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Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Motherer's Will to Survive

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Motherer's Will to Survive

"My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter."

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work — primarily done by women — fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter's head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today's inequitable society.

While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told. The stories of overworked and underpaid Americans.

Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, 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. With this book, she gives voice to the "servant" worker, those who fight daily to scramble and scrape by for their own lives and the lives of their children.

Author: Stephanie Land | Publisher: Hachette Books

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Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette for providing me with this book in exchange for a review! Maid is out January 22nd, 2019.

I love a well-written memoir, and this did not disappoint. Stephanie Land always knew she was meant to be a writer — she was right. Maid is well constructed, well written, and impactful.

One caveat: Stephanie is a white woman who struggled in a mostly white area of the United States. This book does not, nor does anything indicate that it intends to, speak for all single mothers in poverty. However, this privilege is also not explicitly recognized in the book.

Still, what it does do is paint a detailed picture of what it was like for Stephanie, and probably many others like her, to live through her circumstances. She had gotten pregnant accidentally during a non-serious fling with Jaime, who tried to convince her to abort. Then he became abusive. Once Stephanie managed to leave, she had nowhere to go — her family was either unable or unwilling to take her in. They were homeless.

She went from homeless shelter to low-income housing to another poor relationship to a moldy studio, etc. She did nothing but calculate how likely it was that they'd soon be homeless again at any given moment. She did her best to take care of her child, and she was also human. It's poignant.

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