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

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  40,707 ratings  ·  4,882 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, 270 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Hachette Books
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Page Wouldn’t the 19 year old be best positioned to determine what’s right for him or her?
Daphne Forwards are generally done gratis, out of friendship and/or mutual respect. I doubt Ehrenreich--who's work on class in America I consider essential r…moreForwards are generally done gratis, out of friendship and/or mutual respect. I doubt Ehrenreich--who's work on class in America I consider essential reading-- gets a nickel or dime. ;)(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  40,707 ratings  ·  4,882 reviews

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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
C.J. Maughan
Jan 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok

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
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
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
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Hutchinson
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
This won’t be popular but I found this book, “Maid,” supremely irritating. The pitch was whiny, judgmental, and jealous. This may come off as harsh but some life situations are made from bad choices. Some from just bad luck. But to begrudge anyone else a bit of happiness because your life is hard was just poor taste. I admire Stephanie Land’s work ethic...but, I didn’t think her writing was strong and the details were repetitious. There is a limit as to how many times I want to read an exhaustiv ...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
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
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
j e w e l s
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio

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
Jan 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. Where do I start? This is basically a book of a woman complaining "woe is me", throwing herself a pity party. She blames everyone else for her problems and doesn't accept any responsibility for her terrible decisions. First of all, this book promised what it didn't deliver. From the Amazon description: "Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them." Nope. There is no glimpse at "upper-middle" class ot ...more
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
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
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
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
Land reveals the secrets of maids: that feeling of knowing a house, sensing the energy within, and the lives that are lived there...We know more about you then you think and we were totally talking about you when we got back to the car, and in the office before we left. Sounds terrible, but it's how we got through the day.

But alas, she is scattered in her approach here, and not getting enough detail in about her relationships or situation, while focusing on gross details of cleaning, or every s
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
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
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
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
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
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
Petra X $200 for an exhaust leak! Daylight robbery
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
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
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
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
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
Julie Christine
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really 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.
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
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
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, poverty
"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
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SCPL Online NonFi...: Wrap Up 1 6 Oct 01, 2019 01:50PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Home, Poverty, and Prejudice 1 14 Sep 27, 2019 01:06PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Bad Luck or Poor Choices? 1 44 Sep 20, 2019 01:51PM  

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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 ...more

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“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.” 8 likes
“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, without a plan to climb out of it.” 7 likes
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