Maid
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. "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.

Maid Details

TitleMaid
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 22nd, 2019
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316505116
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

Maid Review

  • Roxane
    January 1, 1970
    This book is going to garner a range of reactions when it’s published. What this book does well is illuminate the struggles of poverty and single-motherhood, the unrelenting frustration of having no safety net, the ways in which our society is systemically designed to keep impoverished people mired in poverty, the indignity of poverty by way of unmovable bureaucracy, and people’s lousy attitudes toward poor people. When she writes about her circumstances, Land’s prose is vivid and engaging. Her This book is going to garner a range of reactions when it’s published. What this book does well is illuminate the struggles of poverty and single-motherhood, the unrelenting frustration of having no safety net, the ways in which our society is systemically designed to keep impoverished people mired in poverty, the indignity of poverty by way of unmovable bureaucracy, and people’s lousy attitudes toward poor people. When she writes about her circumstances, Land’s prose is vivid and engaging. Her hopelessness, during this time in her life is palpable. But it is strange that the publicity materials compare this book to a book like Evicted. This is a tightly-focused, well-written memoir, a good book, but it is not a deeply researched book about poverty. This is a book about temporary poverty and it is part of a canon where the goal is to reach the middle-class. There’s nothing wrong with that. Where I struggled with this book, was the lack of acknowledgment of white privilege and how that made the arc of her narrative possible, save for a cursory moment where the author acknowledges the challenges immigrants might face that she did not. I also wish the scope of this book was wider. I wasn’t sure of the chronology of a lot of the book, and I would have loved to get a stronger sense of her relationships with other people. I suspect the writer was maintaining personal boundaries in what I perceived as absences but still, I did want to see more human connection, either good or bad. Fortunately, a book does not need to be everything to everyone. Whatever this book’s shortcomings are, it is still an incredibly worthwhile read.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    Stephanie Land didn’t experience the best start in life, well not when it comes down to the most important thing for a child - love. Neither parent seemed to have much of it to give, in fact they present themselves as extremely selfish individuals. Stephanie finds herself pregnant and in an abusive relationship, which should herald the end of her dreams of going to college, but this is one thing that she will try desperately to hang onto.We accompany Stephanie and her daughter Mia, as they attem Stephanie Land didn’t experience the best start in life, well not when it comes down to the most important thing for a child - love. Neither parent seemed to have much of it to give, in fact they present themselves as extremely selfish individuals. Stephanie finds herself pregnant and in an abusive relationship, which should herald the end of her dreams of going to college, but this is one thing that she will try desperately to hang onto.We accompany Stephanie and her daughter Mia, as they attempt to overcome the many trials and tribulations that come with being caught up in the poverty trap. The rules imposed on people in their position appear to be designed to keep them there! Life for Stephanie is really tough - it’s a round of long hours of physically hard work as a maid, cleaning the homes of the wealthy, whilst receiving low pay in return, and she still tries to include some study time in the hopes of a better future. In addition, Mia is a sickly child who’s illnesses are compounded by the poor living conditions that they have to endure. There’s also the indignities that Stephanie experiences when using food stamps in the grocery store - on one occasion the man behind her in the queue remarks loudly enough so that everyone can hear “You’re welcome “ the implication being that he personally has paid for the food by paying his taxes. Little did he know just how hard Stephanie had to work to simply hang onto what little she had - the old car that was essential to enable her to get to clients homes, the glass walled studio apartment overlooking the freeway, which was freezing cold and black with mould in winter, and then turned into a greenhouse in the summer, (and she could barely afford even that)! But most of all it was Mia that made the hard work not only essential, but worth it, as Stephanie battled against ex partner Jamie’s constant threats to apply for custody of Mia every time something went wrong in her life.There’s no doubt that Stephanie did initially make some poor choices in life, (though she soon discovers that freedom of choice is a privilege granted only to those with financial security) but it would be wrong of me to suggest that everything that happens to her was entirely her fault - it wasn’t. Once you’re in a cycle of poverty, it’s really really difficult to get out of it. There were moments when she couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but her love for Mia just pushes her that extra yard to aspire to those goals that she thought were lost forever.I do feel that some areas of Stephanie's personal life were skimmed over in favour of descriptions of clients homes. Just one instance of this was when a male friend lent her a car, it turned out that she'd been 'seeing' him on and off for some time, but this was the first and only mention of him! However, this was an enlightening memoir with regard to the human face of poverty -the one behind the government’s statistics.*Thank you to Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group, Trapeze for my ARC. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange *
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    NOW AVAILABLE!!!fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #14: A book of social sciencethis one might be more memoir than social science, but it's ehrenreich-approved and that's good enough for me!!**********************************************okay, so i would say this is definitely more memoir than social science, but i went into it with good intentions, and it's too close to the end of the year* for me to be a stickler for reading challenge precision. if the bookriot police wanna NOW AVAILABLE!!!fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #14: A book of social sciencethis one might be more memoir than social science, but it's ehrenreich-approved and that's good enough for me!!**********************************************okay, so i would say this is definitely more memoir than social science, but i went into it with good intentions, and it's too close to the end of the year* for me to be a stickler for reading challenge precision. if the bookriot police wanna come for me. i'll be here, trying to accomplish my remaining annual reading goals. i do not know why this year was such a difficult one for my reading. or, i do, but this is not the place to moan about it. although part of it is actually a good segue into reviewing this book - finding work that pays the bills has become my most prolonged struggle.my situation is in no way as difficult as the author’s, but the fears that keep her up at night, the distance she perceives between herself and those of even average financial means, the anxiety and shame and sacrifices - i found myself relating to it more than was pleasant to relate: Most of my friendships had faded over the last year because I’d isolated myself and hidden from the embarrassment of my daily life.again, and i cannot stress this enough - my situation is in no way as dire as hers was. i’m not comparing - i’m empathizing with the way it feels to work hard and still be struggling, to exhaust yourself for barely enough to get by. The child support I