07 January 2022

Review: At Home - A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

At Home - A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson audiobook cover

British author Bill Bryson's enthusiasm for history is contagious and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to At Home - A Short History of Private Life

In this offering, Bryson looks at the history of private life by breaking down our domestic lives and examining them through the lens of the rooms contained within the Victorian parsonage in which he lives.*

Read by the author in his instantly recognisable delivery (now a favourite audiobook narrator alongside Hugh Mackay and David Sedaris) the book contains 19 chapters including: The Study, The Attic, The Bedroom, The Scullery and Larder, and The Nursery to name a few.

My favourite chapter by far was The Stairs, as I'm fascinated by just how dangerous and deadly the stairs were in households. The stairs used by servants and domestic staff were steep, cramped, and often included steps of uneven height. This was a disaster waiting to happen for staff rushing up and down stairs countless times a day, and was the cause of many accidents and deaths.

The role of clergy and their subsequent decline was interesting, although Bryson seemed to deviate from his own structure on occasion to expound on other tangential topics of interest. Finding the majority of the content presented interesting, I didn't mind this at all, however some readers might.

Informative, educational and entertaining, I can highly recommend At Home - A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson and will check out more of his works in the future.

*And yes, I just broke a personal rule never to use the word 'lives' and 'lives' in the same sentence, but I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

My Rating:

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