In betrekking

      1 Comment on In betrekking

Oh yes, I read another book! I don’t know how to translate the title properly though, so I kept it Dutch. I found this book while cleaning out the cabinet. Of course I cannot remember anymore when and where I bought it, but it was still sealed. Since I was really craving for a biography, it didn’t take long to read it.

Maria van der Ent is grows up in a big family living in Rotterdam. She is rather smart, but as a lot of girls at the beginning of the 20th century she had to quit school early to go “in betrekking”. Her mother rents her to another family to work as a maid. For the next thirteen years she works for different families, higher and higher in society. At twenty-four she marries her love. When her husbands company turns out to be very successful Maria even starts to have maids of her own.

She never talked about her ‘demeaning’ time as a maid, until her youngest son asks her about her life before marriage. Maria remembers everything perfectly and starts to write down her memories. Her son published this ‘letter’ as a book after her death.

Maria writes about her life in great detail. General behavior, etiquette and everyday life, her struggles with fate, the differences between the poor and rich families during the depression, what being a maid was like and what weird things you would come across… It’s so well written the story sucks you back into time! It really makes you feel like you are there, as a cat watching life go by. Unfortunately Maria’s memories aren’t translated, if it was I would really recommend it.

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