Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning & Life by Nancy Peacock

This is the last "short book" for a while. I promise. I had a backlog of them that I hadn't posted about.  I actually liked this one.  The author is no Anne Lamott and you can tell that's what she was going for (I guess Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is pretty hard to replicate), but she still has something to offer.

Nancy Peacock is an author whose day job is cleaning houses.  As you can imagine, that right there is a lot of fodder for a book. This poor woman had clients who would walk around naked in front of her because they viewed her pretty much the same way they did their dog, part of the scenery, not important enough to worry about.  There was a client would regularly leave a giant turd in the toilet on cleaning day just to taunt her. There were people who would try to take advantage of her by making her do heavy lifting (something she's not paid to do) and then guilting her if she didn't acquiesce.

From a voyeuristic standpoint, I have to admit I kind of enjoyed hearing about the dysfunctional lives of the rich and crazy. But, the writing tips weren't all that insightful.  In fact, the best advice gave she direct quoted out of Write Your Heart Out by Rebecca McClanahan.

So, if you're just looking for an afternoon read and have ever worked in other people's homes, you'd definitely enjoy this.  If you're looking for writing advice, try Lamott, McClanahan or any of the other writers she mentions in her extensive bibliography.

My Personal Philosophy on Cleaning Rigorously


  1. This sounds like one that I will pass on. I think the stories about how she was treated by clients would make me angry, and given your observations about the less than stellar writing tips, there doesn't seem to be much point.

  2. Yeah, I thought it would be better than it was. I'm curious about her fiction titles--they were both well-reviewed by Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly, so I think I might get around to trying one someday. This particular book felt like her publisher was on her back to write something and so she figured she pump out a quick book, adhering to the old adage "write what you know."