As a writer, I’m always looking for a book to inspire and motivate me. Nancy Peacock’s third novel, A Broom of One’s Own makes me want to write . . . and clean my house. It is the unfiltered account of the life of a published author who struggles to find balance between life and work and making them coincide despite society’s (and her own) misconceptions about what it means to be a writer. Nancy Peacock knocks the dust off of the notion that the life of a published author is always glamorous like J.K. Rowling or Steven King. Although she is published, she continues to work while she writes. Currently she teaches writing, but her novel consist of reflections of when she was a housecleaner.
What makes this novel so enjoyable is the author’s observations. Her observations are honest and witty, and often poignant. Cleaning houses is not something she enjoyed and certainly not usually considered an interesting topic to write about, but I was gripped by this novel from the first page by her wisdom and the nuances of her descriptions. She didn’t just describe a house, she described the feel of it, the personality of the rooms and the inhabitants. For instance, she describes a house where a woman collects bears. She doesn’t simply make a list of all the bears she has, but focuses on one in particular. She could have just said it had burgandy fur and gold button eyes, but she mentions how she believes they were put on him by mistake in the factory, and how she gave him a hug when he fell off the bench when she was vacumming because she “felt he needed one.” She doesn’t just notice cobwebs that need dusting or toilets that need scrubbing. She scrutinizes behaviors, patterns, feelings, and characteristics of the people around her.
Whether a writer or a housecleaner, no matter what you do for a living, you can appreciate A Broom of One’s Own. I enjoyed reading it so much, I’ve already read it twice. I plan to put it back on the shelf, let it get dusty (as I am not as diligent a cleaner as Nancy), knock the dust off and read it again. Nancy has alot to say about writing, housecleaning, and life. She proves, you can be a writer, no matter how you make your living.