received barely covered the cost of gas. The entire $275 a month went to the trips back and forth so Mia could see her dad.i am only responsible for my ownself and i can’t imagine having to care and provide for a child on what i’m able to earn, nor can i imagine having to navigate the truly byzantine web of government assistance agencies, especially having to navigate them in the condition motherhood and poverty can leave a person - depleted by anxiety attacks, hunger, illness, exhaustion, and perpetual physical pain from hard manual labor. so much of her account is exasperating, illuminating the ways that logic is broken: The most frustrating part of being stuck in the system were the penalties it seemed I received for improving my life. On a couple of occasions, my income pushed me over the limit by a few dollars, I'd lose hundreds of dollars in benefits. Due to my self-employment, I had to report my income every few months. Earning $50 extra could make my co-pay at day care go up by the same amount. Sometimes it meant losing my childcare grant altogether. There was no incentive or opportunity to save money. The system kept me locked down, scraping the bottom of the barrel, and without a plan to climb out of it. and how degrading and soul-killing the cycle:I thought of how many times the police, firemen, and paramedics had come to our building in the last couple of months; of the random checks to make sure living spaces were kept clean or to make sure broken-down cars in the parking lot had been repaired; to patrol us so that we weren’t doing the awful things they expected poor people to do, like allowing the laundry or garbage to pile up, when really, we lacked physical energy and resources from working jobs no one else wanted to do. We were expected to live off minimum wage, to work several jobs at varying hours, to afford basic needs while fighting for safe places to leave our children. Somehow nobody saw the work; they only saw the results of living a life that constantly crushed you with its impossibility. so, it’s a memoir with social science appeal. it absolutely leaves an impression about what it’s like to be trapped in the struggle, trying to stay healthy enough to work a thankless job when even ibuprofin is a luxury, to take online courses after a full day’s work on an empty stomach, to sacrifice, to swallow pride, and to work really hard, whether people “see” the work or not. i’m going to be annoying and type out a whole thing now, but i think this part of the book does the best job at highlighting both the social science bits (how unreasonable the system) and the memoir bits (how humiliating to endure the perceptions of needing the system). it also gives you a good sense of her writing style, and you can always not read it if you don’t like reading. Even though I really needed it, I stopped using WIC checks for milk, cheese, eggs, and peanut butter — I never seemed to get the right size, brand, or color of eggs, the correct type of juice, or the specific number of ounces of cereal anyway. Each coupon had such specific requirements in what it could be used for, and I held my breath when the cashier rang them up. I always screwed up in some way and caused a holdup in the line. Maybe others did the same, since cashiers grew visibly annoyed whenever they saw one of those large WIC coupons on the conveyor belt. Once, after massive amounts of miscommunication with the cashier, an older couple started huffing and shaking their heads at me. My caseworker at the WIC office even prepared me for it. The program had recently downgraded their qualifying milk from organic to non-organic, leaving me with a missing chunk in my food budget I couldn’t afford to make up. If at all possible, I tried to give Mia only organic whole milk. Non-organic, 2 percent milk might as well have been white-colored water to me, packed with sugar, salt, antibiotics, and hormones. These coupons were my last chance for a while to offer her the one organic food she ingested (besides her boxes of Annie’s macaroni and cheese). When I’d scoffed at losing the benefit to purchase organic whole milk, my caseworker nodded and sighed. “We just don’t have the funding for it anymore,” she’d told me. I somewhat understood, since a half gallon had a price tag of nearly four dollars. “The obesity rates are going up in children,” she added, “and this is a program focused on providing the best nutrition.”“They don’t realize that skim milk is full of sugar?” I asked, allowing Mia to climb out of my lap so she could play with the toys in the corner.“They’re also adding ten dollars for produce!” she added brightly, ignoring my grumpy attitude. “You can purchase any produce you want, except potatoes.”“Why not potatoes?” I thought of the large batches of mashed potatoes I made to supplement my diet.“People tend to fry them or add lots of butter,” she said, looking a little confused herself. “You can get sweet potatoes, though!” She explained I’d have to purchase exactly ten dollars’ worth or less, and I wouldn’t be able to go over, or the check wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t get any change if the produce I selected rang in under ten dollars. The coupons didn’t have any real monetary value.That day at the store, with it being the last month of organic milk, I wanted every bit I could get.“Your milk isn’t a WIC item,” the cashier said again. “It won’t ring up that way.” She started to turn to the young man bagging our other groceries and sighed. I knew she was going to tell him to go run and get the right kind of milk. It happened to me with the eggs all the time.My checks weren’t expired, but the store had already updated their system. Normally, I would have cowered, taken the non-organic milk, and run out, especially with two old people shaking their heads in annoyance. I glanced at them again and caught the man standing with his arms crossed and head tilted, eyeing my pants with holes in the knees. My shoes were getting holes in the toes. He loudly sighed again.I asked to speak to the manager. The cashier’s eyebrows shot up as she shrugged her shoulders and put up her hands in front of me, like I’d pulled out a gun and ordered her to give me all her money. “Sure,” she said, evenly and coolly; the voice of a customer service representative faced with an unruly shopper. “I’ll get the manager for you.”As he walked over, I could see his flustered employee following behind him, red-faced and gesturing wildly, even pointing at me, to explain her side of the story. He immediately apologized and overrode the cash register. Then he rang up my organic whole milk as a WIC item, bagged it, and told me to have a wonderful day.As I pushed my cart away, my hands still shaking, the old man nodded towards my groceries and said, “You’re welcome!”I grew infuriated. You’re welcome for what?” I wanted to yell back at him. That he’d waited so impatiently, huffing and grumbling to his wife? It couldn’t have been that. It was that I was obviously poor, and shopping in the middle of the day, pointedly not at work. He didn’t know I had to take an afternoon off for the WIC appointment, missing $40 in wages, where they had to weigh both Mia and me. We left with a booklet of coupons that supplemented about the same as those lost wages, but not the disgruntled client whom I’d had to reschedule, who might, if I ever needed to reschedule again, go with a different cleaner, because my work was that disposable. But what he saw was that those coupons were paid for by government money, the money he’d personally contributed to with the taxes he’d paid. To him, he might as well have personally bought the fancy milk I insisted on, but I was obviously poor so I didn’t deserve it.ugh, right? don't go over, don't go under, buy this, don't buy that, jump through hoops and get it all right and people will STILL look down on you for the fun carefree life you're having living hand to mouth. good grief.so, yeah - it's just one woman's experience, but it exposes a lot of systemic cracks and maybe it'll make one old man at a grocery store less of a jerk someday. * you are not time-traveling! i started this review months ago and got distracted by shiny things. come to my blog!
