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

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  72,608 ratings  ·  7,376 reviews
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 pos ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 270 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Hachette Books
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  72,608 ratings  ·  7,376 reviews


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Katie
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
“I WORK 25 HOURS A WEEK AS A PROFESSIONAL CLEANER, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO PAY THE BILLS.” (Page 131)

Going into this book, I so badly wanted to come out rooting for Stephanie Land, but I keep coming back to that quote above and cannot wrap my head around what should be “surprising” about her story. As a college educated woman who works for one of the largest companies in the world, if I worked 25 hours a week it would not be enough to pay my bills either. Is there a larger theme I’m missing that
...more
Roxane
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Cindy
Sep 03, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate the emphasis on what it’s like to be in poverty, from the logistical struggles to the emotional turmoil that comes with being financially burdened. Not to mention the stigma that gets associated with people who depend on government assistance and the homeless. My upbringing has fostered a troubling relationship with money as well, and I’ve worked on having a healthier attitude now that I’m more secure in my life, but damn does this book bring me back to those stresses!

I typically g
...more
Stephanie
Feb 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is TERRIBLE. I cannot understand why it's being compared to “Nickeled and Dimed” or “Evicted”, both of which are well written, researched and coherent. But this? It’s nothing but a 200+ page Go-Fund-Me rant. The writing is also very poor, alternating between pretentious and sloppy ("off of" is not a synonym for “from”, for God's sake).
Which was disappointing, as I was very interested in reading Stephanie Land's story & experiences. I was a single mother as a teenager. I know firsthand
...more
Maureen
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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
...more
Cassidy Green Krogulski
I wanted to like this book. I was raised by a single mother with two kids after fleeing horrific abuse. We were on government assistance and food stamps, and I was on free or reduced lunch all the way through my adolescent years. My GED holding mother worked early mornings, late nights, and took every opportunity afforded to her. She worked as a waitress, at construction sites, as a water truck driver. Anything to support us.

By every stretch of the imagination, I should have DEEPLY connected wit
...more
karen
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY 2019! what will happen?

**********************************************

fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #14: A book of social science

this 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, a
...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Yun
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Maid is Stephanie Land's memoir of her arduous and often back-breaking journey to claw herself out of poverty and to find a place of belonging and financial stability for her and her young daughter. It details her desperation to take on any menial jobs available to make ends meet while being a single mother, taking night classes to complete her degree, and being on government assistance that barely bridged the gap to food and shelter.

I found the writing to be stirring and heartbreaking. Land oft
...more
Petra: all work & no play makes you poor.On hiatus
Why would a woman in her late 20s who had not applied herself to gaining any marketable skills, had no savings and a boyfriend who didn't want to be a father, have a baby? Did she not have the foresight to see that this was going to lead to an extremely hard life dependent on others and on government benefits? Did she feel the world owed her a living? She wasn't after all, an accidentally-pregnant 16 year old schoolgirl with no knowledge of life.

It was no surprise to me after this that she was
...more
Melissa Stacy
DNF on page 260, at 96%

I tried really, really hard to finish the 2019 memoir, "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive," by Stephanie Land. But I couldn't force myself to read the final chapter. I just hated this book too much, and the idea of reading another page brought me agony.

I wish I had never heard of this book. I certainly wish I had never paid full price for a first edition hardback. I thought I was supporting a fellow woman who had grown up in poverty and found a way o
...more
Susan
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
...more
j e w e l s
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
FOUR STARS

I saw Stephanie Land, the author, on my hometown local morning television show. I was struck by her sincerity, her soft voice, and her courage in “outing” herself as a single mother struggling to survive in poverty.

Land’s memoir begins with her unexpected pregnancy by a new boyfriend at age 28. The boyfriend is more than a jerk and Land gets away from him once he becomes violent. Without any family help that she could count on, Land lives with her baby daughter in a homeless shelter a
...more
Debbie
I am kind of on the fence about the message in this book.
First of all:
(1) I really felt for Ms. Land and the disheartening reactions she received from family, friends and even strangers regarding her predicament as a single mom living in poverty; however, even though she made some questionable choices, I admire Ms. Land overall for having the foresight, the dream and the tenacity to improve her lot in life for herself and her young daughter.
(2) As a Canadian who truly appreciates universal healt
...more
Brandice
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
In Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, we meet Stephanie Land, a single mom to her daughter, Mia, trying to keep a roof over their heads and maintain some form of stable life. This is easier said than done as Stephanie is met with numerous challenges including little support from her family, Mia’s father, and other relationships, as well as multiple jobs with low paying wages that rarely allow those performing them to get ahead.

A few years ago I read Evicted, which I reall
...more
june3
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
It took me awhile to figure out what troubled me so much about this book. Stay with me.

