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Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive (2019)

by Stephanie Land

Other authors: Barbara Ehrenreich (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8094322,106 (3.59)33
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich. At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor. Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path. Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.… (more)
  1. 00
    On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (kristenl)
    kristenl: Coincidentally I was listening to this at the same time that I read Maid. Although it is a fictionalized young adult novel about a Black girl, the descriptions of poverty felt very similar.
  2. 00
    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (LovingLit)
  3. 00
    Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Micheller7)
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» See also 33 mentions

English (42)  Spanish (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
A really great book by an excellent writer. It is her story of how she was in an abusive relationship, ended up pregnant, left the relationship, was homeless with a baby/toddler, and worked her ass off to reach her dreams. Easy to read, caused tears more than once. Highly recommend for those who may not understand the complexity of failed relationships and how badly they can go and how devastating it is to begin with nothing. The slowness of healing, regaining some footing, trusting others, loneliness and then to experience another set-back that for most would be relatively minor--missing a day of work. I hope that Stephanie writes many more books! ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
An inspiring story of a young woman, working as a maid, to support her young daughter, and also trying to improve her life, despite the obstacles, and challenges, coming at her from all sides.
I really enjoyed this no holds barred story of Stephanie, who struggled against all adversity, to make a better life for her and her young 3 year old daughter. ( )
  deaflower | Jan 26, 2022 |
I found it hard to write a review for "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive" because of how much I related to Stephanie Land, but I was in so much better shape. I felt guilty. I experienced many of the same things she did, although I was an office worker making over $30k a year. Raising a family of three on $30k a year in the northeast in the 1990s was not easy. I remember having no car and finding a way to work in a different state. When I got sick, I lost my job and applied for food stamps. The best part of shopping is ringing up your groceries, hearing at the top of the electronic volume, "You are paying with EBT Food Stamps!"

But Stephanie Land got out of the land of EBT Food Stamps. Good for her! Thanks for writing the book. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
After watching MAID on Netflix, I began to follow author Stephanie Land on Twitter. I love her vulnerability about being her anxiety, writing life, raising children, being married, and having a dog, so when her local bookstore offered signed copied of MAID, I snatched one up immediately.

The book MAID is different than the Netflix series, but both showcase two major themes: the dangers of emotional abuse and how hard it is for an American woman (and maybe any American) to break free from the poverty cycle. Emotional abuse is destructive and life-altering, but many people don't consider it domestic violence because there are no physical scars or marks. As for Stephanie's poverty story, I wanted to simultaneously punch the wall (because the hurdles she had to jump were crazy) and cry (again, because of the hurdles...). Dignity is not part of our American social services for the poor.

This was a fast read; I constantly thought about Stephanie when I wasn't reading MAID (even though I *know* she's okay!). I look forward to more works from this author. She is an amazing storyteller with a knack for pulling you into the scene. Highly recommended! ( )
  mrstreme | Dec 6, 2021 |
Stephanie Land illustrates well the plight of many single moms and the working poor. I appreciated hearing her story in her own voice. Good argument against the stereotype of people on welfare being lazy and ignorant. ( )
  elifra | Oct 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephanie Landprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ehrenreich, BarbaraForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I've learned that making a living is not the same as making a life
—Maya Angelou.
Dedication
For Mia:
Goodnight
I love you
See you in the
morning.
—Mom
First words
My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.
Quotations
Povert was like a stagnant pond of mud that pulled at our feet and refused to let go.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich. At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor. Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path. Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

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