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    Wish I could have climbed into these pages and given this young woman a hug! Nineteen pregnant, she leaves an abusive relationship. When her daughter is born she is a single mother with few resources and very little support. This is a honest, down to earth, telling of her story trying to manuver through a system that is stacked against her. She is a hard worker and takes the only job she can get, while still taking care of her daughter, and taking online classes in a effort to provide for a bett Wish I could have climbed into these pages and given this young woman a hug! Nineteen pregnant, she leaves an abusive relationship. When her daughter is born she is a single mother with few resources and very little support. This is a honest, down to earth, telling of her story trying to manuver through a system that is stacked against her. She is a hard worker and takes the only job she can get, while still taking care of her daughter, and taking online classes in a effort to provide for a better future. She cleans houses, working whenever she can, for very little money, and much pain. She tells her story without dramatics, yet one can not help but feel for her and her little Mia.It is easy to be an armchairir quarterback, and zero in on all the things she could have been differently, but the truth is much more complicated. Her parents, divorced, both with new mates, are either unwilling or unable to help. It would be a cold day in hell, before I would refuse to help any child of mine to the best of my ability, let alone my granddaughter. Always budgeting, pay day to pay day, government aid only covering the bare or should I say barely covering, the basics. She has to deal with the shame she feels, and the condemnation of those who see her in the grocery using her food card. One man actually told her to thank him as he was paying for her groceries with his taxes.There is little incentive to work harder as making only fifty dollars more would disqualify her for her childcare voucher, or jepardize her rent subsidy. Her life is not all sorrow, she has happy times, wonderful times with her daughter, one can tell how much she wishes she could provide for her in a better way. These systems, like so many others in the states are broken, flawed, but it is so hard to change people's thinking. Maybe this book would help, because she shows that the working poor are not restricted to one race, but cross socioeconomic barriers and skin color. The book does end on a hopeful note and I certainly hope she and Mia continue to do well.ARC from Hatchette books.
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  • Valerity (Val)
    January 1, 1970
    Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to SurviveStephanie Land didn’t have it easy.  She was a single mom who worked hard cleaning other people’s houses, working in their yards, doing whatever she had to in order to feed herself and her daughter, Mia. This was after she found herself homeless when the father of her daughter kicked them out. It’s not like she felt she could ask her folks for help, no way. She found that government help for housing wasn’t easy to stomach, left them with no Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to SurviveStephanie Land didn’t have it easy.  She was a single mom who worked hard cleaning other people’s houses, working in their yards, doing whatever she had to in order to feed herself and her daughter, Mia. This was after she found herself homeless when the father of her daughter kicked them out. It’s not like she felt she could ask her folks for help, no way. She found that government help for housing wasn’t easy to stomach, left them with no privacy and was very stressful. So she fought hard to avoid ever being in that position again if she could help it.When she found herself suddenly homeless again a couple of years later after a breakup with a year-long boyfriend and he gave her a month to move out, she refused to go back to a shelter. She was trying so hard to get ahead, taking classes online, studying at night when her daughter slept, trying to get a degree. With the help of friends this time, Stephanie managed to move them into a tiny studio apartment and stored much of their things and worked harder than ever to stay afloat. There were times she drank coffee to help with the hunger pains, and there were times she had to go a couple of weeks without coffee even.This book is very readable, though not easy topics, it moves well. I found it a very interesting record of what Stephanie went through during that time in her life as she did what she had to in order to get by for her and her daughter.  She’s very strong and put up with a lot. It had to be terribly hard without any family help all that time, and no support system to speak of much of the time. You could really feel for her, the loneliness and aching as she slogged along wanting a better life. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Stephanie Land, and the publisher for my fair review.Publisher: Hachette Books  288 pagesPublication: Jan 22nd, 2019My BookZone blog:https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    3+ starsMaid has an important message and I have a lot of respect and sympathy for Stephanie Land, but I didn’t love reading her book. In her late 20s, Land found herself coming out of an abusive relationship as the single mother of a toddler. She had very few financial options, so she took what help she could from government assistance and started working as a maid. Her book is a memoir of the three or four years she struggled to support herself and her daughter before finding a way to get into 3+ starsMaid has an important message and I have a lot of respect and sympathy for Stephanie Land, but I didn’t love reading her book. In her late 20s, Land found herself coming out of an abusive relationship as the single mother of a toddler. She had very few financial options, so she took what help she could from government assistance and started working as a maid. Her book is a memoir of the three or four years she struggled to support herself and her daughter before finding a way to get into university. I struggled a bit with her book, because I couldn’t figure out what the focus was. Was I reading a memoir about the struggles of a single mother with limited resources? Or was I reading the observations of a someone who got a peak into other people’s lives through her work as a domestic worker? Both are important and interesting, but they didn’t quite mesh together for me in this book. Having said this, whether I enjoyed reading Land’s book or not, her memoir does paint a vivid picture of the effects of economic inequality. She worked incredibly hard while looking after her daughter and taking online courses, and yet she could barely afford an a place to live. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Autumn
    January 1, 1970
    Is this book supposed to be surprising? Eye-opening? It's by a lady who gets pregnant from an abusive relationship and then she has to clean houses and wrangle with government assistance programs to make ends meet. Like 1 million other ladies. I don't get it.