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The Hired Girl

Narrated by: Rachel Botchan
Length: 12 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (362 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ever since the untimely death of her mother, 14-year-old Joan Skraggs has been desperately unhappy. Under the thumb of her cruel father and three sullen brothers, Joan lives like a servant on their farm just outside of Lancaster, forever cooking, cleaning, and attending to the many demands of the home. But she has little freedom and less support from her family for her love of reading and blossoming interest in education. But when her father tells Joan she can't go to school anymore, it sets off a journey that will see her become first a runaway, then a hired girl on $6 a week, and finally her very own young woman.

Set in America during the optimistic years before the First World War, and told through a series of journal entries, The Hired Girl is the story of a young girl in search of real life and true love. It takes in feminism and housework; money, religion, and social class; literature and education, romanticism and realism, first love and sexual yearnings, cats, hats, and bunions. And it's a comedy.

©2015 Laura Amy Schlitz (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I loved this book! Recommend it to everyone!

What did you love best about The Hired Girl?

I loved the intertwining of a Jewish family and the innocence of a Gentile 14 year of girl who is introduced to evil and her ability to reject it and recognize good and to call out evil as well. I loved Joan/Janette's reaction to her first kiss. I am in my 50s now and nearing 60 and it brought back memories of my own when I was a teenager and my first kiss. I cannot put into words how sweet this entire story was to me. I am a gentile and I love the Jewish people and this story was a joy to read.

Which character – as performed by Rachel Botchan – was your favorite?

Rachel had the wonderful ability to pronounce Yiddish and she played Malka beautifully. Her entire performance was so enjoyable.

Any additional comments?

There maybe reviews that talk about this book only being for teenage girls but I have to say I disagree. It is refreshing to experience a story from the eyes of a young girl who runs away from a horrible father seeking a better life and willing to work hard. Though her life has been hard, she has not become hard and still has a sweet innocence not seen very often anymore and a sincerity about herself. Her struggle with truth and honesty and repentance. I smiled as I listened to her become a part of the Rosenbach family and it touched my heart. This is one of my favorite books I have heard/read in years. If the world and all its pornography has not crept inside your heart and if you enjoy talented writing and performances, if you love the Jewish people or are interested in how two different families with different religions live in one home, you will enjoy this book as well.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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An Instant Classic

Laura Amy Schlitz is a favorite author of mine and THE HIRED GIRL is now my favorite of her works. The narrative voice is unforgettable, reminiscent of Anne Shirley from Lucy Maude Montgomery's classic. Set in 1911, Joan/Janet is an intelligent, fourteen year old girl with a fierce desire to educate herself and be more than a housekeeper and farm hand to her brutal father and three brothers. She runs away to Baltimore where she lies about her age and finds herself taken on as the hired girl in the Rosenbach household. There, she is educated in so many disciplines, from literature to philosophy to religion, art and love. Her diary recounts all her painful, childish mistakes and her exuberant joys over the course of six months, picking up a year later as she is about to begin a new phase of her life. Schlitz's writing is magnificent and so authentic and Rachel Botchan's reading captures Joan's voice beautifully. All girls need to read THE HIRED GIRL.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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I'd give this 10 stars if you had them!

Would you listen to The Hired Girl again? Why?

Wonderful story of a bright 14 year old girl in 1911 who leaves a miserable home situation and finds a new life (as a ‘Hired Girl’) in Philadelphia. This would be a fairly charming story of life at that time and of growing up (probably not a story for guys) except for the reader who turns the whole tale into something marvelous. Her voice of the girl as she becomes a young woman and the overall performance is brilliant.

What other book might you compare The Hired Girl to and why?

This book is somewhat like Jane Eyre which the title character references frequently.

Have you listened to any of Rachel Botchan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first performance of hers I've experienced but I will certainly look for more.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Megan
  • Salinas, CA, United States
  • 01-28-18

Lovely listen

There is something wonderful that happens when the right narrator reads the right story. That is what happened here. Glorious!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The narrator was great company. I want to read more books read by her

Although this book is written for teenagers, which I am not, it very much had my attention throughout. It's a great story and that is just what I was looking for right now.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dorothy
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 12-20-15

Wonderful theme, perfectly narrated!

A delightful and informative story about Jewish tradition vis a vis Catholic doctrine in 1911 Baltimore. Anyone who's straddled both worlds will greatly enjoy the adventures of a lovable 14 year old narrator.
This book is a real jewel.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Lovely story, excellent performance!

A sweet and thought - provoking story rife with sparkling description. Excellent performance by the reader!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A unique view through a girls life...

The narration was good and the story was great. I especially loved how the story was told through the writings of the young girls diary. The characters were vivid and it left me wanting more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Chharming!

Filled with both truth and refinement. Truth about mistakes, and how they refine sweet Joan.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Totally girlie

I adored this quick read. It's a journal of a 14 year old, and she writes exactly how she feels about everything. Not holding back at all. Loved re-living first kisses, first love, and truly finding out that everything happens for a reason. Good Read 😎.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful