An eye-opening memoir about poverty, parenthood, and picking up after the wealthy.
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Why I love it
Meghan Maclean Weir
Author, The Book of Essie
Cleaning 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.
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.
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Hoffman Estates, IL
Should be required reading for anyone born in a wealthy or middle class house. Land tells you exactly why she can’t “just work harder” or “pull yourself out of poverty”. Land makes u feel her struggle
Cried a couple of times. I was raised by a single-parent mom since my dad’s passing when I 13. I witnessed all the heavy liftings that my mom did, so it was quite easy to relate with Stephanie’s story
Loved this story. It is so inspiring. I especially love following the author on social media and seeing her life today after so much hardship! Female resilience/girl boss/super hero mom @ its finest♥️
Santa Ana, CA
Stephanie Land makes you connect and think about how difficult it is to navigate through a system that is set up to keep you “stuck”. Her strength and courage to overcome the odds are inspirational.
Spectacular read! I am a single mom who raised twins by myself. I could relate to her daily struggles. There were times when I had to choose between the electric bill and medicine for the kids. Pls. read
Such a beautiful story of a determined mother. She was so relatable and honest. I felt what she felt and was rooting for her the entire book, having been in her shoes before. I couldn’t put this down!
I loved this book - beautifully written, it shows the intensity of a mother’s love. As the mother of a toddler myself, I admire her. Required reading to foster more empathy for those struggling today.
Altamonte Springs, FL
I absolutely loved this true story of a young mothers fight for survival. It is an easy read, moving, sad, but ultimately hopeful. Beautiful story , a must read for any domestic worker or single mother
They should read this book in every high school class. It brings to life an all too common story of teen pregnancy and the impact it has on the rest of one’s life. Land’s story is worth your time.
This was amazing. Land is an expert narrator. Her story is difficult at times but she never wallows in self-pity, not does she judge the bad actors harshly. I’m in awe of her perseverance and grace.
Loved this book! I read it in less than a day. An excellent story of persistence and female (single mother) empowerment. The author allowed the reader to feel every sacrifice and every accomplishment
This woman's story will make you think differently about what poor means in America. I once was there myself, with two children, before I married again. Living poor is tough and wears out body & soul.
I really enjoyed how vulnerable this book was. At times it was heartbreaking and I was just waiting for her to catch a break through all the hardships. Yet, through all of this, she was still humble.
I loved Stephanie's story, I was rooting for her and her daughter all the way, I am happy that Stephanie was able to attain her dreams and enjoyed how much success she is having from sharing her story
Virginia Beach, VA
If you never read an autobiography ever, THIS is the one to read. Story telling, eye opening, feel-full, THIS is the book to read. You won’t be sorry! You’ll leave better than you came...promise!
Saint Cloud, FL
I loved this book. It really made me reflect on my own life, and made me appreciate what I have. It also showed me that no matter the circumstances, love yourself and everything will work itself out.
What an amazing story of persistence and determination sure to inspire others in similar situations. In the end, I wanted to know more. It jumped ahead & left out too much. But....Good for Stephanie!
Such a powerful book. I loved the perspective of how different peoples lives are and the struggles they endure and proposer through. She brought light that it's not just minorities that this impacts.
Columbia City, IN
I loved this book! I love how this shows a perspective on poverty that most people do not see unless they themselves are in the situation. I hope this author continues to write more, I am a huge fan!!
Chandler , AZ
I loved this book, especially when she talks about each house separately and gives them each characterization. And her interactions with Mia made me smile. But the reality of the poverty brought tear