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    In “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” debut author Stephanie Land narrates her drastic and desperate story of survival as a single mother raising her daughter in Washington state—the home of Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. The “indolent poor” are often blamed for their condition: accused of draining tax dollars for government "entitlements" and paltry SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits that seldom (or minimally) cover a grocery bill. Wealthy policy makers debate mandator In “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” debut author Stephanie Land narrates her drastic and desperate story of survival as a single mother raising her daughter in Washington state—the home of Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. The “indolent poor” are often blamed for their condition: accused of draining tax dollars for government "entitlements" and paltry SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits that seldom (or minimally) cover a grocery bill. Wealthy policy makers debate mandatory drug testing, work requirements and the ability of SNAP recipient’s to buy toilet paper and potato chips, as valuable tax breaks and additional public funding is increasingly allocated to the rich and corporate interests. • In a small inland community of Port Angeles, Washington Land’s small daughter Mia learned to walk in a homeless shelter. With an offer of assistance, Stephanie’s clueless mother arrived with her equally clueless husband to “help” her daughter and grandchild move into transitional housing; later expecting Stephanie to pay her “fair share” of their costly restaurant bill. Without family support it was easy to see how our young people enter the public system of despair with draconian measures that further marginalize and punish the working poor for their condition. It was utterly exhausting and demoralizing to be poor in Washington State. Stephanie required a total of seven programs to survive with Mia: Pell Grants, SNAP, TBRA, LIHEAP, WIC, Medicaid, and Childcare subsidizes. Too often, it was necessary to appear in person for interviews that required her to miss work and loose income from her low paying cleaning jobs. A car and all expenses associated with it were a requirement for this work. If a cleaning job didn’t meet a customer’s (unrealistic) expectations, Stephanie was required to “fix” the problem free of charge and at her own expense. Despite her physical ailments from hard labor and with the help of over the counter pain remedies she became a top rated sought after house cleaner. Stephanie worked for an agency and accepted independent assignments from customers as her professional reputation grew.A search for support and companionship led Stephanie to a small rural family farm. The country was a great environment for Mia, though eventually Stephanie couldn’t keep up with the demands of her cleaning business and a partner that demanded servitude keeping all mutually earned income for himself. Next, in the Skagit Valley, Mia and Stephanie lived in a black mold infested apartment, where Mia was constantly sick with a steady rotation through medical appointments. Due to lack of space, Stephanie was forced to sell or give-away all non-essential belongings including things her father had given her to pass down to her own children. The tiny apartment was all she could afford.In a campaign speech given by Ronald Reagan (1976-1980): national attention was turned to a Cadillac driving “Welfare Queen” fraudster that collected welfare payments. This claim was later proven false and a total myth, but the damage done (to the poor) with that statement has had lasting impacts on public opinion and policy. Land’s book is not a sob story, but rather a courageous story to rise above the harshness and brutality of poverty and discover a path towards success. Land graduated from the University of Montana earning a degree in English and Creative Writing (2014) and lives with her family in Missoula, Montana. ** With thanks and appreciation to Hachette Books via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Meghan Maclean WeirCleaning houses and practicing medicine both involve a fair amount of piss and vomit. That’s why, while reading Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid, I often found myself thinking, I know exactly what that smells like. I’m a pediatrician. Land, during the period described in this book, was primarily a house cleaner. In both these jobs, you catch glimpses of other people’s lives, their messiness, their vulnerability and suffering. You help the best you can. You worry i Why I love itby Meghan Maclean WeirCleaning houses and practicing medicine both involve a fair amount of piss and vomit. That’s why, while reading Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid, I often found myself thinking, I know exactly what that smells like. I’m a pediatrician. Land, during the period described in this book, was primarily a house cleaner. In both these jobs, you catch glimpses of other people’s lives, their messiness, their vulnerability and suffering. You help the best you can. You worry it’s not enough.In Maid, Land recounts the years she spent cleaning the homes of the wealthy while struggling to keep a roof over her and her daughter’s heads. The book is a first-hand account of the ways in which poverty is demoralizing and the system, itself, is broken. It’s also a story about motherhood, and how it expands your capacity for joy and love even as it breaks you.As Land’s raw and moving story unfolds, it’s tempting to wonder aloud how she juggles poverty, homelessness, and the physical toil of working as a maid—all while being a single parent. But don’t. There’s a chapter on why she hates that. And really, who doesn't? This story is the perfect reminder that while we all struggle, every day, to do better, to be better, it’s infinitely easier to get by when you have a little help from your friends.Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/maid-419
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this is powerful! It spoke to my human and social worker heart. This will make you think twice about cultural stereotypes surrounding single motherhood and about use of government aid. I wanted to high five Land so many times. I’ve watched clients, close family members, and myself wrestle with these exact hardships and this broken, punitive system. Glad to have a well-written book to put this out there.
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  • Janday
    January 1, 1970
    Stephanie Land has never stopped advocating for herself. As a young single mother escaping an abusive relationship with no help from her family, she found herself homeless and jobless. Her daughter took her first steps in a homeless shelter. Once she was eligible for housing, she had to endure constant surveillance, degrading lectures on energy efficiency, and no visitors. Once she found employment as a maid, she worked for less than minimum wage, exposed herself to injury without paid time off Stephanie Land has never stopped advocating for herself. As a young single mother escaping an abusive relationship with no help from her family, she found herself homeless and jobless. Her daughter took her first steps in a homeless shelter. Once she was eligible for housing, she had to endure constant surveillance, degrading lectures on energy efficiency, and no visitors. Once she found employment as a maid, she worked for less than minimum wage, exposed herself to injury without paid time off or health insurance, and no guarantee of hours. The only home she could afford was making herself and her daughter sick. In short, Stephanie was stuck in a system that was designed to keep her poor. All the while, she slips, invisible, into the the homes she cleans--whose lives she makes easier. She touches their things and speculates about their lives and marvels how they could both exist in the same world. I read an early digital manuscript of this memoir that I obtained as an employee of Hachette Book Group.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    First, this book is most certainly NOT in the category of Evicted, one of the most well-researched, measured and thoughtful books published on the subject of chronic poverty in America. I wanted to like this book, and feel that the subject matter is critically important to expose and discuss. Yet...I just didn't. There's a kind of immaturity about the book (and frankly, many of the author's actions) that grated, especially the flip-flopping between envy and judgment of the middle class families First, this book is most certainly NOT in the category of Evicted, one of the most well-researched, measured and thoughtful books published on the subject of chronic poverty in America. I wanted to like this book, and feel that the subject matter is critically important to expose and discuss. Yet...I just didn't. There's a kind of immaturity about the book (and frankly, many of the author's actions) that grated, especially the flip-flopping between envy and judgment of the middle class families she encounters. Here's an example: "Living with illness or pain was part of my daily life. But why did my clients have these problems? It seemed like access to healthy foods, gym memberships, doctors and all of that would keep a person fit and well. Maybe the stress of keeping up a two-story house, a bad marriage, and maintaining the illusion of grandeur overwhelmed their systems in similar ways to how poverty did mine." Really? It will be interesting to see how this book is received when published.
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  • Patty Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to NetGalley, Hachette Books, and Stephanie Land for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.Stephanie Land has written a raw, honest, in-your-face book about what it is like to be poor, a single mother and working at what is considered to be menial labour. I found this read difficult and uncomfortable and I think that is what she wants you to feel. As I started to read, I was sympathetic, feeling for her plig Many thanks to NetGalley, Hachette Books, and Stephanie Land for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.Stephanie Land has written a raw, honest, in-your-face book about what it is like to be poor, a single mother and working at what is considered to be menial labour. I found this read difficult and uncomfortable and I think that is what she wants you to feel. As I started to read, I was sympathetic, feeling for her plight in life. She made difficult choices and was left without a lot of options. She writes in the afterwards that she was lucky because she saw a different way of life as a child. She knew there was more out there. She notes that for people who are born into poverty, without the ability to experience anything different, and faced with minimal options, it is very difficult to imagine a better life for yourself. I don’t think we realize, if we are lucky enough to be middle class, how many opportunities we have, expectations, support, etc. so that if we want to, we can make a good life for us and for our children. But as the books went on and on and on and I got to about 50% of the way through I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. It said, in the beginning of the book, that this has a happy ending. I wanted to get to that part already. I couldn’t hear anymore about how tired she was, how her kid was sick, and then I stopped and thought wow! I can’t handle reading about it and she had to live it! How did she pull herself out of it, I’ll never know that kind of strength. I hope I don’t have to have that kind of strength. It does have a happy ending and it really makes you think about so many issues.Land tells you, in no uncertain terms, what it is like to work as a maid. I am fortunate enough to have someone to help clean our house, it is something we scrimp and save to be able to afford, since I am not able to do it anymore. I had to take a good look in the mirror and think if I had ever treated or spoke to our helpers, the way some people had spoken to Land. I use a service, similar to the one Land worked for, and I am not sure if they are making a decent living wage or not. I know they do 2 sometimes 3 houses in a day and I really hadn’t considered their physical pain that they must feel, doing their job, day after day. I know that I don’t look down on their line of work because I am not above scrubbing a toilet myself. When Land describes cleaning those bathrooms, I think I threw up in my mouth a little. Uch!! I certainly hope that no one has felt like that in my home. What struck me the most was the loneliness. I think I was prepared to hear about the fatigue, the pain, the worrying about her child, the kid being sick and not being able to go to daycare. I had some of the same worries, but I was not alone. I didn’t have to deal with an abusive ex, an absentee family, and I had friends. I didn’t have the shame of poverty that she felt and how that would make a person isolate themselves. To just crave some human contact. I worry about money, but I haven’t had to go hungry. I can’t imagine going through a government process of trying to get help, the amount of forms, dealing with that kind of prejudice, and still getting up every day, going to work, making a home for your child, playing with them, putting them to bed and doing it all over again, day after day. How about trying to get a decent place to live and having landlords not want to rent to you because you are on assistance. It honestly felt like being pounded on the head with a shovel, pushing you into the ground and the more you try and dig your way out, the more you get pounded. Having one little crisis and it devastates you. I learned a lot of lessons. Some I knew, but they bore repeating. First, to be grateful for what you have. Land found so many things to be grateful for. The second was she realized that people with big houses and lots of stuff weren’t any happier than she was. Stop wanting stuff. That isn’t what will make you happy. Stop looking at what other people have and being envious. The most important thing that struck me, and I think this is why she was able to make a better future is that she counted on herself. If she needed comfort or love, she had to rely only on herself to get that. She used mantras of telling herself she was loved, she was enough. Really, in life, we only have ourselves. I realized that when I got sick. I had family and friends and support, but when the chips were down, I only had myself to dig out of whatever hole I was in. You are your biggest asset and you are enough. Whatever upheaval was going on in her daughters life, Land decide that she would be the constant. She would be reliable, show up when she said she would, be on time, be there no matter what. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy and that’s what she shows us. She had panic attacks, her child would have tantrums and nothing was easy. But in all that upheaval, she found beauty, joy, and love. We can all take that lesson home.
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  • lit.erary.britt
    January 1, 1970
    This well-written memoir is a prime example as to why I love the genre. Reading about other people’s experiences helps us to better understand and empathize. Stephanie Land placed her college plans on hold as she unexpectedly became pregnant; a single mom with little support, living in poverty. She struggled daily to provide for herself and her daughter working as a house cleaner and landscaper, filling the gaps with government assistance. She’s a fighter and survivor and her story is one worth This well-written memoir is a prime example as to why I love the genre. Reading about other people’s experiences helps us to better understand and empathize. Stephanie Land placed her college plans on hold as she unexpectedly became pregnant; a single mom with little support, living in poverty. She struggled daily to provide for herself and her daughter working as a house cleaner and landscaper, filling the gaps with government assistance. She’s a fighter and survivor and her story is one worth reading. Thank you, NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    Maid by Stephanie Land provides a startling look into what it's like to be a hard-working single mom on minimum wage. Maid was an absolutely wonderful read! I connected with this book on so many different levels. My parents didn't have a lot of money growing up, and I remember the days when my parents had to use food stamps just to buy the basics for us to eat. They were embarrassed. They hated it. But they had no choice. Stephanie Land's memoir dives deep into this world, and honestly, it was a Maid by Stephanie Land provides a startling look into what it's like to be a hard-working single mom on minimum wage. Maid was an absolutely wonderful read! I connected with this book on so many different levels. My parents didn't have a lot of money growing up, and I remember the days when my parents had to use food stamps just to buy the basics for us to eat. They were embarrassed. They hated it. But they had no choice. Stephanie Land's memoir dives deep into this world, and honestly, it was a breath of fresh air in its grit and unapologetic rawness.During the span of the memoir, Stephanie goes through a rough period of time. All but abandoned by her family and abused by her daughter's father, she finds herself in a homeless shelter. Scrambling to make ends meet, she desperately seeks employment. In a time when jobs are scarce, she's hired on as a maid. The work is tough on her body, but she finds that she's good at it. She works hard, but no matter how hard she works, there's never enough money. While trying to keep herself afloat, she also has her daughter to take care of. Can you imagine living in a homeless shelter as a single mother? With no aid or support system? Stephanie rises above incredible odds, burning the candle from both ends as she works to put food on the table and pursue her dreams of becoming a writer.What I like about Stephanie's story is that her story belongs to a lot of people. It's just not the story we usually hear about. It's not flashy or showy. There's no grandstanding or big dramatic moments. It's the story of one person trying to survive, to make the most of the situation she's found herself in. If you think poor people just aren't trying hard enough, are lazy, or don't want to hold a job, read this book immediately. Stigmas and stereotypes suck. Maid is a real eye-opener. This is reality. Have I convinced you to read this book? Read this book!Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt
    January 1, 1970
    I am so happy I got approved for this on Netgalley because there sure are some whiney pissed-off middle class white privileged ladies with their panties all in a bunch below in the reviews; all buzzing like bees because this author was feeling sorry for herself sometimes in her story. Imagine that... being a single poor and homeless mother having to slave cleaning other people's messes, and feeling sorry for yourself. How dare she. The suburban pumpkin spice Feminists need to get their heads out I am so happy I got approved for this on Netgalley because there sure are some whiney pissed-off middle class white privileged ladies with their panties all in a bunch below in the reviews; all buzzing like bees because this author was feeling sorry for herself sometimes in her story. Imagine that... being a single poor and homeless mother having to slave cleaning other people's messes, and feeling sorry for yourself. How dare she. The suburban pumpkin spice Feminists need to get their heads out of their own asses.
