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One Pair of Hands Hardcover – 1954

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1954
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: MICHAEL JOSEPH (1954)
  • ASIN: B000S9T4MI
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,775,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was one of the most delightful books I have read in ages. Monica Dickens (great-granddaughter of Charles), despite her privileged upbringing, despite being presented at Court as a debutante, is bored and has little desire to do the rounds of social events expected of a young upper class girl in the mid 1930s. And so she decides to try her hand at domestic service. If you have ever enjoyed watching the wonderful "Upstairs Downstairs" series or reading other tales which reflect the upstairs downstairs lives of the British class system, this is for you. It is light, entertaining and the author writes so fluidly, it has inspired me to begin reading more of her works.
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Format: Paperback
Monica Dickens, the great-grandaughter of Charles Dickens, fits into the "good sport" type of memoirist, recalling life experiences for which she was quite unprepared. I think of Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I." Apparently well-to-do, Ms. Dickens decided to work as a Cook General for a couple years during the 1930's. The book is a chronicle of her relationships and experiences with various employers. I fully expected that the various households would blend into each other but was delighted to discover how vividly the personalities were portrayed, and so they remained distinct. Most memorable was the clothing designer with a constant finger on the call button, a mistrust of her spending habits and a penchant for draping her in fabrics to envision his newest creations. Some may have a problem with the fact that Ms. Dickens took on the job as a lark and could return to her comfortable life at any time, but the fact is that she really was up to her elbows in the muck of a 1930's kitchen. All in all, I found it a delightful read, although the final chapter which recounts a lecture on "The Problem of the Servant Today" is tedious and merely restates in an arid manner the "problems" so well-documented in the rest of the book.
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By A Customer on November 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Monica Dicken's autobiographical novels are some of the most delightful books I have ever read. I first read "One pair of hands" some 25 years ago after finding an old copy in my local library. I rarely remember novels, but her's were so entertaining, I simply could not forget them. Her exploits trying to make it as a servant, even though she knew little about cleaning or cooking, are really funny--something akin to "I Love Lucy." I hope some day that some smart movie producer takes all of her novels and makes a series of movies about them--at least Masterpiece Theatre ought to be interested! Monica Dickens wrote about being a reporter, training as a nurse, and working in a factory making airplanes for the war as well. Her books are worth finding in a used book store. I got to reread them through inter-library loan from Meridith College, Raleigh, NC.
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By A Customer on July 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a situational comedy of its times - of a well-bred English girl who, because she was bored, decided to become a cook among other things. She is not highly successful even by her own standards - the souffle went soggy, the scones were burnt etc. and she is sooo tired, and stressed and flustered - but for the reader, it is terribly hilarious.
Its not "deep" (don't expect any sermons on the poverty gap - she spent all her earnings on clothes) but do expect a laugh or two.
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By A Customer on January 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I thought it would be difficult to make an interesting book out of someone's life as a kitchen servant, but this is a great book -- and a vivid look at British society's levels 50 years ago. A great read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yikes.....I expected a realy fun book on cooking or something to do with that from this author....
this was the MOST boring, repetitive, dull book.,....the author trying to be funny on almost every line and totally missed it. I am a voracious reader...and it's rare for me to throw a book in the trash when I'm done...but I did with this one.
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Format: Paperback
Monica Dickens has a gift for relating things humorously and the ability to laugh at herself. This book shows the lifestyle of the very rich in old England compared with that of the very poor. A must read, if there ever was one.
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Format: Paperback
Looking for a light but well-written book? This is it. Absolutely charming.
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