NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND INSPIRATION FOR THE NETFLIX LIMITED SERIES, HAILED BY ROLLING STONE AS "A GREAT ONE." "A single mother's personal, unflinching look at America's class divide, a description of the tightrope many families walk just to get by, and a reminder of the dignity of all work."
-PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, Obama's Summer Reading List
At 28, Stephanie Land's dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer quickly dissolved when a summer fling turned into an unplanned pregnancy. Before long, she found herself a single mother, scraping by as a housekeeper to make ends meet.
Maid is an emotionally raw, masterful account of Stephanie's years spent in service to upper middle class America as a "nameless ghost" who quietly shared in her clients' triumphs, tragedies, and deepest secrets. Driven to carve out a better life for her family, she cleaned by day and took online classes by night, writing relentlessly as she worked toward earning a college degree. She wrote of the true stories that weren't being told: of living on food stamps and WIC coupons, of government programs that barely provided housing, of aloof government employees who shamed her for receiving what little assistance she did. Above all else, she wrote about pursuing the myth of the American Dream from the poverty line, all the while slashing through deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.
Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not hers alone. It is an inspiring testament to the courage, determination, and ultimate strength of the human spirit.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
After ending an abusive relationship, Stephanie Land struggles as a single mother to her young daughter, barely scraping by on public assistance programs and whatever odd jobs she can pick up. When she lands work cleaning houses, she gets a very intimate look at how the rich live—an experience that leaves her richer in experience only. Maid is Land’s story of living hand to mouth, picking up crumbs—literally and figuratively—out of love for her daughter. Land learns that people with money may live better, but they’re often pretty miserable. Her account of poverty, women’s work, and single parenthood is eye-opening and compelling.
In her heartfelt and powerful debut memoir, Land describes the struggles she faced as a young single mother living in poverty. "My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter," she writes, before chronicling her difficult circumstances. Land got pregnant at 28, then left an abusive relationship and went on to raise her daughter, Mia, while working as a part-time house cleaner in Skagit Valley, Wash. Later, using public assistance, Land moved to a moldy studio apartment and got her daughter into daycare. While housecleaning, Land imagines the lives of the clients, whom she knows intimately through their habits and possessions (their apparent unhappiness despite financial comfort fosters compassion as well as gratitude for her own modest space), and experiences the humiliating stigma of being poor in America ("You're welcome!" a stranger snarls at the checkout as she pays with food stamps). Even while working, Land continued to follow her dream of becoming a writer. She began a journal and took online classes, and eventually attended the University of Montana in Missoula. Land's love for her daughter ("We were each other's moon and sun") shines brightly through the pages of this beautiful, uplifting story of resilience and survival.
The author writes with the authority and honesty Of living life the best she can and doing it with very little help. The saddest part is that some in this country doubt the amount of work and commitment that goes into such a life.
To me the book was whiney. Written by a member of the entitled generation. She talks about living at poverty level yet she’s been to Paris, graduated from college, had health care, had vehicles, and went on vacations. I don’t think she knows what poor really is. I grew up poor. And we weren’t even the poorest family in the neighborhood, and we all had it harder than this author. I know it’s not a contest. But I just couldn’t get the whiney tone out of my head. It was an okay ready. Not great, not awful, real whiney. Just my opinion.
This book was irritating....a 28 year old woman gets pregnant by an abusive man, continues to live with him, goes on public assistance, works her way to a decent living, gets lonely, starts living with another loser, repeats the same mistakes, all the while complaining about the system. Well written but the character was unsympathetic. My opinion, and everybody has one.