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  • Kenzee
    January 1, 1970
    *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway*I really thought I was going to like this book. As someone who was raised by a bad a** single mother, who fought her way up in the world, I thought I would really relate to this story. It didn't happen.Despite the seriousness of the topic - I just couldn't muster up much sympathy for her. Which seems insane. How could I not feel for her? Here's why:"Living with illness or pain was part of my daily life. But why did my clients have these problems? It seeme *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway*I really thought I was going to like this book. As someone who was raised by a bad a** single mother, who fought her way up in the world, I thought I would really relate to this story. It didn't happen.Despite the seriousness of the topic - I just couldn't muster up much sympathy for her. Which seems insane. How could I not feel for her? Here's why:"Living with illness or pain was part of my daily life. But why did my clients have these problems? It seemed like access to healthy foods, gym memberships, doctors and all of that would keep a person fit and well. Maybe the stress of keeping up a two-story house, a bad marriage, and maintaining the illusion of grandeur overwhelmed their systems in similar ways to how poverty did mine."Seriously? What kind of immature BS is this? It's one thing to lament your own misfortune. Heck, even be bitter about it. Lady Luck can be a real B. But it's another matter entirely to imply other's don't deserve good lives because you don't have one. Especially because it's extremely clear that many of her misfortunes are a result of her own choices - yet she constantly blames everyone but herself for her problems. Oh, and her snooping and wearing of other people's clothing - thanks for making it even hard for maids to garner any respect.That said, she really did get the short end of the stick when it comes to family. Her father and mother were both horrifyingly bad people. I couldn't believe how insanely selfish her parents were. Her father tells everyone she lies about being abused? WHAT? And then her mother. Good God - her mother and her fake accent and her choice to choose her boyfriend over her own kids. Speaking of, where was the author's brother during all this? That was the only time where I truly felt her pain. It was real; it was vulnerable. I hope she cuts them out of her life. She doesn't need that kind of negativity dragging her down and neither does her daughter.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    Stephanie Land admits she's made mistakes, but the one constant she's had for the past ten years -- her unwavering love for her daughter, Mia. Upon discovering she is pregnant, she discards her dream of moving to Missoula Montana and pursuing a degree as a writer. The following five years, well documented here, find her moving from various homes without much help from a family ill equipped to provide any, and despite a history of scoliosis, working as a house cleaner, which requires more diligen Stephanie Land admits she's made mistakes, but the one constant she's had for the past ten years -- her unwavering love for her daughter, Mia. Upon discovering she is pregnant, she discards her dream of moving to Missoula Montana and pursuing a degree as a writer. The following five years, well documented here, find her moving from various homes without much help from a family ill equipped to provide any, and despite a history of scoliosis, working as a house cleaner, which requires more diligence and inflicts more stress on the body if it's to be done right. And that is where the reader can't help but admire Stephanie -- her determination to perform her job correctly, to raise her child virtually alone, and to continue taking classes while pursuing her undying dream of becoming a writer. With limited resources and stretching each penny until it screams, she manages to fill her hours with her daughter with ingenuity, providing her a home and somewhat of a normal life. But the main purpose of this book is to provide a look on the inside of the efforts to receive government assistance, the humiliations she endured, the judgmental attitudes even of those more fortunate in grocery stores who would look down on her for paying using food stamps, indicating that it was through their taxes that she was able to do so ("The people lucky enough to remain outside the system, or on the outskirts of it, didn’t see how difficult those resources were to obtain. They didn’t see how desperately we needed them, despite the hoops they made us jump through.") Parts read almost like a novel, but it is impossible to come away without admiring her grit and determination. When she lists her responsibilities she faces on a daily basis, she does so without an ounce of self pity or request for assistance.
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  • C.J. Maughan
    January 1, 1970
    Hooooooooo boy was this one frustrating. I almost gave up multiple times because it made me so angry, but let's just start at the beginning. I got this from Book of the Month. On their description it wasn't exactly clear that this was a nonfiction read (they may have changed it since). So I had VERY different expectations upon opening this book up and was very disappointed to see that it was not fiction. But, hey, I'm cool, I like nonfiction and so I set that all aside and figured it would still Hooooooooo boy was this one frustrating. I almost gave up multiple times because it made me so angry, but let's just start at the beginning. I got this from Book of the Month. On their description it wasn't exactly clear that this was a nonfiction read (they may have changed it since). So I had VERY different expectations upon opening this book up and was very disappointed to see that it was not fiction. But, hey, I'm cool, I like nonfiction and so I set that all aside and figured it would still be a good read. No.No, it was not.The author spends very little time actually talking about her time as a maid. And when I say that I mean that she TALKS about cleaning, sure, and she talks about the houses she goes to and she will briefly mention the people she cleans up after (and how many times she lays down and cries in their tub). But as far as a deep, tell-all introspective look at her clients life that reflects the differences in her her own life (which is how this book was presented as on Book of the Month) is so far off base that it's almost hilarious. Let me sum up the book for you. It is a mishmash wheelhouse of the following words: mold, crying, black mold, sinus infection, slimy mold, wet eyes, tears, sobbing, infectious mold, unstoppable crying and Black Mold (with capital letters). And to top it off, the author repeatedly tells the same story multiple times, but often in different orders. I.E. she talks about how she pulled her back moving a couch and couldn't move out of her boyfriends house. Then later she talks about how she pulled her back moving the same couch and couldn't do whatever it was. Maybe she pulled it twice? Maybe it was different times? I don't know. It just seems odd.I hate to rag on someones unfortunate life experiences, but I have to say that author made me feel zero sympathy for her. I wasn't rooting for her to succeed as she very much seemed to continually put herself in terrible situations. There's the obvious examples, looking for awful men she shacks up with and tries to get to solve her situation, family drama etc, but the one that got to me was this: she receives $4,000 back from taxes. Woohoo! She's continually been told from multiple doctors and specialists that she needs to find a better apartment as her daughter suffers from recurring sinus infections because of BLACK MOLD. But what does the author do with her extra fortune? Does she put first and last's rent on a new place? Does she possibly go and talk to the landlord and say he's violating rules and she will move out now that she could afford to? No. She puts some towards bills, the car, etc and then she buys herself a diamond wedding ring because she always wanted it and she's realized she has to commit to herself as there ain't no man who can pull her out of this situation. Wut. Far be it from me to tell someone how to spend their money. Not my business, but you don't get to write a whole book about how awful, terrible and stinky your life is if at the first sign of the tides turning you buy unnecessary junk. If I had to pinpoint exactly what I hated about this book and the thing that really rubbed me the wrong way it is how the author makes sure to take every