Monday, March 9, 2009

Publisher's Weekly review 3/9/2009
Inspired in part by “the prime cleaner,” her mother, essayist Lewis (Life Inside: A Memoir) brings Malveaux together with an impressive range of opinions and related issues regarding keeping house in the 21st century. In “Cleaning Ambivalence,” Julianne Malveaux calls keeping house “a dreaded chore for some, a cheerful obsession for others, and a fact of life for most of us.” Other standouts include Joyce Maynard, who traces the correlation between housekeeping arguments and the dissolution of her marriage; and Rebecca Walker, who imagines the efforts her grandparents, sharecroppers who “could be evicted without as much as a week’s notice,” put into creating a stable environment: “They must have grasped at whatever rituals they could...keeping clothes and linens sparkling clean and freshly ironed, displaying fresh fruit... to ease a pervasive feeling of powerlessness.” It seems significant attention was paid to finding not just a talented collection of writers (also including Louise DeSalvo, Kyoko Morri, Richard Goodman and Louise Rafkin) but a diverse set of perspectives, keeping this collection fresh despite narrow subject matter. (Apr.)

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