worked together and relied on each other. Being a cook general was a lonely and thankless job no matter who the employer was.
2 vote kdcdavis | Mar 6, 2010 |
Monica Dickens's irreverent chronicle of life as a cook-general. It is an uproarious backstairs view of the English upper classes in moments of comedy, drama, selfishness and childish pique. Here is fun, wit, malice and, in the face of the tartars who rule on both sides of the baize door, courage.
  edella | Jul 15, 2009 |
Interesting reading. Set between WWI and WWII. author is great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens.
  revdacia | Aug 6, 2007 |
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It is interesting that this book has recently been republished having first been published in 1939, perhaps because of the current popularity of Downtown Abbey and the fascination with Upstairs Downstairs life. Monica Dickens wrote this book aged only 22, already a lively and interesting writer with a subtle sense of humor. For women who now work outside the home as well as cook and do their own housework today the chapters devoted to Monica’s stories of working as a full time cook general in quite small households are amazing, perhaps less so when she mentions the all- prevailing grime and soot of pre war London.

Kevin Peterson
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Her irreverent chronicle of life as a cook general. An uproarious backstairs view of the English upper classes in moments of comedy, drama, selfishness, and childish pique. Here is fun, wit, malice and - in the face of the tartars who rule on both sides of the green baize door - courage.
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After being expelled from drama schools and exhausted by the deb party circuit, Monica Dickens takes on the role of cook-general for the English upper classes.

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