opportunity to tell EVERYONE around her how bad her life is as if wanting them to fix it while not doing a whole lot herself. "I can't afford a new apartment!" "Have you looked, Stephanie?" "Well, no, but life is so HARD! And there's MOLD!" Plenty of people offer to help her out along the way but somehow she believes she is better than them or whatever it is they are offering and won't accept it unless it's on her terms. She won't go to food banks because she thinks there are people worse off than her who should use it. She won't use food stamps or take clothes from the church because she's embarrassed of what people will think at the grocery store. She's always making up little scenarios about how this person was definitely staring at her ratty jeans and was probably thinking what a terrible mother she is. Or boy wouldn't it be nice to have a diaper bag and a husband to hold hands with? But instead here I am sitting on the grass drinking watered down coffee with my daughter who is wearing the same shirt as yesterday and boy life sucks so hard. Good lord she was exhausting. Nothing really happens in the book. She works as a maid, she moves around a bit, she earns money, looses money and then moves to Montana because she always wanted to go to school there. I don't know. I'm out of words to describe this book. There's nothing of any real substance here. I'm sorry she had a terrible time in life. I'm happy she's doing well now. Congrats on the book, I guess? I think it would've made a fantastic fiction book that was based on real life events instead of a memoir. But as it is, I'm reluctantly giving this book just one star.
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  • Tara Vaglio
    January 1, 1970
    Maid tells the story of Stephanie Land, along with her daughter, Mia, while she tries to navigate a life dictated by poverty. Her story really shines a light on just how hard it is not only to live in poverty, but how it is close to impossible to get out. I sympathized with her setbacks and the hoops she had to go through just to receive government assistance as a means to not be homeless. Although I would have loved to have her go further than surface level on her relationships, the story was g Maid tells the story of Stephanie Land, along with her daughter, Mia, while she tries to navigate a life dictated by poverty. Her story really shines a light on just how hard it is not only to live in poverty, but how it is close to impossible to get out. I sympathized with her setbacks and the hoops she had to go through just to receive government assistance as a means to not be homeless. Although I would have loved to have her go further than surface level on her relationships, the story was good overall. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This book hit home HARD. Being poor is not a joke and Land doesn't trudge through her days she makes things work even when she's feeling broken. These are not stories we as readers should luxuriate in thinking "Glad that's not me" but recognize ourselves within these shoes whether we've experienced it or not and comprehend how very broken the U.S. system especially is when it comes to providing "relief" to those in desperate need.The prose is straight-forward, conversational and pulls no punches This book hit home HARD. Being poor is not a joke and Land doesn't trudge through her days she makes things work even when she's feeling broken. These are not stories we as readers should luxuriate in thinking "Glad that's not me" but recognize ourselves within these shoes whether we've experienced it or not and comprehend how very broken the U.S. system especially is when it comes to providing "relief" to those in desperate need.The prose is straight-forward, conversational and pulls no punches (no pun intended) and the reality of her day to day is more to offer insight as well as a real close look into the ongoing anxieties of her life. It moves fast and I hope makes people think more and act more to see systems change as well as check ourselves for how we treat those utilizing public assistance.
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  • Tina Panik
    January 1, 1970
    A solid addition to the modern cannon on poverty that includes “$2 a day” (Shaefer/Edin) and “Evicted” (Desmond). Land juxtaposes the daily grind of poverty with amusing observations about her housework clients, making this painful journey palatable to even the most hesitant reader.There is, however, a bit of the “eat, pray, love” effect going on here, which the chronically poor will take issue with, as Lane’s experience in poverty is of short duration. This was an ARC from Book Expo NYC.
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  • Marianne Kaplan
    January 1, 1970
    Rarely do I not finish a book. This is one of them. Could not relate to the author nor to her story. Have read many tales of people down on their luck trying to make it back, and I had compassion in each instance. In this book, I did not feel particularly compassionate about the author or her story, sorry to say.
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  • Lisamarie Landreth
    January 1, 1970
    Maid was my January 2019 Book of the Month selection. I chose the title because I enjoyed the 2001 version Nickel & Dimed, which I remember reading in my 9th grade Honors English class almost 20 years ago. Stephanie Land is also Gary Vee’s ghost writer, so I was interested to read her journey from housekeeping to ghostwriting. If that’s not the American Dream, I don’t know what is, right? Turns out, that’s a different Stephanie Land.Though I picked up this book up under a flawed assumption, Maid was my January 2019 Book of the Month selection. I chose the title because I enjoyed the 2001 version Nickel & Dimed, which I remember reading in my 9th grade Honors English class almost 20 years ago. Stephanie Land is also Gary Vee’s ghost writer, so I was interested to read her journey from housekeeping to ghostwriting. If that’s not the American Dream, I don’t know what is, right? Turns out, that’s a different Stephanie Land.Though I picked up this book up under a flawed assumption, I’m glad I did. Reading Stephanie’s journey out of generations deep systemic poverty was compelling, humbling, and motivating all at once. I found myself skipping pilates for a week straight to spend another early morning hour reading while listening to the rain. Her story made me deliriously grateful for the life I lead and the work I’m privileged to do each day. I also underlined quite a few quotes and implemented her 10 minute writing exercise in my morning routine. Stephanie brought me back to writing after a years long hiatus and that takeaway alone was worth the read.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this book. I immediately requested it when it came across my radar, mainly because I saw Barbara Ehrenreich’s name attached and this looked to be in the same vein as Nickel and Dimed (which I loved). At first, I was really intrigued and had a lot of compassion for Stephanie and her situation. As the book went on though, it was increasingly hard to sympathize with her- she constantl Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this book. I immediately requested it when it came across my radar, mainly because I saw Barbara Ehrenreich’s name attached and this looked to be in the same vein as Nickel and Dimed (which I loved). At first, I was really intrigued and had a lot of compassion for Stephanie and her situation. As the book went on though, it was increasingly hard to sympathize with her- she constantly blames everyone except herself for everything going on in her life. The tone of the book became extremely whiny, and the fact that she constantly made comments to her clients about the things she couldn’t afford / how little she was getting paid to clean their homes was truly cringeworthy- it was super uncomfortable to read, so can’t imagine how awkward it must have been for the clients she was constantly saying these things to. I will say, her writing is beautiful and I would definitely read more from her based on that. I was so curious to know more about her relationships with her family members, and the other side to those stories. It’s hard to fathom having family that would allow their daughter & young granddaughter to be homeless, hungry, etc. and not do something to help them, especially with a young child involved. This was a very real glimpse into poverty and “the system”, and despite my annoyance at the strong martyr tone the author took, I’m definitely in awe of her determination and strength, and really happy that she and Mia dug their way out and have found happiness and a better life.
