Down and Out in Paris and London…

So it’s no secret that I love a good book! Who doesn’t? Getting lost in a story, taking your mind off of your own life for a while – there’s nothing more therapeutic. Especially in the winter months, getting all snuggled up and filling your mind with the lives and imagination of others…


okay I’ll stop with the fantasising now!

My recent book of choice was “Down and out in Paris and London” by the great George Orwell. Never having read one of his books before I was a little sceptical as I tend to stick to specific authors that I know I like but it was recommended to me by a friend so I gave it a go – And let’s say I’m glad I did!


As you will know from previous blogs I have done work with the homeless and I don’t know if it’s weird to state but here it goes – I have an interest in the homeless.

Yes, that sounds odd BUT let me redeem my statement:

Becoming homeless is something that could happen to anybody! It’s one of those things people believe will never happen to them but the truth of it is, there is a genuine and frightening possibility for everyone. I am truly fascinated about how people become homeless, and what they do to rectify the situation – there are so many variables and I personally believe that it is your state of mind that will make you or break you in these situations.


So now that’s cleared up here it goes…

Down and out in Paris and London is the story of George Orwell’s struggle with poverty in two of the most iconic cities in the world, it is a true story based on actual events and is an insightful, informative and opinionated rendition of living on the bread line in the late 20’s early 30’s.


It includes stories of individuals he met in this time and is both humorous and hard hitting. However, although the book is based on a sensitive and emotional subject, it’s not something that got me down, more than anything it got me thinking:

1. about how lucky I am

2. That you should always work hard and not take anything for granted to ensure these situations do not occur

3. (which anyone from shenfield high school will appreciate) proper preparation prevents poor performance

4. be careful who you trust

5. what can I do to help people in this situation

etc.etc. I could go on about my thought process but you get the picture.. it’s a thought provoking read.


Although I miss holding a real book a kindle does have its perks and nifty little tricks – one of which being “popular highlight” which documents the parts of the book that are highlighted most often.

Here’s a few to give you a jist of the book:

” The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit”

“It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level” 

“Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggers fail, and for this they are despised”


I will leave you now to form your own opinion… If you are looking for a light hearted read which provokes no thought and requires no commitment or intellect I would suggest looking elsewhere but if what I have relayed interests you, give it a go 🙂

And as a quick footnote; as the winter months roll in think about what you can do for your local homeless or people in need – find your nearest foodbank, shelter or family living in poverty and consider donating any unwanted clothes, food or bedding.

Thanks, Laura x


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