Customer Reviews for

Down and Out in Paris and London

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Another thought-provoker by Orwell.

The main point of this book really isn't to entertain you with a story that is happy and ends with all the loose ends tied up in a pretty little package. Orwell attempted to show the true side of poverty, and clear up many of the general public's misconceptions regardin...
The main point of this book really isn't to entertain you with a story that is happy and ends with all the loose ends tied up in a pretty little package. Orwell attempted to show the true side of poverty, and clear up many of the general public's misconceptions regarding poverty. Just as he did in 1984 and Animal Farm, Orwell wrote a very thought-provoking, powerful story that has the power to alter your perceptions of the issues presented.

posted by kief120 on June 7, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

E book full of typos

While the book itself is a great read, this electronic version is full of typos. Most look like they're due to a poor job of scanning the print version and getting a lot of mis-reads; i.e. "mc" for "me", etc. Also, this is the censored Harcourt edition, full of "---" as...
While the book itself is a great read, this electronic version is full of typos. Most look like they're due to a poor job of scanning the print version and getting a lot of mis-reads; i.e. "mc" for "me", etc. Also, this is the censored Harcourt edition, full of "---" as substitutions for censored words.
This would be forgivable in a free or low $ edition, but for $10 I'd expect a little more.

posted by 4239639 on September 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Brutal and frank in nature

    Reading Orwell in both fiction and non-fiction is a treat and torture. You aren't going to be happy but you will be entertained and informed. The bare honesty of this book ranks it among the best in describing the attitude of society toward the destitute and vice-versa. Being written in such a far removed time does not make this book irrelavent, it shows an underlying unchanging constant in western society that is as alive today as it was when the book was written.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Orwell at his finest!

    You will not find a more honest, more realistic, or better storyteller than George Orwell. The book is told through a character who is a writer(Orwell) who explains the life of a plongeur in Paris as well as a tramp in London. The book provides vivid description with astonishingly real storytelling. Anyone who wants a quick, intelligent read then choose this book. The best part of the book is the insight that Orwell provides on society's view on poverty and the homeless' view on poverty. The characters that he meets in his journey will entertain you and haunt you as well. A truly honest, intelligent book and author!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Understated and enlightening.

    Possibly one of the most underrated novels I have ever read. Orwell's writing is, as with most of his essays and novels, simple and understated. He provides nothing more or less than an account of his experiences with poverty and how that period in his life shaped his worldview. What I love most about Orwell is that he was, believe it or not, the perfect "everyman;" Down and Out gives us no stunning or beautiful revelations, but allows us to live as he did for a couple hundred pages. The details of the restaurant culture in Paris are fascinating, and Orwell's gradual acceptance of destitution through the novel is enlightening.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2006

    Slums of Perserverance

    Down and Out in Paris and London is an eye-opening book about the life of a man who lives a life of poverty. He is an Englishman who is down on his luck in a Paris slum. He works as a low servant, or plongeur, in several Paris restaurants. He only makes enough money for a cheap room, a bread diet, and several francs in drinks a week. In comparison to the standards of many poor people in the slums of Paris, he is well off. After several weeks of a horrific schedule of working, he decides to leave Paris and enter London. He expects to find a better life in his home country, but he quickly finds out otherwise. He ends up with no money and no job. He enters the life of a English tramp, and wanders the country in search of spikes where he can spend the night in cells, as sleeping on the streets is forbidden by law. He reminisces back to his times in Paris and how well off he was in comparison to his life in England. He is taken aback by the quantity of tramps England held and the system to keep them moving without any control over where they were headed. Orwell also goes on about the degree of separation between the poor, the rich, and the tramps. He argues that there is not much difference between a man and a tramp, but the society and stereotypes have created two different men out of one man, and it all depends on the clothes he wears. If a man is wearing a business suit, he is sure to be eyed by women and respected by the businessmen he meets. If the next day the same man were to wear a filthy tramp coat, he is immediately ignored by women and businessmen and introduced to an entirely new world. Other arguments Orwell makes in this piece are the many points of view that can be taken for each situation. For example, when the main character in the story is in Paris, he believes that the conditions could not get any worse. When he arrives in London, he is quick to realize that his life was not as bad as it had become in his home country. I enjoyed the honesty and the brutal truth about the culinary establishments in Paris. It was entertaining to read on about the true conditions of the lower class and what the life of one of those lowerclassmen contained on a daily basis. It has some heartwarming appeals to pathos when even the dirt poor people are able to use their money on things that are needed by character instead of by their stomach. It sheds a better light on the lower class, and the book as a whole gives you a greater understanding for the hardships of the tramps and beggars all over the world. It shows that it is nearly impossible to escape the endless cycle of false charity and endless labor intensive job searching. From the second that I picked up this book, it was nearly impossible to put it down, and sleep usually came over me before I could take my eyes off of its pages. It is a well written piece of literature that will open your eyes to the reality of poverty. It is a heartwarming tale of beggars who feel pride in simple sidewalk drawings and expensive weekly shavings. It is a story of overcoming insurmountable obstacles. I highly suggest reading this book and it is packed full of arguments that will make you rethink the stereotypes set about a city slum. It is a place of people who have been defeated by the system, and not people who have caused their solemn fate. Orwell will keep you entertained throughout each page, and it is a book that is worth reading. Its contents are truthful, and it may open your eyes to the truths about poverty and false luxury that will cause some serious thinking at points inside the novel. It will make you rethink the heart of a slum, from a place filled with people who cause trouble to a place of broken people who have no other choice but to try and sustain themselves in the only environment possible. It will make you aware of the most feared sections of cities around the world. The people living there are people who persist with conditions and funds unimaginably ba

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2007

    Humanizing Poverty

    It's a semi-autobiographical book highlighting a poor man's life in the backstreets of Paris and London. It's about hunger, poverty, dignity, humanity and the contempt that the better off have for the poor. Orwell does an excellent job at making the reader feel horror at the conditions and quality of life and at the same time humanizing the people living the life - making the reader connect with the nameless, seemingly disposable vagrants. The books is full of rich imagery and anyone reading the book will immediately feel transported to the poor slums of Paris and London.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2000

    Marvelous book! powerful + enthralling

    Orwell truly has a way with words, and he creates a page-turner here. The 'seemy' side of Paris and London are revealed to a writer with an uncanny eye for detail, and a skilled hand with which to write it down. Read it as journalism or just read it for fun. You can't go wrong with this one. [Almost as good as his Homage to Catalonia; better than many of his other works.]

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Examines the differences between the richer and the poorer population. Outstanding social commentary !

    George Orwell makes the life of a disenfranchised man and his daily struggles come alive ! Really eye opening into a different world.This book deals with issues still existing today, except that todays prejudice falls to people using social services. As usual, he is on point, leaving no room for doubt.

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