Please understand that I'm politically quite far to the left of center. I believe that social services in the US are woefully, horribly inadequate. No one in the USA should wake up hungry or sick with nowhere to turn. While our country offers much in the way of opportunity, it is all too easy to crash and burn. Also, please understand also that I personally take nothing for granted. I wake up every morning in
...more
Esil
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3+ stars

Maid 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
...more
Nancy
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
"Poverty was like a stagnant pool of mud that pulled at our feet and refused to let go." from Maid by Stephanie Land

I'll be brutally honest, and you can "unfollow" me if you want, I don't care, but ever since Presidents Roosevelt and Johnson created social programs to help the poor there have been politicians determined to slash, limit, and end them. And one of their methods is to vilify the poor as blood-sucking, lazy, ignorant, "self-entitled" criminals who live off the hard earned tax dollars
...more
Donna
This is one book that I’ve grappled with in trying to write a review. There are a few conflicting impressions that I’ve turned over in my mind, causing me to question why I feel as I do about the story. I thought about just giving a glossed-over review, focusing only on what I appreciated (and there was a lot to appreciate) about this account of a young, single mother’s struggle to survive and raise her child. I wanted to be generous, but I finally decided to just write the review to include wha ...more
Julie
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
My mother once told me that her greatest fear was to end up homeless, a so-called "bag lady." I, a short-sighted, selfish teenager, just rolled my eyes, but even then the thought of her vulnerability chilled me.

I'm older now that she was when she made this confession, and her fear has become mine. Because I have seen, and experienced first-hand, how one decision, one misstep, can cause the dominoes of disaster to fall around you.

“I knew that at any moment, a breeze could come and blow me away.
...more
Michelle
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, reviewed
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 from government "entitlements" and paltry SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits that seldom (or minimally) cover a grocery bill. Wealthy policy makers debate mandato ...more
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I saw this book described as "Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed", I knew I had to read it. They are two terrific books in my opinion. I can't say
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive
was as good as those but I still enjoyed it.

Stephanie Land became homeless when she decided to take her young child and leave an abusive relationship. The book narrates her struggles to rise out of poverty and provide a decent life for her daughter. She details the feelings of shame and inadeq
...more
Autumn
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. ...more
Kaleah
The author's website filled in some important holes. Bumping down to one star. ⭐️

I am truly sad a number of people have been duped into believing this is the "voice of the poor." It is not. Stephanie's backstory identifies more with being a middle class girl who never grew up, didn't go to college at 18 when she did have the opportunity, and instead squandered away a monetary settlement and became a party girl for the following 10 years, but was mad there wasn't more of a safety net when she go
...more
Rachel Reads Ravenously
5 stars

I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I binged the Netflix limited series Maid when it came out and absolutely loved it, so I knew I needed to read the book it was based off. The film and the book are somewhat different from each other, but both are excellent in their own ways.

Stephanie’s life changes once she becomes pregnant with her daughter. Fleeing her abusive situation with her daughter’s father, she finds herself in the grip of poverty and to make ends meet she be
...more
Mehrsa
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the vivid accounts of what it was like to live in poverty. I think too few people understand that someone can be very hard working and do everything possible and still be poor. We judge people who are poor as bad people who make poor decisions when it's actually just luck and circumstances much of the time.

The thing that bothered me about the account is that she does see herself as different than the regular poor and cannot believe that she is one o
...more
Dianne
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2019
I really enjoyed this! If you read “Evicted” (highly recommend), this is along the same lines, but in a first person perspective on how difficult it is - damn near impossible - to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Land is a single parent with no back-up support she can count on for financial or emotional support. She has dreams of being a writer, but dreams don’t pay the bills. Neither does cleaning other peoples’ houses, apparently. Land shares plenty of details on the houses she cleans and
...more
Taury
May 04, 2022 rated it really liked it
Maid by Stephanie Land tells of an actual story of what it is like to raise a child alone. No support system, little to no finances and hard work for very low pay. I know well what this is like. Cashiers yelling EBT card? Having to give up events with your kids or play dates to conserve gas or no money. Stephanie gives a very accurate picture of the reality in America as a single mom does what she needs to do to get ahead. I really enjoyed this book.
Elizabeth
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh, so glad this is done. I really should have just abandoned it.

Stephanie Land is a really hard worker and I appreciated the glimpse into what life as a single mom living in poverty is like. It's not my personal experience so it is good to put myself into someone else's shoes for a little while. It did help me see how hard it is to pull yourself out despite the government assistance (that apparently is not that great). It made me think about single moms that I know and wonder what they actual
...more
Darlene
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poverty, memoir
"If you're rich, you might want to stay that way. It's a whole lot cheaper than being poor."
-Barbara Ehrenreich



" But shame is a verb as well as a noun. Almost nobody arrives at shame on their own:
there are shamers and shamees...... In fact, it may be wiser to think of shame as a relationship
rather than just a feeling-- a relationship of domination in which the mocking judgments
of the dominant are internalized by the dominated. Shaming can be a more effective means
of social control than
...more
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Maid by Stephanie Land 1 10 Dec 16, 2021 06:36PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine author profiles 4 16 Dec 06, 2021 07:48PM  

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Stephanie Land is the instant bestselling author of "MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive." Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and many other outlets. Her writing focuses on social and economic justice. Follow everywhere @stepville or stepville.com ...more

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“Our space was a home because we loved each other in it.” 14 likes
“Every single parent teetering on poverty does this. We work, we love, we do. And the stress of it all, the exhaustion, leaves us hollowed. Scraped out. Ghosts of our former selves. That’s how I felt for those few days after the accident, like I wasn’t fully connected to the ground when I walked. I knew that at any moment, a breeze could come and blow me away.” 14 likes
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