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Maid
Cover of Maid
Maid
Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLEREvicted 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.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLEREvicted 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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About the Author-
  • Journalist Stephanie Land's work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Vox, Salon, and many other outlets. She focuses on social and economic justice as a writing fellow through both the Center for Community Change and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She lives with her two daughters and newlywed husband in Missoula, Montana.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine At times, Stephanie Land's frustration, fatigue, and fear can be heard in her voice as she narrates her memoir about making ends meet as a single mother while recovering from an abusive relationship and trying to become self-reliant. Although the insights about her experiences, her growth, and the limited support available for people in poverty make this audiobook worth listening to, Land herself should have passed on the narration. Though emotions break through at times, she often clumps together her words in a staccato-like delivery, and sometimes it sounds as if she is unfamiliar with what she is reading. Her efforts produce a detached performance that, at times, does resonate with the exhaustion and depletion she writes about. L.E. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 22, 2018
    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. Agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary.

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2019

    Land's memoir describes the disappointment and hard luck of a single mother with a young daughter. Without a supportive family, Land took care of herself and her daughter by working as a housekeeper and occasional landscaper. She supplemented her earnings with government programs such as housing assistance, food stamps, WIC (Women, Infants and Children), and Medicaid for her child. She dreamed of earning a college degree from the University of Montana and becoming a writer, and though she took online courses in her limited free time, Land was discouraged by how long it would take to achieve her goal. After encouragement from an associate and a housekeeping client, Land finally moved toward a better future in Missoula. The author narrates her own story flawlessly. VERDICT Recommended to listeners with an interest in contemporary working conditions and those who enjoyed Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. ["An illuminating read that should inspire outrage, hope, and change": LJ 12/18 review of the Hachette hc.]--Ann Weber, Los Gatos, CA

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Maid
Maid
Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive
Stephanie Land
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