Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Down and Out in Paris and LondonDown and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Based upon his real-life experience as a scullery worker in a Paris hotel and a tramp in London, George Orwell’s recounting of the stories of the impecunious stands alone in its authenticity of the content and veracity of the experiences. The substantiality of poverty was boredom and inconvenience, because poverty freed people from standards of ordinary behaviors. Nevertheless, this book is not a book of socialist manifesto that urges the impecunious to revolt against the establishment, nor a pamphlet for advocating the welfare of the poor. It’s an investigative report on the people on the lowest and lower rungs of a social ladder. Orwell hoped that his readers would at least change their acerbic views on the low and the lowest because their situations were created through no fault of their own or voluntarily. And I hope there will be more like this book in our time.

Breakfast at Sally’s by Richard LeMieux

Breakfast at Sally'sBreakfast at Sally’s by Richard LeMieux

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In addition to George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London that was written in the early 20th century, this book is an artless account of a man deprived of the securities of life that reveals daily aspects of the homeless and their situations, which have not been drastically changed since the Orwell’s time period. No man is born to be homeless, but his situation plunges him into such deprivation. So you can never judge a homeless person based upon your assumption that he must have caused his own downfall. It’s not that simple. It’s a social phenomenon that all of us are somehow responsible for. But this book was not written with a fist clenched in anger but with affection for humanity the author felt and shared with his friends at the Salvation Army, the pastor who manifested the milk of human kindness forthwith, and Willow, the author’s faithful canine (Bichon Frise) companion. This book will touch your heart one way or another, and if it doesn’t, then your heart is made of steel.