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Close the door softly behind you… by Emmaleen Kriel PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 July 2007 18:00
The image “http://www.struik.co.za/book/images/books//2020.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Close the door softly behind you… is Emmaleen Kriel’s first book, and it is full of a fresh candour rarely seen in more established writers. The mother of seven children, she finds herself somewhat stranded when her husband dies, leaving her searching for a way to provide for her future.

Instead of relying on the kindness of others, she decides to take matters into her own hands (a characteristic trait, as we find out during the course of the book) and moves to England to work as a carer, cook and housekeeper for various individuals. This book is the result of her four years of work. It is written largely in diary format, interspersed with letters that she writes home to her large family and close group of friends. She is not afraid to gripe and moan when things get unpleasant (as they often do – some of her duties include changing a catheter and feeding an intractable old man) and she readily admits to homesickness and a fair bit of life questioning.

What is so refreshing about Close the door softly behind you… is Kriel’s refusal to be anything other than what she is. She mentions her growing love of writing often, and she happily enumerates the joys and difficulties of motherhood. She does not claim to be an expert on anything else.

More than anything, though, this book offers a glimpse into the world of household service, made more poignant by Kriel’s open letter to her former maids in South Africa. It is a moving conclusion to a book full of heart.

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