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  • Annie Rosewood
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn to this memoir because I was raised by a single mother, and although our circumstances were not so dire, I felt invested in Land's account of her struggles with being a single mom who worked so hard and struggled harder. Land's writing is good, but what I really enjoyed was the way that she presented each house that she worked in as a different lesson she learned in her desperate attempts to stay afloat. While she does provide a commentary on the stigma surrounding government assista I was drawn to this memoir because I was raised by a single mother, and although our circumstances were not so dire, I felt invested in Land's account of her struggles with being a single mom who worked so hard and struggled harder. Land's writing is good, but what I really enjoyed was the way that she presented each house that she worked in as a different lesson she learned in her desperate attempts to stay afloat. While she does provide a commentary on the stigma surrounding government assistance and the difficulty of overcoming poverty, this book is primarily about the author's personal journey to escape her harrowing circumstances. It was a touching and captivating read. I received an ARC of this memoir through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000...Description: Lanna Joffrey reads Stephanie Land’s hard-hitting account of living on minimum wages in present-day America.Struggling to support her young daughter as a single parent, Stephanie finds work as a cleaner in the US tourist resort of Port Townsend, Washington State. Her memoir tells the story of this new life, scrubbing bathrooms, scraping food off the ceiling of trailers, and becoming an invisible ghost in the houses she cleans.“I became fascina https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000...Description: Lanna Joffrey reads Stephanie Land’s hard-hitting account of living on minimum wages in present-day America.Struggling to support her young daughter as a single parent, Stephanie finds work as a cleaner in the US tourist resort of Port Townsend, Washington State. Her memoir tells the story of this new life, scrubbing bathrooms, scraping food off the ceiling of trailers, and becoming an invisible ghost in the houses she cleans.“I became fascinated by the things hidden in the dark corners of the houses I cleaned. The snooping was like uncovering clues, finding evidence of the secret lives of people who seemed like they had it all. I began to pay attention to the items that cluttered their kitchen counters: the receipts for rugs that were as expensive as my car, the bill for the dry cleaner that could replace half my wardrobe. Most of my clients worked long hours, away from the homes they fought so hard to pay for. They worked to pay me just above the minimum wage, to keep it all spotless, in place, acceptable.”Over five episodes, we hear about the relationships she forms with her clients, including the moving story of her friendship with Wendy, a woman who is dying of cancer and who hires Stephanie to help her parcel up her possessions and set her whole house in order. Even when Stephanie doesn’t meet her clients, she vividly imagines their lives.She begins to give the different houses nick-names - “the Cigarette House”, “the Porn House”. Through it all, she is sustained by her love for her daughter Mia, and her determination to keep food on the table. And, in the end, her ambition to become a writer provides an escape.Written by Stephanie LandRead by Lanna Joffrey
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    An absolute must read- this is a memoir and also a testament to the heart and soul inside millions of mothers, parents and citizen all around the world who work hard every day, not only to live a life that means something, but also just to survive every single day. Land's step by step accounts of how she navigated crippling poverty while also trying to raise a daughter and earn an education is eye opening, humbling and inspiring. This is a very smooth story, Land is very honest and forth coming An absolute must read- this is a memoir and also a testament to the heart and soul inside millions of mothers, parents and citizen all around the world who work hard every day, not only to live a life that means something, but also just to survive every single day. Land's step by step accounts of how she navigated crippling poverty while also trying to raise a daughter and earn an education is eye opening, humbling and inspiring. This is a very smooth story, Land is very honest and forth coming and her recollections are relatable. Some memoirs can be dense with details, but I think Land does a great job of recounting meaningful vignettes of her story while also explaining how modern society effects the ways we live our lives (or in her case cannot secure a normal life). Her compassionate view and unflinchingly honest journalistic writing style gives voice to the "working class" like you've never seen, telling a story that has likely rarely been told. There are millions of people who are pursuing an ideal life for themselves-whatever that may look like- and this book is their anthem. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit. It's a fast read and a very important one at that.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    Author Stephanie Land thought she deserved the miserable life she led; she just didn’t believe her daughter did. It wasn’t true. Her mother abandoned her and her father remarried yet financially floundered, essentially abandoning her as well. She became pregnant at 19 just as she had found a way to go to college and escape her family mess. Her boyfriend was abusive and she had no skills. She had no safety net to fall back upon. She was dependent upon very low wage jobs, government support and yo Author Stephanie Land thought she deserved the miserable life she led; she just didn’t believe her daughter did. It wasn’t true. Her mother abandoned her and her father remarried yet financially floundered, essentially abandoning her as well. She became pregnant at 19 just as she had found a way to go to college and escape her family mess. Her boyfriend was abusive and she had no skills. She had no safety net to fall back upon. She was dependent upon very low wage jobs, government support and youthful energy. She learned that her energy didn’t go as far as her budget needed. This is a tale of endless struggle in the land of opportunity. A place where complete strangers will opine dismissively about someone’s food stamps just because they happen to be next in line at the grocery store. Ms. Land also met genuinely caring people who assisted her. Once we were a caring people. Maybe this book will help raise awareness and compassion. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I believe this an important topic but for some reason this book was so all over the place and disjointed to me. It breaks my heart the way that the working poor are treated. I can’t really put my finger on why I didn’t click with this book. I wish Stephanie would have shared more of her personal life vs. such detailed descriptions of client’s homes.
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